The Serpent in the Garden
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The Serpent in the Garden

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  20 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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Mar 02, 2012 Leon rated it 3 of 5 stars
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".
Tess Makovesky
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...more
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
Melanie Chabrol-
Apr 24, 2014 Melanie Chabrol- marked it as to-read
sounds like the game CLUE But look forward to reading it
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
Nov 17, 2007 Arwen rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
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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.
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.....
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.
Lots of characters to keep track of...but a good entertaining murder mystery in the style of Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte...etc.
I feel like this book dragged on a lot. It did not hold my interest and I ended up skimming the last 70 pages.
Not the best book I read this holiday. It didn't really keep me engaged and I battled to finish it.
Interesting period mystery... a little slow in parts, but ultimately came together nicely.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the time period but the story had only a few great moments.
Autumm Fenstermacher
Good book. I would read another one from this author.
I'm not even going to finish it.
B Historical mystery
Entertaining light mystery.
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