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The Gardens of the Dead (Father Anselm Mysteries #2)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  317 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In his debut novel "The Sixth Lamentation," William Brodrick introduced Father Anselm, the monk-turned-detective who found himself caught up in a remarkable story of intrigue and murder. Now, in "The Gardens of the Dead," Father Anselm returns in a gripping tale set in the underbelly of London and around its dark artery, the river Thames.
When Elizabeth Glendinning QC dies
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
William Brodrick follows his brilliant debut novel, The 6th Lamentation, with another Father Anselm mystery, Gardens of the Dead. Before her untimely death, a former colleague of Anselm's, Elizabeth Glendinning, QC, reopened a case on which they both had worked a decade before. Glendinning left some rather cryptic instructions, along with a key, asking Anselm to complete her work. The case involved that of one Graham Riley, a shady wheeler-dealer who had been accused of pimping but was released ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like his first Father Anselm book, The Sixth Lamentation, the mystery is a vehicle for a much deeper exploration of sin and mercy. I admit I was perplexed for much of the book, and yet I resented every circumstance that made me put it down. Don't read this if all you want is a "cozy". Do read it if you are willing to reflect on good and evil, right and wrong, corruption and redemption.
I found this book quite frustrating. I think the author was trying to be clever by gradually feeding small bites of background into the story, presumably with the intention of building anticipation... but the only effect it had on me was increasing my confusion and irritation! In fact I didn't really find out what it was all about until the last few chapters, by which time what should have been compelling, intrinsic details, had lost most of their impact.
I kept on reading it because William Brod
Jan 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book. I got over halfway and just realised I didn't care what happened and I wasn't going to waste any more of my life forcing myself to read it. I just did not gel with the writing style at all. I found it hard to get into and then once I had got into it I found I didn't care about any of the characters or the plot. I think we'll just have to chalk this up to a clash of styles because I didn't think the writing was bad or the plot was particularly terrible, it just wasn't ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery with a twist. It's kind of psychological, but I liked the literary style. Here's a quote:

"…Father Andrew tugged at an eyebrow. 'I tried to comfort her, saying it's not the beginning that matters, but rather the undiscovered end, because it completely transforms our understanding of where we came from, what we've done, who we ultimately are…I said it was never too late, that even last words or a final act could bring about this fantastic change…that it was like magic. '"
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't label this a mystery (as the library did). Not much thrill or suspense. At first I didn't think I was going to like the book; I had a hard time making sense of the author's style of writing. I stuck wih it though. I'm still not sure if I liked the book or if I read it really quickly in order to make sense of it. It was a good read but I'm still confused about one thing...Riley. What happened to him at the end? I thought I had it figured out but not quite sure.
May 05, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This must be one of the worst mystery stories ever written. I wasn't even sure what the "mystery" was for the longest time, and when I did figure it out it was ridiculous. The author is British and made lots of references that went right over my head, but even that would have been okay if only the storyline and characters hadn't driven me nuts!
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Loved his first book (Sixth Lamentation) and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed in this one. Just, overall, not as good as his first in the series. I see now that he's got a third out, and I'll give it a try.
Catherine Wood
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this down. Well written and almost poetic in places. A well crafted mystery with interwoven threads that keep you guessing. I'm starting the third book now!
Phil Lawless
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brodrick
This book starts with lots of moral questions about justice, legalities, and mercy. It quickly becomes an investigation into what actually occurred in the recent and distant past, an investigation that continues till the very end. Strangely, redemption rears its head along the way, though never realized but just hinted. It is a very convoluted story with many contributors. I think in the end, it reminds me of a Graham Greene novel.

I had thought throughout that David's encounter with the people t
Joyce Hudson
First of this series for me. I had a difficult time getting into the book. The story does get better as you continue to read and the final 50 pages are the most interesting. Will probably read at least one more of this series before I pass final judgement on this author.

In his second book in the Father Anselm Mysteries, William Brodrick once again produces a unique "who done it”. A jacket review claims ‘deep characterization”, but I could not find a likeable one.
GARDENS OF THE DEAD. (2006). William Brodrick. ***.
This was the second novel by this author to feature Father Anselm, a barrister turned monk. His first adventure was in “The Sixth Lamentation.” I had expected that having a monk as your featured sleuth would provide ample opportunity to provide monk-like mots of wisdom throughout the novel, but that wasn’t the case. Anselm is more of a sounding board for people to bounce ideas against rather than a thinking sleuth. There is a plot in this novel,
Mar 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth, a barrister dies under suspicious circumstances leaving behind a husband and her son. She also leaves behind an envelope for a fellow friend and ex-barrister Anslem (who is now a monk) and instructs him to open it only in the event of her death. The story goes back in time to explain how Elizabeth fears that she may have represented someone who was actually guilty of a crime. And so to set her mistakes right, she places clues and tasks for select individuals she has put in place to do ...more
John Lee
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is much to be said for the series of novels based on DI Plodd the detective solving all of the murders happening on his patch. You feel a certain familiarity because you know the characters, the background and even, may be, about the story about to unfold.
This is my second of the Father Anselm series and although the 'stable' characters are the same, the stories are so very different.
As an outsider the reader feels that the background and settings, be it the workings of the Central Crimina
Alan Marchant
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The blurbs for The Gardens of the Dead may mislead you into expecting a mystery novel or a legal thriller. But this is more basic novel and satisfying novel about human relationships. A dead judge has arranged for an apparently unconnected assortment of characters to persecute her antogonist. For most of the book, the multiple points of view create a Kafkaesque confusion. The weakness of the novel is a symmetrically structured underlying plot and moral (secrets are bad) that draw the story out t ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
After reading many unfavourable reviews of this book, I braced myself for disappointment, but then I absolutely loved this book! I actually read it more slowly towards the end, because I wanted it to last longer. Wonderful, interesting characters - according to many reviews too many, but make notes if you have to, to keep track. This book really makes you think about our choices in life and the limitations our circumstances, talents and personality traits place on those choices. His views on the ...more
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
Elizabeth, a barrister, dies from a heart attack and leaves a puzzle of actions for different behind. The main point in it is Riley, a man whome they don't seem to get behind bars.
That would be the end of it if it would have been a very basic crime story. But there is more behind Elzabeth her life, the favours she left behind, the evidence and pieces....all leading to one thing, which only she knew but believes will be found out by the right people.

The story was peaceful and calm while at the sa
Alice Brewer
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcopy, 52books2017
This is the second Father Anselm book I've read, after a rather random pick of The Sixth Lamentation, and it did not disappoint. Broderick's characterisation is wonderful - 3-dimensional characters with hidden depths and foibles we can both recognise and be shocked by. The plot of The Gardens of the Dead is convoluted and when all the pieces finally drop into place it's both surprising and satisfying. Anselm is a marvellous 'hero', thrust unwillingly into detection and making false assumptions a ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, england
If you don't mind wondering what in the heck is going on until the very end, then this is the book for you. I felt like I was wandering around in London fog, trying to glimpse the trail left by the deceased barrister. Throw in a main character with short-term memory loss, and know the obscurity was no different than what Father Anselm was experiences. Brodrick again explores the mix of guilt and innocence, actions and consequences, but this isn't as strong a book as his first. The moral question ...more
Susan Wight
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Anselm, a former barrister, has his peace disturbed at the monastery by a visit from Elizabeth Glendinning QC who entrusts him with a key to be used if she should die. When she does die, Anselm is drawn into a case from many years ago in which he assisted as her junior in defending a guilty man. Elizabeth has devised a scheme to bring that man to justice but, in her absence, Anselm struggles to pull the pieces together and figure out exactly what she wanted of him.

This is one of several Father
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Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Good Read with great Characters

I thought this book by Mr. Brodrick was a satisfying read. I didn't feel it was a terrific read, although I did enjoy the ending and the characters that the author developed in the story. The author just seemed to make me feel that I really knew the characters, which some authors fail to do. If you looking for an easy beach read then this novel would make that fit, and it's still a good read.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, crime-modern
Audible sometimes gets it right and sometimes gets it wrong. For me, the narrator was not getting it right for the story. I have listened to this narrator before where his particular tone and phrasing was just right for the story - but not in this case. So, I am going to have to find a hard copy of this novel as I still think that the premise is interesting. So, accordingly, unable to recommend to the normal crew at this particular time.
At first I thought - incredibly clever thriller. Then I think the author became a victim of his attempt to be clever and ended up a tad confused. The end threw in a bunch of curve balls to liven things up a bit - but it seemed to have been done out of panic.

A pretty good plotline though - just confused storytelling.
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anselm is back in another mystery with wonderful moral dilemmas. As with his earlier book, I cannot synopsize the plot, for the scripting is excellent, as is the writing. I only ranked this four stars (four-point-five, if I could) because perhaps the novelty had worn off and I did not find the otherwise excellent plot as compelling.
Sashankh Kale
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed the book. This is not a traditional whodunit; it focuses on ideas such as guilt, forgiveness, letting go, pursuit of justice etc. The language is great and quite literary in style. The characters are layered and interesting.
What a good book. The plot had so many twists and turns!! Very good writing. The book slowly draws the reader into the story until I didn't want to put the book down. Now have to find the first one in the series...and hope more come after this.
Judith Cartisano
Oh my, how boring. After a time trying to get into a story that never seemed to begin, I began skipping through whole paragraphs. I didn't care one bit about any of the characters. A waste of time.
Convoluted - interlocking puzzles. Too many coincidences, too many loose ends drawn together at the end. Still like the Anselm character, but the plot of this one dragged on for too long. I was disappointed.
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William Brodrick was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1960. Having lived in Canada since he was eleven, he went to school in Australia and England, and went on to take a BA in Philosophy and Theology, then a MTh (Master of Theology) and a Degree of Utter Barrister. Brodrick worked on a logging camp in British Columbia, Canada, before joining the Augustinian Friars (1979-1985). He began his life as a ...more
More about William Brodrick...

Other Books in the Series

Father Anselm Mysteries (6 books)
  • The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm, #1)
  • A Whispered Name (Father Anselm, #3)
  • The Day of the Lie (Father Anselm, #4)
  • The Discourtesy of Death (Father Anselm, #5)
  • The Silent Ones (Father Anselm Mysteries, #6)

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