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The Serpent in the Garden
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The Serpent in the Garden

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  214 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
She opened the shagreen box. Couched in gray silk was an emerald necklace, one he had not seen for twenty years. The stones were just as he recalled them: a dozen or more, baguette cut and set in gold links, with a single ruby at the center. Flashes of verdigris, orpiment, and Prussian blue sparkled in the candlelight. The form of this necklace was as disturbing as ever. I ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 28th 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Idril Celebrindal
Sep 22, 2015 Idril Celebrindal rated it it was ok
100% logic-free! None of the characters behave consistently (or rationally), but the solution to the mystery takes the silliness up to eleven: (view spoiler) ...more
Oct 13, 2016 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fun. Not a remotely serious book on any level, it grabbed me from the first chapter and kept me reading, enjoying every page. Our main man, Joshua Pope, loves to paint people - he's fascinated by them, not only how they look (which he has a keen eye for) but the choices they make. Fastidious about fashion, he cuts a stylish figure as he turns amateur sleuth in an attempt to find whodunit (there's a few it's to discover the who of), and salvage his reputation which appears to hang by the ...more
Sara Parker
Nov 16, 2014 Sara Parker rated it really liked it
I'm not terribly knowledgeable as far as historical accuracy goes, but it seems - from my amateur view - like Gleeson did a good job. Even her style felt vintage, though she easily avoided the monotonous droning that Victorian novels tend towards.

I was enthralled with the mystery and the people themselves the whole time. Gleeson writes a dynamic plot. I did guess the culprit, but it was more like "huh, I wonder if it's them" before I thought it might be someone else. I'm not one to actively gues
Nov 17, 2007 Arwen rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: the unduly credulous
Yikes. I can enjoy pretty trashy literature (if it can even be called that), but this plot was so idiotic, convoluted and farfetched I read to the end just to find out what on earth the author was going to pull out of the hat. She's not a bad writer in terms of style, but there were so many inconsistencies, random plot turns, and flat out historical inaccuracies that I couldn't help but be bemused. Won't be reading her next book, though.
Feb 25, 2012 Leon rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of other Gleeson books, 18tth century plots, intricate mysteries
Set in 18th Century Britain and like her earlier book, the Grenadillo Box, this book has a depth of language and a set of characters that's refreshing and formulaic at the same time.

This a what Gleeson does best: Creating an intricate mystery while maintaining a seemingly predictable plot.

Well-written, superbly-crafted characters and a story that's "sweetly bitter".
Andrea Guy
This book took me forever to read and I don't know why. I really enjoyed it. I love a good historical mystery and this was fabulous.

Joshua Pope is an artist working on the wedding portrait for Herbert and Sabine. He's a totally unique character. He is a widower, whose wife and child died a year before from drowning. He's scared of water.

The mystery starts when a man ends up in the pinery. This book has a lot of information on the growing of pineapples, which is something Sabine knows a great dea
Jan 21, 2017 Rachel rated it really liked it
Not sure why all the bad reviews, I thought the writing was excellent and was unable to put the book down. There were a few things toward the end that didn't make sense, but I don't think it detracted from the story too much at all. I don't need things to be completely perfect..
Tess Makovesky
Jun 15, 2014 Tess Makovesky rated it liked it
I'm not sure what to make of this book. I'd tried reading it twice before and given up each time at the exact same spot - the start of the second chapter, where there's a sudden and rather unhappy change in point of view. I'm not a big fan of changing points of view in a book, especially not so early on when readers are just starting to get to grips with a main character, to sympathise with them and, well, like them. All that hard work in the first chapter building up feeling for a character who ...more
Nancy Oakes

This book may not be your cup of tea if you're not into historical period mysteries. This one takes place in the 1760s; it is set partially in London, partially in Richmond at a country home. So if just this much turns you off, don't read it. However, if you enjoy historical mysteries, you'll like this one.

The main character is artist Joshua Pope, who receives a strange visitor one evening. It is a woman who wants to know the history of a particular necklace, and offers to give the necklace to
Apr 05, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok
Set in the Georgian period when growing pineapples was all the rage. Portrait painter Joshua Pope is commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of Herbert Bentnick and Sabine, his betrothed, at their estate, which is famous for its exotic gardens. During the sittings, Sabine wears an unusual emerald necklace fashioned into the shape of a serpent. When a stranger is found dead in the pinery (pineapple conservatory) and the necklace disappears, Joshua, suspected of the theft, is forced to investigat ...more
Alethea White-Previs
Jan 17, 2016 Alethea White-Previs rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
This novel was very well-written, with the classic elements of a whodunit thriller, AND a bit of knowledge about horticulture and painting mixed in. I found the subplot of the emerald serpent necklace very intriguing; I also enjoyed the tie-in with Genesis -- a serpent who brings ill-luck to those who possess it, just as Eve's fall came from the serpent. Not a terribly veiled allusion, but nonetheless interesting. I also admit to thinking halfway through that I had solved the mystery. Of course ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
I liked this quite a bit. I am quite taken with Janet Gleeson's books in general and this one was as good as the others. Joshua Pope, a famous painter, gets embroiled in a family mystery amidst the background of the pineapple rage in England in the 18th century. The only reason this didn't get 4 stars is because in places it dragged on quite a bit and I found myself skipping pages to jump ahead. There were a lot of red herrings in this mystery which made it more interesting and me more willing t ...more
Feb 11, 2008 Lolly rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2015 Majestatic rated it it was amazing
Historical mystery drama, with an unexpected main character caught in the middle. What more could you ask for? Visit my blog for a more in-depth review: The Man in the Middle: A Reading of “The Serpent in the Garden”
Sep 26, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it
Intriging period mystery beautifully written. Exquisite prose and language. Kept re-reading passages for their descriptive words and language. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I wish more well written books with such a command of the English language were available. thank you Janet.....
Feb 08, 2008 Julie rated it it was ok
Gleeson's story follows the mysterious deaths that occur on an estate when an artist comes to paint an engagement portrait in the 1700s. The plot was somewhat entertaining, but I found the story implausible in that the painter becomes a self-proclaimed detective, interrogating everyone around him.
Mar 13, 2009 Regina rated it it was amazing
I love how Gleeson picks characters to solve these unlikely mysteries of hers! OH, and I LOVE all the history and art - what fun little details she inserts.
Sep 25, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok
I feel like this book dragged on a lot. It did not hold my interest and I ended up skimming the last 70 pages.
Jul 17, 2008 Denisewiden rated it liked it
Lots of characters to keep track of...but a good entertaining murder mystery in the style of Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte...etc.
Dec 20, 2007 Lisa rated it it was ok
Not the best book I read this holiday. It didn't really keep me engaged and I battled to finish it.
Jenny rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2007
Beverly rated it really liked it
May 19, 2012
Karen rated it liked it
Feb 14, 2014
Kate Parkinson
Kate Parkinson rated it liked it
Jan 13, 2015
CL rated it liked it
Nov 09, 2012
Jmack rated it it was ok
Aug 27, 2013
Cindy rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2009
Liesa Mckay
Liesa Mckay rated it it was ok
Aug 22, 2013
Julie hatlestad
Julie hatlestad rated it liked it
Mar 16, 2009
Katie Redling
Katie Redling rated it liked it
Mar 03, 2012
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