Item description for Death in the Garden by Elizabeth Ironside...
Gold Dagger nominee In 1925 beautiful, bohemian Diana Pollexfen was celebrating her 30th birthday. The celebrations soured when her husband died, poisoned by a cocktail that had been liberally laced with some of Diana's photographic chemicals. Sixty years later, Diana's grand-niece, Helena, is also turning 30, but with rather less fanfare. An overworked attorney in London, Helena's primary social outlet is an obsessive love affair. By way of distraction, Helena starts looking through her great-aunt's papers and soon develops another obsession: Determining just who did kill George Pollexfen in that lovely, sunlit garden between the wars. "Elizabeth Ironside" is the pseudonym of Lady Catherine Manning, wife of the British Ambassador to the U.S. Her first novel won Britain's John Creasey Award for Best First Mystery of 1985, and Death in the Garden was nominated for Britain's CWA Gold Dagger for Best Mystery of 1995.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 7.75" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Oct 15, 2005
Publisher Felony & Mayhem
ISBN 1933397179 ISBN13 9781933397177
Availability 0 units.
More About Elizabeth Ironside
Elizabeth Ironside is the pseudonym of Lady Catherine Manning, wife of theBritish Ambassador to the U.S. Her first novel won Britain's John Creasy award for Best First Mystery of 1985, and Death in the Garden was short listed for Britain's CWA Silver Dagger for Best Mystery of 1995.
Reviews - What do customers think about Death in the Garden?
Clever, Not Engrossing May 27, 2008
"Death in the Garden" has many virtues, beginning with its tantalizing epigraph and continuing all the way to the solution of the intricate mystery in the final pages. Elizabeth Ironside is a careful and talented writer, and she has created an ingenious and complex conundrum in the tradition of the English Country House mystery.
The complexity of the plot structure, however, takes over the book and becomes the chief source of interest, eclipsing any investment one might have either in the characters or the puzzle to be solved. The murder, as many other reviewers here have noted, occurs sixty years before it must finally be solved by the niece (by marriage) of the accused. The crime is thus seen from a multitude of perspectives and angles. The book includes excerpts from a putative crime book ("Passionate Crimes," by Lewis J. Buckherd), from the diary of the "Great-aunt," interviews with elderly survivors of an earlier day, glimpses of her life provided by the unlikely Dr. Ananda Ramasubramaniam, adopted son of her best friend and chief rival, and a host of contemporary relatives and their wives with their own parallel problems.
What are all these characters doing in this book? Merely serving as mouthpieces for the different perspectives that Ironside is trying to show us. They all sound the same, and all they do is talk, talk, talk. By the end of the novel, I was long past caring about them or about what happened to them -- especially about something as mundane as whether the protagonist (Helena) would decide to keep her aunt's house, Ingthorpe, or whether her relationship with the completely absent Robert would work out. Good grief!
I felt that I was being set up simply to admire the book's clever structure. Well, I did, so the author got what she wanted. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, however, I did not wish the book to be one page longer than it was.
A doozy of a story! May 6, 2008
this book came to me via an online book club I belong to. Ironside's book is the quintessential British mystery, set in the time just after WWI and before WWII, as well as today. The first sentence begins, "Today at 2pm, I was acquitted of murdering my husband". Hello! That should make you sit up and take notice. The story begins with Diana Pollexfen-Fox describing her 30th birthday celebration weekend at her country house, where friends gathered for whatever fun rich Brits did in the early 1920s. Diana's pompous husband George was found dead at the end of that weekend, after having a very public fight with his wife, and after coming to the conclusion (wrongly) that his wife has been having an affair with one of the male guests. Diana, a photographer, is put on trial for George's murder, after it was discovered he was poisoned with photography chemicals lacing his scotch. Diana was acquitted and then changed her name, her son's name, and the name of her home, virtually dropping out of sight. She re-married late in life, and it is through her great niece Helena that the story skips to the present, when an aged Diana Fox dies and leaves everything to her nieces and nephews, namely Helena. A single woman also approaching her 30th birthday, Helena finds her great aunt's diaries and begins the onerous task of trying to find out who really killed George Pollexfen, since the real murderer was never caught. Helena, an attorney who devotes endless hours to her career, also has a secret: for years she has been the mistress of a local politician, a secret that eventually becomes a non-secret with a surprising twist. Helena does find out who the real killer is, and the methods employed by Ironside are solid. There were places where the plot dragged a bit, and Ironside's stilted writing style was at times aggravating, but the overall story was a doozy. Recommended.
Beautifully written Sep 1, 2007
Death in the Garden by Elizabeth Ironside is worth reading twice – or even more. It is not a traditional "English Cozy" although it takes place in England. The characters are finely drawn, and the atmosphere comes through beautifully. Although I realized by whose hand the deed was done before the end, I was afraid for a while that the protagonist, Helena, would be faced with ambiguity that her lawyer mind could not accept. I was mistaken, and even the subplot had a convincing air. If the book could be said to have a moral (and such a beautiful book often does) I would say the following: Sometimes in our decision making we say to ourselves, "What is the worst that can happen?" Well, sometimes the worst is beyond what one imagines.
Excellent structure, beautiful language Jun 15, 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Elizabeth Ironside (aka Lady Catherine Manning). The multiple points of view, expressed in different forms--ie straight narrative, fictional excerpts from books, diaries, and genuine dialogue--made for a lovely novel which I read slowly to savor both the characters and the language. In time, the novel takes place in the mid 20s, at the home and in the world of Diana Pollexfen then moves to present day London and the life of solicitor Helena Fox, who ends up investigating Diana Pollexfen's life and the murder that occurred at her house. The trauma and shell shock of World War I and the Russian Revolution impact all the 20s characters while socialism, feminism, and adultery color the views of the present day character and bias their judgments of the past. With approach of a sensitive historian (ie multiple sources & acknowledgment of bias), Ironside brings great observational skill and humane compassion and understanding to her characters, thus, to her novel.
Good Read Feb 6, 2007
I loved this book and another one Eliz. Ironside wrote, "The Accomplice". It reminded me of Agatha Christie books. I had a little difficulty keeping the people straight in the beginning, but once I did the book moved along and for me it was a hard-to-put-down book. I would absolutely recommend this book.