"The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills
Selection for Garden Blogger's Book Club
Join the August-September meeting at May Dreams Gardens.
Being a mystery buff and a gardener , it is not often that the two are combined. On occasion a novel is written that speaks to the language of garden design. "The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills is such a story.
Told in 1958 western Europe after the second world war. Think Tuscany,war damaged people and place, gardens,mystery,and a bit of romance.
Cambridge University Professor Crispin Leonard suggests to one of his students, Adam Strickland, that the university would pick up the tab for a summer in Tuscany.Adam would be researching the history of a 300 year old garden at the villa of a friend of the professor's. He could then use the research for his upcoming thesis.
The garden had been designed and the installation overseen by a sixteenth century nobleman in memory of his young wife. After Adam has seen the garden he begins to suspect that there was little grief in the story told by the mysterious placement of statues, grottoes, meandering rills and classical inscriptions within .
It is fun to follow the unraveling of the story of what may have been a double murder in the Docci family's past.Digging into family history Adam befriends Signora Docci, the villa's 70 year old current owner,and is invited to stay at the villa where he has access to the family library.What he uncovers raises suspicions that there are more current mysteries to solve.
I listened to this mystery on CD and I think I would have enjoyed it more with book in hand. So I may pick it up and reread so that the connections between the garden and Dante's Inferno may become more clear.The author makes sense but I can not always understand how Adam Strickland, the mystery solver, sees these things. So I would recommend this book but in hardcopy not audio unless you never have to reread a paragraph or two before you understand what is going on.