The hunt for an ancient Chinese rose turns deadly in this latest English Garden Mystery featuring Dr. Lawrence Kingston.
A plant-hunting expedition haunted by tragedy leads to a perilous trail of greed, larceny, and deceit. Has Peter Mayhew, the man who plunged to his death on a mountain in China, come back to life? Which of the expedition members is hiding an explosive secret? Why are some being targeted for murder?
Once again, Dr. Lawrence Kingston--retired professor of botany and reluctant sleuth--finds himself at the center of a baffling case like none he has ever encountered. Following an ambiguous trail with only scant clues, he must find the hidden meaning dormant in a cache of valuable Chinese antiquities, shadow a ruthless assailant through London's teeming Underground, and travel the length and breadth of Britain, from a hospital ward in Oxford and an anonymous rendezvous in a Hampshire garden, to a remote farm in Dorset and the mystical Cornish coast--even to the mountains of Wales--in his search for the truth. Even the most likely suspects are becoming victims themselves, and the stakes rise exponentially as each lead comes to a dead end...literally.
Racing to save the lives of the remaining plant hunters and not become a victim himself, Kingston discovers the extreme lengths to which desperate men will go for riches, recognition, and the thrill of the hunt. Clever and chilling, The Trail of the Wild Rose effortlessly combines Anthony Eglin's horticultural knowledge and literary skills to create an innovative and riveting new mystery.
A party of plant hunters who are dying off one by one is the intriguing, Agatha Christie-like scenario of Eglin's less than satisfying fourth English garden mystery (after 2007's The Water Lily Cross). A colleague dispatches retired botanist Lawrence Kingston after a member of a recent horticultural expedition to China is run off the road while on his motorcycle and lies gravely injured in an Oxford hospital. The patient's ramblings reveal that disquieting events may have occurred on the journey and raise questions about the man's identity and the group's objectives. After the patient's death, Kingston interviews other members of the party and their relatives, gradually uncovering a conspiracy of greed, blackmail, fraud and murder. In the end, the awkward introduction of plot elements, a propensity to tell instead of show, stilted and unrealistic dialogue, a title that bears only a peripheral relation to the narrative and digressions about Kingston's personal life bury a promising premise. (Apr.)
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April 13, 2009
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