The Bone Garden: A Wesley Peterson Murder Mystery

Overview

The ancient gardens of Earlsacre Hall are being excavated by a local team of historians in preparation for plans to recreate the gardens in their former glory. But the dig is called to a halt when two bodies are discovered under a stone plinth. More than 300 years old and buried on top of one another, there is every indication that one of the corpses had been buried alive. Despite the intriguing circumstances, DS Wesley Peterson has little time to indulge in his hobby for archaeology: a man has been found ...

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Overview

The ancient gardens of Earlsacre Hall are being excavated by a local team of historians in preparation for plans to recreate the gardens in their former glory. But the dig is called to a halt when two bodies are discovered under a stone plinth. More than 300 years old and buried on top of one another, there is every indication that one of the corpses had been buried alive. Despite the intriguing circumstances, DS Wesley Peterson has little time to indulge in his hobby for archaeology: a man has been found brutally stabbed to death in a trailer at a popular vacation site. There are no clues to the dead man’s identity except for a newspaper cutting about the restoration of Earlsacre. Soon after, the body of local solicitor Brian Willerby is found during a game of village cricket. The postmortem reveals that his death was caused by being struck by a hard ball several times with some force. Now Wesley must decipher the connection between Earlsacre and the murders before any more victims arise.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Once again British author Ellis smoothly blends old and recent crimes . . . well-researched historical background."  —Publishers Weekly

"Capable plotting, an absorbing story line, and a cast of appealing characters make this fifth entry in the Peterson series a good choice for British procedural fans."  —Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Once again British author Ellis smoothly blends old and recent crimes in an archeological mystery featuring Det. Sergeant Wesley Peterson and his fellow Tradmouth (Devon) police officers. Detective Constable Rachel Tracey in particular makes a striking return from last year's The Funeral Boat. While clearing the overgrown site of the extensive 17th-century gardens of Earlsacre Hall during a restoration project, diggers find two skeletons, one belonging to a young woman buried alive three centuries earlier. Neil Watson, of the County Archeology Unit, calls Peterson, with whom he studied archeology at university, but Peterson is busy investigating a stabbing murder in a nearby caravan park. Skillfully combining identity theft and blackmail with murder, the author treats the reader to a host of distinctive supporting characters, including the owner of a discreet brothel, its girls and clients, a petty thief, a sex-driven "poetess in residence," a solicitor's litigious neighbor and Peterson's giddy and unconventional mother-in-law. The well-researched historical background (involving the enslavement in the West Indies of rebels against James II) and an unusual murder weapon (a "knocking-in mallet" used on cricket bats) add interest. Anglophiles will drink up the local color and south Devon towns modeled on Dartmouth and Torbay. (July 31) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Five bodies, two centuries, no waiting. All the corpses—the two buried under an 18th-century garden plinth, the one beneath a centuries-old shell grotto, the one beside a cricket field, and the one in a holiday caravan park—are the responsibility of DS Wesley Peterson (The Armada Boy, 2000, etc.), archeology buff and sidekick to DI Gerry Heffernan at the Tradmouth stationhouse. The cricketer was timid solicitor Brian Willeby, who rang up Peterson for a confidential chat but died before they could meet. Did his demise have anything to do with the ownership of venerable Earlsacre Hall, recently sold by Charles Pitaway, the last of his line, and now under renovation? Or did one of the working girls he was fond of photographing at their sexual tasks have it in for him? While Peterson and Heffernan work the Willeby and caravan deaths, Peterson’s pal Neil Watson, an archeologist digging up the Earlsacre gardens, uncovers the ghastly events surrounding the three centuries-buried bodies: a serving girl, a transported noble returned from Barbados, and a Good Samaritan sea captain. But poor DC Rachel Tracey, on an ill-advised romantic outing, will almost become victim number six before Peterson and Heffernan swoop down to stop the Earlsacre slaughter. The 18th-century tale of murder is more beguiling than the contemporary one, but Ellis is particularly crafty in dovetailing them, even writing in a role for a Peterson forebear in the process.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749937058
  • Publisher: Piatkus Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: The Wesley Peterson Murder Mysteries Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,154,452
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Ellis is the author of the Wesley Peterson Series and has twice been nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Short Story Dagger Award.

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