The Gardens of the Dead

The Gardens of the Dead

4.0 1
by William Brodrick

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More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA  See more details below


More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sharply etched characters who owe a lot to the darker side of Dickens lift Brodrick's sequel to his well-received debut, The Sixth Lamentation (2003), which introduced Father Anselm, an English lawyer turned monk. Unfortunately, many of the descriptive scenes a homeless man endlessly sharing toast and hot chocolate with a shrewd London female barrister for whom he acts as an informant, for example start off with poignant power, but eventually become just padding. At the time of her death by heart attack, this highly principled woman, Elizabeth Glendinning, was trying to correct a miscarriage of justice that she and Father Anselm had been involved in when he was still a lawyer. A convicted sex criminal was set free who had always proclaimed his innocence and blamed the crimes on his employer, known only as "The Pieman," whose identity has never been revealed to readers until now. Brodrick has all the right moves, but fewer slices of toast would have made for a tighter plot. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Father Anselm returns in Brodrick's second mystery novel, following The Sixth Lamentation. Unfortunately, he is not as immersed in the engaging historical intrigue here as he was in the first book. Gardens begins with the death of attorney Elizabeth Glendinning, a colleague from Father Anselm's lawyer days. Elizabeth's death isn't the mystery, though-she dies of an inherited heart condition. Instead, the mystery revolves around her quest to bring to justice London lowlife Graham Riley, a former client of hers and Father Anselm's. Before dying, Elizabeth, who knew of her heart condition, laid the groundwork so that her efforts to catch and jail Riley would continue after her death. Brodrick presents the story through too many flashbacks from four of the protagonists, a strategy that makes the plot feel muddled, especially midway through. Gardens includes a couple of twists at the end that will satisfy the reader, but overall, it is a lukewarm mystery compared with its predecessor. Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile addition to any public library's mystery section, as some library patrons will enjoy getting better acquainted with Father Anselm. [Brodrick was a Franciscan friar before leaving the order to become a practicing barrister.-Ed.]-Angela Graven, MLS, New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Friar, a former barrister, struggles with the troubled legacy of a dead colleague. Monk-turned-barrister Brodrick's second featuring Father Anselm (The 6th Lamentation, 2003) is that uniquely British brand of thriller: no violence (except in the past, obliquely sketched) and no sex-just a plot as byzantine as an obscure chess gambit and suspense driven largely by threatened exposure of the commonalities lurking beneath class distinctions. When Elizabeth Glendinning, a respected London solicitor, dies suddenly of a congenital heart ailment after visiting a flea market, she's already disseminated a blueprint for the comeuppance of an unsavory client, Graham Riley, whom she once reluctantly defended against a charge of procuring runaway teenagers as prostitutes. Her former co-counsel, Anselm, departed the law for the monastery after his cross-examination of a key witness, George Bradshaw, goaded the latter into fleeing the courtroom, resulting in Riley's acquittal. Now Anselm, per posthumous instructions, seeks former homeless-shelter manager Bradshaw, who departed home for the streets after his son, John, tried to vindicate his father and drowned under suspicious circumstances. The police were unable to pin John's murder on prime suspect Riley, who now operates a marginal salvage business with his long-suffering wife, Nancy. Elizabeth apparently thought she could destroy Riley's reputation by exposing a double set of books, which would somehow facilitate the reopening of the murder case. Or so Anselm and readers suppose throughout the bulk of this book. In meetings on the streets, Elizabeth and Bradshaw had plotted Riley's downfall. Bradshaw, whose short-term memory was impaired after abeating by young toughs, is supposed to deliver to Anselm notebooks on how evil might be undone, and an envelope containing the goods on Riley-but he misplaces them. When Elizabeth's plan for exposing Riley proves faulty, the real, unlikely history linking Elizabeth, Bradshaw and Riley emerges. Only the compelling sway exerted by Brodrick's characters and language render this unwieldy, non-sinister and at times maddeningly non-cohesive narrative impossible to put down. Justice and gratification delayed, but not denied.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Father Anselm Mysteries Series
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Penguin Group
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File size:
455 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

William Brodrick was a Franciscan friar before leaving the order to become a practicing barrister.

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Gardens of the Dead 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ahhallam More than 1 year ago
I can well understand how it might have taken Brodrick, a relatively unknown voice in suspense and murder-mystery fiction, three years to write a second novel featuring his barrister-turned-monk Father Anselm. (I was intrigued by learning that Brodrick himself is a monk-turned-barrister.) Gardens of the Dead has a very convoluted plot, not told in strict linear fashion, and replete with twists and revelations that take their time in revealing the 'truth' of events and discoveries. I haven't read his earlier 2003 book which introduced Father Anselm, so I can make no comparisons, but I found the characters real and credible, and appreciated the craft that was required to pull various strands of the story together, though at times I found them a bit confusing, especially by time-shifting, and I was uncertain if I was seeing the plot revelations clearly and truly, or if I myself was getting all tangled up. That feeling, I suspect, is far more true to the real-life process of getting to the bottom of a complex mystery than the linear, progressive relating of insights that bring an investigator to the discovery of 'what really happened,' as many modern writers prefer. A lot of readers will find the going too slow, even tedious, and the connections between characters ultimately a little too pat, despite their unpredictability. Someone else characterized this book as Dickensian, and that's apt. This is not a book for light reading or quickie satisfaction. It takes time to digest. Will I look forward to another Father Anselm tale? Ask me after I've read the earlier novel.