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The Garden of Secrets Past (English Garden Mystery #5)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  175 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Can Lawrence Kingston unearth the key to a deadly secret hidden by a mysterious ancient garden inscription in the newest English Garden Mystery?

Codebreakers have tried for centuries to decipher the enigmatic inscription on a strange monument in the garden at Sturminster Hall, but no one has ever succeeded. When a murder occurs on the garden grounds, the intellectual puzzle
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published 2011)
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Douglas Welch
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a big fan of Anthony Eglin’s books since reading the first English Garden Mystery, The Blue Rose. He caught me immediately with his protagonist, Lawrence Kingston, who was a learned and avid gardener as well as a bit of a sleuth in the traditional English model. I considered Lawrence Kingston a bit of a garden-digging Hercule Poirot. Sure, he doesn’t get things right all the time and he is often a bit naive about the personal danger he places himself in, but he loves the hunt like a ...more
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Anthony Eglin, Anthony Eglin...What an enjoyable yet frustrating series at times. How can I describe and convey my feelings about this book? I truly have enjoyed this book and the series. I love gardens, but I am no gardener by any means. I hate the work in keeping up a garden. However, I truly enjoy gardens and love to be in and experience beautiful gardens.

The doctor/professor of botany in this series, Lawrence Kingston, can wear on you at times. He can be a bit pedantic. That is tempered in
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty awful book. The only reason I kept reading is that it, like the other books in the series, has a connection to English gardens – in this case, the murder scene. However, that is not enough to save it from an implausible plot, an unsatisfying denoument, and an almost transparent protagonist.
Vicki Gooding
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an Old English who done it involving an older gentleman retired botonist/sleuth, his trusted friend and sounding board, a previous acquaintance who had betrayed him, and an irresistible offer to find any information he can to acquit someone arrested for murder in these beautiful gardens. The victim is a man found outside of a monument by a little girl while they were visiting the gardens. This particular building has a history of hidden money to be located at the decoding of an encrypted ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens is, I walk past the "Readers' Choice" book selection at the library and I throw a bunch in my bag, and then up reading stuff I'd never choose on my own. Needless to say, I did enjoy this book, which I would describe as a less controversial da Vinci Code/Sherlock Holmes set in the English countryside.
Sometimes I grew weary of the little name-dropping the author throws in, such as Mac, BMW, various and specific wines, etc. etc. It sort of dates the novel and I like a novel which keep
Sherrill Watson
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Old English stories, or stories about Old English places, which is why I gave this an extra star. It's hardcover, with a photo on the cover of the monument in Sturminister, a garden in England. On page 31 Anthony Eglin gives the letters on the monument incorrectly. However, this doesn't matter, as he invents another monument, and a complicated code (and a very believable friend named Andrew) and goes about solving who killed whom and why. Never mind he never solves the first killing, tho ...more
Debbie Heaton
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Eglin’s mystery novel, Lawrence Kingston is determined to solve an unsolved death at a country estate after hearing that a man’s body had been found near a strange monument whose inscription has yet to be deciphered. Once he learns that his old enemy—Lord Francis Morley—will be involved, he is less than pleased. Before long, a local historian is poisoned leaving two murders on the docket, both entwined in Morley’s sinister past. With determination, Lawrence digs on finding secrets multiplying ...more
Linda Flatley
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading a review of this series and author, I ordered this from the library. If you enjoy British mysteries, you will enjoy this. I plan to read more in this series called the English Garden Mysteries. Dr. Kingston is a retired Botany professor and reluctant sleuth. The setting includes various English gardens as well as historic homes. Nice change of pace from the usual fast paced spy/conspiracy novels that I have been reading of late.
Julie Akeman
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was a crazy one with a killer cryptogram, and even with reading the author's note on it I still don't get it. Ok I get the basics how it works but I wouldn't be able to work one out on my own. Maybe I need to watch Bletchly Circle or whatever that show is called. Coolest part was when the botanist/ sleuth guy made his tea it was Darjeeling, and I was drinking Darjeeling at the time...yeah, I thought that was cool.
Linda Branich
This is the second book I've read by this author and thoroughl enjoyed it.

Lawrence Kingston joins the police again in investigating a murder, which rapidly becomes two murders. The murders are tied to an intriguing 200+ year old local legend of a family feud, missing money, code breaking, and gardening.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I enjoyed this book and the story. I was intrigued and wanted to keep reading to figure out "whodunit." and that's my biggest complaint about the book. There were not enough clues to figure it out. The mystery had to be explained in parts in the last few chapters and was not something a reader could have drawn conclusions to get to.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as suspenseful as I thought it may be. I was also hoping for more garden lore and detail. The jacket cover was misleading in this area. This book could have been so much more....
Rachelle Wallace
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh, and it was good!! Took me long enough, but at least I finally know where the treasure is hidden!
I would up the rating to 3.75-- a bit more serious than the previous books in the series. The code-breaking was an interesting change too
This was an ok read, but way more complex than I wanted at the time. Still, I skimmed through the lengthy explanations of the codes and the history, and managed to finish the story.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I kept thinking this book would get more interesting.... but it never did, the main character keeps hitting dead ends in his investigation, and the book just drags on and on.
Good mystery, as usual from the author.
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
The mystery was ok. I thought the romance seemed really forced and not natural at all.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I so wanted to enjoy this book. I tried to get into it but outside of the description of the gardens it was really a slow moving story. Will not be reading more of this series.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of codes, so lots of this book was skimmed.
Frances L
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Kingston and his friend, Andrew, solve a secret code and find hidden gold. They also solve two murders and a conspiracy of sorts. Kingston finds a new lady friend.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I have enjoyed other "garden" books, this one drags on and the characters are confusing. Certainly the cypher info is creatively done, just wish the story was wrapped up better.
Liked this one much better than the previous book in the series. I really love the soft comic relief of Andrew.
i enjoyed it mostly because of the English setting and garden descriptions. Suspense not so much.
Diane Davis
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book.... Not only a good mystery but a learning lesson as well regarding gardens and codes etc.. I have loved all of Anthony Eglins books....
Currently reading
Renée Mee
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2011
rated it liked it
May 06, 2012
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Author of the Arsène Lupin Literary Prize winner THE BLUE ROSE and International Book Awards winner, THE ALCATRAZ ROSE, Anthony Eglin grew up in England and worked in art and advertising before starting The Larkspur Company, which produced a series of best-selling garden videos. Addicted to gardening, his own former pint-sized garden was awarded Garden Design magazine's Golden Trowel Award. Tony i ...more
More about Anthony Eglin...

Other Books in the Series

English Garden Mystery (6 books)
  • The Blue Rose (English Garden Mystery #1)
  • The Lost Gardens (English Garden Mystery #2)
  • The Water Lily Cross (English Garden Mystery #3)
  • The Trail of the Wild Rose (English Garden Mystery #4)
  • The Alcatraz Rose (English Garden Mystery #6)

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