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The Poyson Garden

(Elizabeth I #1)

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,182 ratings  ·  114 reviews
The letter came in secret, with a pearl eardrop from an aunt long thought dead, resurrecting the forbidden past. Banished by her spiteful half sister, Queen Mary, to Hatfield House in the English countryside, twenty-five-year-old Princess Elizabeth cannot refuse the summons. The Boleyns are in grave danger. And Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, is marked for death by a m ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 11th 2000 by Dell (first published 1999)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,182 ratings  ·  114 reviews


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Jamie
Finally got around to reading the first book in the Elizabethan Mysteries! And it's just as awesome as all the others. The first book takes place before Elizabeth becomes Queen, her half sister, Queen Mary is still on the throne, but she is dying. I'm not sorry I didn't read these books in order, but knowing how all her privy plot comes to be is a bonus for later books. The Poyson Garden revolves around, you guessed it, poison plots. Elizabeth realizes, at the age of 20, that not only does she h ...more
Nicole
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth is living in the country under the constant observation of Queen Mary's loyal retainers, the Popes. Elizabeth has her own few personnel who are loyal but she must be very careful to keep far from any more plots so she is not returned to the Tower.
In this setting she learns that her Aunt Mary Boleyn has not died many years before but has been in quiet seclusion and is now on her death bed. Elizabeth escapes to meet the last of her mother's kin. Once there Elizabeth is told of the poison
...more
Hermien
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable murder mystery with Elizabeth I as amateur sleuth. I loved the historical setting.
Saz
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
The story is very slow, with a lot of dialogue to say very little, and poorly written. It is quite predictable and boring in parts.

The language used in it is not great and kind of irritating, especially as it tries to have some Tudor period style language and "stereotypical" Irish speak in it but it is not well researched. Additionally, the author does not seem to have even looked up a map of England or actually what language spoken by the Irish in the story was called (It's a Gaelic language b
...more
Cera
Nov 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Elizabeth Tudor, effectively imprisoned on an estate in rural England, hears about a murder done by enemies of the Boelyn family and takes steps to investigate it both for the sake of her mother's family and also in order to ensure her own safety.

This was a quick read, an okay piece of historical fiction, and a pretty bad mystery (at least by my golden-age conditioned standards there *was* no mystery, for the identity of the villain was made clear to the reader long before the characters could f
...more
Kirstin
I didn't care for this book. I was somewhat interested how some of the things would be resolved in later books in this series but not enough to plow through more by this author.
J_Mc 251
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this series years ago and decided to start it again since it's been awhile. Ms. Harper does an excellent job of describing Elizabethan England, which happens to be one of my favorite historical periods. I loved the way the Queen brought together her Privy Council, and how each character had multiple roles to play (it reminds me a lot of Shakespeare). I can't wait to revisit the rest of the books in this series.
Kristina
I really don't get how people like this book. I expected it to be so much more than just her becoming Sherlock Holmes to find out who poisoned her aunt, Mary Boleyn. I like that she was cutthroat in her demeanor but I breezed through this book and not in a good way. I just had to get done with it. 2 stars was generous for me. Will not be continuing this series.
Rebecca
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: histfic, mystery, shelved
What if Queen Elizabeth were Nancy Drew and had adventures and solved mysteries with her gang of pals? Anachronistic but Entertaining: go, red headed adventure girl! Wear boys clothes and sneak in and out of castles on dubiously planned missions! Find the mysterious lady of the veil! Be egalitarian and friendly with the staff and dream of when you’ll be in charge!
Carol
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a charming little romp into utter fiction and I enjoyed it. Imagine Elizabeth II (before taking the throne) as a medieval Nancy Drew, trying to stop an assassin from poisoning her. Such fun! I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Amy
It was okay. Not great but not awful? The characterization of Elizabeth was faulty at times, the historical accuracy was definitely lacking, though that was sometimes easy to ignore. There's a good dash of casual homophobia I didn't like, on top of some sexual assault stuff.
Christan
3.5 stars
I love mysteries, I love all things Tudor. This was a fun summer read to marry the two.
Heather
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I could barely put it down. I love this time period and books about Elizabeth I. Can't wait to read the rest of the series
Michelle
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
The story itself rated maybe a 3.5, but it was rather too crude for my taste. So, that brought it down. I won't read more by this author. It was interesting, medieval poisons and all.
William M Walker
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not a bad historical mystery. Will read her other books.
Aneca
I was a bit wary of an historical mystery featuring Queen Elizabeth I as an amateur sleuth. I have no trouble with fictional detectives but believing in real people is a bit different as I discovered when I tried to read a book featuring Jane Austen as a detective. Sadly that was also a problem here.


Princess Elizabeth, living is Hatfield at her sister’s command, receives a letter of her aunt Mary, long thought dead, who asks her to come and visit because there's something she must tell her. The
...more
Carla
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-own, 2009
I decided to pick up this book because I thought it would be a lightweight reading. And it was light... too light and in a very bad way. I love mysteries, at least I love the mysteries by Agatha Christie, with interesting characters and even peculiar ones, as Poirot, with storylines that tie us from the first page to last due to all the suspense created around a particular event or character or because the twists are ingeniously introduced here and there. None of this happens in this book.

To be
...more
Christie
First sentence: "The Queen wishes to see you alone in her privy chamber, my lady."

Elizabeth Tudor has had quite the life. Her father beheaded her mother and declared Elizabeth a bastard. Her sister Queen Mary refuses to acknowledge Elizabeth as her heir and keeps her under house arrest lest she start an uprising among the Protestant heretics of the realm. To make matters worse, it seems the surviving Boleyns are being targeted by a master poisoner. Will Elizabeth catch the poisoner before the p
...more
Angela
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
It took me a second try to actually make it all the way through Karen Harper's The Poyson Garden. This was not, I think, because the book was inherently bad--but rather, it struck me the first time I tried it as too much 'nobody in this cast of characters is interesting besides Elizabeth'. And let's face it, if you're telling a story about Queen Elizabeth I, whether or not she's actually queen yet, it's hard to come up with a cast of characters that can hold a candle to her. I was particularly r ...more
Kelsey
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
In this intriguing historical mystery, Harper has taken the future Queen Elizabeth and puts her smack dab in the middle of a plot to poison the entire Boleyn clan. During the time of Queen Mary’s reign, Elizabeth has had to deal with always looking over her shoulder. Now with this new threat inching closer, Elizabeth must find out whom is behind it and she is hoping that her sister is not the one pulling the strings. After receiving a letter from her Aunt Mary who she thought was dead; Elizabeth ...more
Gretchen
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tudor-fiction
I don't think I am going to bother continuing on with this series. The premise of the book was interesting enough, but in this case, Elizabeth I's Mystery Inc. gang failed miserable.
Once it was revealed who the poisoner was, I gave up. I skipped to the last chapter and the afterward. I didn't want to read any more than I already had.
I nearly threw this book back in the library drop box at the first mention of Bloody Mary. For starters, I hate that name given to Mary I. She wasn't responsible for
...more
Leane
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love this series so much! Not many people know this, but I am a huge fan of Queen Elizabeth I, and I read everything I can about her. This is a fantastic mystery series by Karen Harper, a former Brit. Lit. teacher. The stories feature Queen Elizabeth and a group of friends who form what is called a Privy Council. Together, they help Elizabeth solve various mysteries, from poyson plots (hence the title) to murders. I love the way Harper depictes Elizabeth: spunky, intelligent, and sassy to say ...more
Jean Marie
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
My mother got me this series for Christmas a couple of years ago thinking I would like it because it's Elizabeth I, but it definitely has my mother's touch with it being the start of a mystery series.

I really did like this book and definitely think I will enjoy the series. It's, as far as the first book is concerned, historically accurate though it is much more of a fictionalized storyline. I really enjoyed the characterization of Elizabeth: staunch, smart, clever, anxious, impatient, dominate,
...more
Sally906
Apr 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
A pleasant little read. This is a cosy mystery set in Tudor times with highly improbable, although very intriguing, scenario of Princess Elizabeth investigating a plot to poison her, and all other Boleyns. If you suspend the belief that this would have happened to a heavily guarded political prisoner. Then this is a very enjoyable read. Queen Mary is still in power, although believed to be dying. Princess Elizabeth is banished to Hever Castle, this much is true to history. But having the princes ...more
Janice
This was a different kind of mystery for me....using historical characters in a fictional story with Princess Elizabeth as the leader of a small bunch of interesting characters to solve a mystery and get the killer. It kept me reading even though the reader knows who the murderer is early on. It was a light read and not too involved. The best part of the book were the characters that helped Elizabeth solve the identity of the poisoner. I was a little stumped with how Harper had Elizabeth's perso ...more
Sandra Knapp
Since I do enjoy historical fiction so much, and mysteries are my favorite genre, I thought "The Poyson Garden" would be the perfect choice for me. Well, it was OK, but it didn't really grab my imagination as I had hoped it would.

For one, I didn't expect the main character to actually be the Princess Elizabeth I, herself, but it was. Considering that, I'm sorry, but I just can't picture her behaving in such a way, even by stretching my imagination. Obviously the author thought it a plausible ide
...more
Marfita
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
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josey
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Originally recommended by a friend who ended up not finishing the book, I have to say I'd agree with her disappointment. While I'm not very familiar with the Elizabethan era, I was definitely curious to get a little taste with this book.

It ended up being a tad slow, very predictable, and too loose of a plot. While the ultimate ending was somewhat satisfactory, the last part of the story was rushed which was frustrating because there were many things unresolved (for me anyway!).

I did, however, en
...more
Ann
Jun 27, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading about Elizabethan England
This is one in a mystery series that is set in the time of Elizabeth I. I had not read this series before. I'm not sure if this is the first in the series, but it doesn'r seem to matter if it was out of order - at least to me.

As diabolical plots swirl all around her, Elizabeth seeks to escape the clutches of her sister, Queen Mary, and Mary's loyalists, while working subtly, yet feverishly to pinpoint who it is that's been murdering those around her.

I enjoyed this very much. It was exactly what
...more
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A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scott ...more

Other books in the series

Elizabeth I (9 books)
  • The Tidal Poole (Elizabeth I, #2)
  • The Twylight Tower (Elizabeth I, #3)
  • The Queene's Cure (Elizabeth I, #4)
  • The Thorne Maze (Elizabeth I, #5)
  • The Queene's Christmas (Elizabeth I, #6)
  • The Fyre Mirror (Elizabeth I, #7)
  • The Fatal Fashione (Elizabeth I, #8)
  • The Hooded Hawke (Elizabeth I, #9)