Murder in the Secret Garden (Book Retreat Series #3)

Murder in the Secret Garden (Book Retreat Series #3)

by Ellery Adams

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Murder in the Secret Garden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
A magical garden, a manor featuring an Agatha Christie Tea Room and a couple of murders blend together for an all-out fascinating read in author Ellery Adams’ latest Book Retreat Mystery series release. MURDER IN THE SECRET GARDEN will quickly draw you in with a meeting of Medieval Herbalists at Storyton Hall, along with a fancy wedding. The book-themed resort comes alive through the author’s vivid descriptions. The gardens flourish on the pages through her eye for details. The core cast of characters are a delight, realistic and very likable. The secondary characters are quirky and add depth to the story through their personalities and actions. The mix of characters makes for well-blended story. The story deals with the good and evil of plants and how those elements are sometimes exploited for personal gain. There’s a good balance of family, dedication and determination mixed with greed, selfishness and insensibility. The author moves the story along smoothly and at a good pace. The book can be read on its own even though it’s the third installment in the series. Twists and turns will keep you on your toes until the very end. This is a suspenseful murder mystery you don’t want to miss. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
The third book in the Book Retreat mystery series was pretty. Especially the characters and mystery. I like the main character of Jane Seward and the staff of Storyton Hall. Also love the setting. Don't have much to say about this one. Another good cozy mystery in the series thus far, looking forward to the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent 3rd book in a wonderful series by one of my favorite authors! You won't be disappointed in your journey to Storyton! I just wish this was a real place to go!!
momelaine More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I wanted I have not visited Storyton before but I will be going back. Jane and her group have a great relationship together. Her friend Edwin is rather interesting. Her twin sons are a lot of fun! I didn't know who could have possibly have committed the murder. I was intrigued by who could have had reason and how they did it. I really look forward to reading more about the group at Storyton and Storyton Hall. They are a rather unique group but you really have to read the book to find out why.
judiOH More than 1 year ago
ms adams writes three series in the cozy mystery genre. i love them all. this series deals with a place called storyton hall, where rare books are stored away from the public's eyes. i love this series because the story keeps your interest from the first page to the last, and the ending is always a surprise!
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts I am so excited to be back in Storyton and to wander the beautiful gardens. No cell phones, no computers, no deadlines, a vacation from the rat race surrounded by books, books and more books. The Medieval Herbalists are guests at Storyton Hall and when one their bodies is found floating down the river Jane and the Finns are on the case. The suspects are many but they are up to weeding out the murderer. Ellery Adams continues to create stories that surpass the last. The mysteries of the secret garden at Storyton bring us straight back to the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It makes me want to find my old copy and reread it yet again because I am sure there are more correlations the author referenced that I have since forgotten. We already know what an amazing place Storyton Hall is from the first two books in this series that now we travel the gardens and a very special garden makes the place even more idyllic. I particularly enjoyed the way Jane’s sons, Hemi and Fitz start out hating helping their mother weed the garden but soon become totally invested when a little cash is offered and they start to learn about the plants and get excited about the bounty the gardens produce. Being covered in dirt from head to toe and having so much fun. In addition to the Steward family’s life at such a wonderful place Adams gives us a fantastic mystery to sink our teeth into. The suspect pool is pretty full but as each one is eliminated Jane feels she is missing something. The motive just doesn’t seem to be what it appears. She keeps digging until all the clues and secrets are revealed and even then she has a couple of loose ends. This was a tough one to figure out. I also still think there is more to the overall Book Retreat Mystery story. I can’t put my finger on it yet, but there is something there. It is also interesting that Storyton Hall has its own set of investigators, The Finns, staff members who are more than who they appear to be to the guests. They “work” with the police in their own way but they always seek out answers most times before even alerting the authorities. This time part of the crimes happen out of the local jurisdiction and I was a bit surprised there was more fallout from their actions. This is a series that needs to be read in order to fully enjoy each story. They are also stories to savor and not rush through because this author knows her stuff and drops hints than can appear to be insignificant at first but can be very important as the mystery continues. I loved my latest retreat to Storyton. I anticipate some excellent visits in the future. I recommend you book your retreat to Storyton as soon as possible and enjoy your little break from the stress of every day life.
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fabulous! It is fine to start your Storyton visit with this Book 3. Then you will want to read the first 2 entries to one of my favorite series. The cover is beautiful and the story is a good balance of poisonous plants and good things! Medieval Herbalists provide very interesting reading material! Despite the murders, I still want to go to Storyton. If you are a Harry Potter lover, I think you especially will enjoy this series!
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Secret Garden by Ellery Adams is the third book in A Book Retreat Mystery series. Jane Steward, resort manager, is getting ready for a wedding at Storyton Hall as well as The Medieval Herbalist group (who are all knowledgeable in poisons). The bride, Victoria Billingsley and her sister, Hannah are members of the group. In the Henry James Library, Mr. Sinclair has a rare herbal manuscript on display for the group (from their secret collection). Jane’s boys (Fitz and Hem) are excited about the inaugural rubber duck race to take place in town in the Storyton River. The race is sponsored by Storyton Outfitters, a new shop, owned by Phil and Sandy Hughes (the duck descriptions and names are humorous). When Jane’s uncle favorite hat falls into the river, Jane volunteers to capture it for him. Jane finds the hat along with the body of Kira Grace, a guest from Storyton Hall and a member of The Medieval Herbalist. Jane hopes that this does not put a damper upon the wedding festivities and rallies the Fins to investigate Kira’s death. Things take an unexpected turn when Edwin Alcott returns (just as Jane finds Kira’s body). Jane is not sure what she feels for Edwin. Is he a book thief? Why radio silence for the last four months? But Jane has a full plate and no time to speculate (rhyming unintentional). The wedding goes off without a hitch and the reception is lovely with its Hildegard von Bingen’s theme. Jane is enjoying the event until Mr. Sinclair informs her that the rare herbal manuscript they had on display has been stolen (not good). What else can happen? The next day the Medieval Herbalist take a trip into the hills to visit a druid. Claude Mason, president of the group, talked Tom Green (owns the local nursery) into taking them (despite the fact that the druid does not tolerate visitors). Jane is curious and follows along behind the herbalists. After they leave, Jane hears screaming coming from the druid’s cabin. The poor man was poisoned with wedding cake. Is his murder related to Kira’s death? Jane is even more determined to find who is responsible for the murders and theft (and deflect attention from Storyton Hall). Join Jane and the Fins on their investigation in Murder in the Secret Garden! Murder in the Secret Garden captured my interest from the very first page, and I did not want to stop reading (I stayed up until I finished the novel). The book has developed characters, a wonderful setting (a retreat full of books), and a complex mystery. The novel is easy to read and has a good pace (flow). While Murder in the Secret Garden is the third book in the series, you can read it as a stand-alone. The author gives the reader the needed background information on Jane and her family, Storyton Hall, and the mission of the Fins. Though I highly suggest you go and read the other book in A Book Retreat Mystery series. They are wonderful. I give Murder in the Secret Garden 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it as you can tell). I was able to solve the mysteries (the two murders and the theft of the book). They were complex with lots of twists and turns. You have to pay very close attention to the details to be able to figure them out. I loved the description of Storyton Hall. The room names are all literary. If Storyton Hall was real, I would never want to leave. The Harry Potter references (and the games played by the boys) were entertaining (made me laugh) especially when the Fitz and Hem were p
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
What I wouldn't give to spend time at The Storyton Resort, curled up with a favorite book or three and enjoying a cup of tea. Each time I read a book written by the talented Ellery Adams, I take a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. She weaves not only a story filled with mystery, adventure, friendship and love, but there is a deep emotional connection that reaches out to me. In this 3rd book in the Book Retreat series, Jane Steward is hosting a wedding and a group of plant lovers known as The Medieval Herbalists. These aren't ordinary plant lovers, this group is made up of people who take herbal medicine and remedies very seriously. They are known to see the benefits in even some of the scariest plants, including nightshade. When one of the herbalists is found dead, Jane is determined to find answers. The investigation opens up a Pandora's Box of secrets and some long ago questions are finally answered. I was blown away by the story and I was kept guessing until the very end. I am a huge fan of Ms. Adams and it is always a pleasure and an honor to read and review one of her books. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review. Be sure to grab your copy now and find your own secret garden to read in.
Jani8 More than 1 year ago
Ellery Adams has another winner on her hands! “Murder in the Secret Garden” is the third book in the Book Retreat series. I wish there was a hotel like this, devoted to books and reading. So many books, so little time! Along with the mystery, there is intrigue, knights in shining armor (figuratively speaking), damsels in distress and a garden full of poisonous plants. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it anyone with a love of a good mystery!
Chickofgrace More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the "Book Retreat Mysteries" series. The way that Ellery Adams writes you do not necessarily need to read the first two books in the series to know what is going on. This story takes place in a great little village called Storyton. Jane Steward is the resort manager and is hosting a group called "The Medieval Herbalists." During the town's duck derby one of the Herbalists is found dead. Who did it?? Was it murder?? Was it suicide?? Was it an accident?? Jane and the staff of Storyton Hall, along with the Herbalists, are ready to help the local police figure it out. I would love to live in Storyton. It sounds like the perfect place to spend the rest of my days. I have always dreamed of living in a house that was full of books in every room. I love the way that Ellery Adams writes. From the very first page I felt like I was right there at Storyton Hall. I felt like I was Jane Steward's side-kick. There is a great quote in the book by Jane Steward that I can totally relate to. Jane says, "My life requires copious amounts of tea, coffee, books, and chocolate. And not necessarily in that order." Kudo's to Ellery Adams on another great book!
PeggH More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Secret Garden is the 3rd in the Book Retreat Mystery series. It takes you to Storyton Hall and the Village of Storyton. At the front of the book you will find a wonderful list of the staff of Storyton Hall and a the merchants of Storyton Village. Whether you're a first time reader of this series and just getting to know the characters or you're coming back to visit characters that seem like old friends, its a wonderful way to start the book. In this book Storyton Hall is hosting a group called the Medieval Herbalists as well as a wedding. Secrets are abound! Jane and her staff are once again looking for the answers. Without giving it all away just know that Ellery Adams has given us another great mystery that grabs you from the beginning and holds you till the end The twists and turns will keep you guessing!! The characters and continued story line of the Book Retreat Mystery series are very well developed. You will find yourself wishing that you could in fact go and spend time at Storyton Hall and visit with all the staff and merchants of the village. Including getting to know Jane's twin sons who fun loving characters themselves. I recommend not only this book but the whole series. You won't be disappointed!! I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review
NancyCR More than 1 year ago
I would love to spend a week or two at Storyton Hall, every afternoon partaking of Mrs. Hubbard's tea, sandwiches and pastries, while people-watching and catching snippets of conversation, maybe even about the latest mystery. In the latest book set there, Mystery in the Secret Garden, the special visiting group is a gathering of medieval herbalists. One of their members is an expert in plant-based poisons, which figures in one of the murders. The other is an apparent drowning. There is a wedding to take place in the Storyton Hall garden, the responsibility of Jane Steward, a return of Edwin, her mystery man and her twin sons Hem and Fitz to keep track of. I love the way Jane not only takes her motherly role seriously, but is making sure that her spunky boys are taught manners a moral code and work ethic. The mysteries are complex, but fairly presented, so there is a chance to solve them, though I did not. My favorite feature of these books is the character development and relationships between the characters and this book does not disappoint. I always learn fun facts in Ellery Adams' books, this time about plants and plant lore and wonderful snippets about literature and poetry. I can't resist mentioning that it tickles me that a few of the characters have names that reflect their work, though it isn't overdone; The cook, Mrs. Hubbard (her cupboard is never bare), the gardener, Tom Green and owners of the Pickled Pig Market, the Hogg Brothers. Perfect! I highly recommend this book and the whole series!
RobynKFLNJ More than 1 year ago
Jane Steward, manager of Storyton Hall, is hosting a group of guests called The Medieval Herbalists. They've come to Storyton Hall to explore the garden, and attend a wedding of one of their member's sister. When one of the Medieval Herbalists is found dead, Jane and her staff are dedicated to finding out what really happened to the deceased member of the group. Everyone has a secret, and Jane is trying to figure out what's really going on in each member's lives. This book was very fast paced and kept me guessing until the end. I love this series, and I highly recommend it. If you love a good mystery, good food and cats, then this is the series for you. Ellery Adams is a wonderful writer and this book is a winner! I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Servedogmom More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Secret Garden is the third book in the Book Retreat Mystery series by New York Times Bestselling author Ellery Adams. This cozy mystery is written as a stand-alone story, but I believe readers will appreciate the book more if they read the previous novels to better relate to the characters and their roles. That stated, this story won’t lessen reading enjoyment of the previous books in this series. This is definitely a unique series which improves with each addition to the series! Throughout Murder in the Secret Garden Ms. Adams expertly blends classic mystery, suspense, thriller and traditional cozy mystery elements into one captivating story. Storyton Hall in Western Virginia, is hosting a group of guests called The Medieval Herbalists who have come to explore the garden, and attend a wedding of a sister of one of their members. Jane and the Storytown staff are dedicated to finding out what really happened. It appears that everyone has a secret. The reader investigates along with Jane trying to determine what's really happening in each member's lives. This is a clue-based mystery, and the characters search for concrete evidence as police detectives do. There are a number of potential suspects until the final clues are revealed. I enjoy the references to other books interspersed throughout this mystery. While this book and series fall into the cozy mystery genre, the author does take some liberty with language that might not be appreciated by cozy mystery purists, but would definitely be enjoyed by individuals who appreciate a traditional well written mystery. As a bonus, the back of the book includes a sneak peek of Killer Characters, the newest book in the Books by the Bay mystery series! If you love a good mystery, delectable food and cats, then this series is perfect for you. Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed in this review are my own.
Saramarg More than 1 year ago
Of Ellery Adams’ three excellent mystery series, this one has to be my favorite. Who wouldn’t want to visit Storyton Hall, a resort designed with the avid reader in mind? This time Jane Steward is hosting a series of themed events for The Medieval Herbalists, including the wedding of one of the group members. (Previous books in the series have dealt with events for mystery lovers and romance readers.) Because this is a murder mystery, there are, of course, murders. At least one is quite gruesome, as you might expect when poisonous herbs are featured, but Adams doesn’t dwell on the details and quickly moves on. The focus, instead, is on the relationships between characters. Featured players include two sisters with a tragic secret in their past, a self-proclaimed celebrity “Poison Princess,” and the owner of the local Potting Shed and his relationship with . . . a druid? A theme underlying each book in the series is the deep trust between Jane and her fellow Storyton Hall employees. A few of the merchants of the surrounding Storyton Village (I love the map of the village showing the location of each quaint business) are also involved in the story. The house itself has its own secrets, of which readers of the previous books in the series are aware, although they are only touched upon lightly in this novel. Adams’ stories are elegantly told, with dashes of humor contributed by her 7-year-old, high-spirited twin boys. Her relationship with the mysterious Edwin Alcott is once again featured—can Jane trust this oft-absent man who wants to claim her affections? The beauty of the book is in the expert storytelling, the wealth of fascinating characters, and the over-arching love for books and book lovers.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Murder n the Secret Garden is the third book in the A Book Retreat Mystery series. Another wonderfully story by one of my most favorite authors, Ellery Adams. It’s always a thrill to visit with the folks at Storyton Hall and this book was no exception. Jane Steward, in addition to managing Storyton Hall, also has her twins, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, to raise. I particularly enjoy reading about the boys, they’re not mischievous, but boys will be boys. But Jane can count on her very capable cook, Mrs. Hubbard, to help keep them in line. In addition, Jane has a group of military trained men to keep her and her family safe. All the characters of this series are interesting and well developed. In this book, a group of Medieval Herbalists are staying at Storyton Hall to have an enjoyable visit and to share their knowledge of herbal practices of the past. But the event turns tragic as everyone has gone into the village of Storyton for the inaugural rubber duck race. When Jane’s great-uncle loses his favorite fishing hat to the river, she takes off to head downstream in hopes of recovering it, what she finds in addition to the hat, is the body of Kira Grace, one of the herbalists. Not that Jane doesn’t feel that the police department can handle the case, but she wants to get it solved as quickly as possible, so as to not damage the reputation of Storyton Hall. Once again Mr. Butterworth, Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Sterling and Mr. Lachlan provide the necessary back-up to find the killer. There is a map of the village of Storyton and a cast of characters. Both of which I appreciate. Very much looking forward to the next exciting adventure from Storyton Hall.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
This truly unique series just keeps getting better! When I read the first book in the Book Retreat Mysteries, MURDER IN THE MYSTERY SUITE, I just knew this was going to be an amazing series. It feels so good to be right! ;-) MUDER IN THE SECRET GARDEN, as with the first two book in the series, is a blend of old fashioned mystery, spy thriller, and cozy all magnificently rolled into one. It’s both gripping, and fun. Author Ellery Adams seems to have channeled not only many prolific authors, but several of literatures greatest mystery characters to create an unforgettably remarkable series. The main plot in MURDER IN THE SECRET GARDEN, is extremely well thought out, and left me second guessing myself most of the way through. From page one, to the discovery of the body, to the shocking reveal and ending, I was enthralled with every word I read. I was quite breathless by the end of the book. As with books one and two, there is an underlying, menacing feeling. Something we will see in a future installment perhaps? Aside from being a wonderful read, this series would make for outstanding movies and/or TV. Make sure to check out the back of the book for a sneak peek of KILLER CHARACTERS, the newest book in the Books By The Bay mysteries!
Cozy_Cup More than 1 year ago
Ellery Adams is my "go to" author. I never miss a book in any of her series; and I have never disappointed by the adventure and escape her talented writing provides. While this series in the cozy genre, Adams writes for many audiences, as I believe this series has suspense, thriller, spy-novel type adventure, but holds true to the cozy with curious character development and unbeatable setting, that is not too violent, or foul language. In Murder in the Secret Garden, we return to the incredible Storyton Hall, where booklovers can find respite to read and relax. Nothing, however, is ever quite that simple, especially for the cast of characters who reside/work at Storyton Hall. This time The Medieval Herbalists are the guests. When they learn of the Secret Garden tucked away on the grounds of Storyton Hall of course they want access...who wouldn't, but then trouble arises when a body is discovered. This is one of Adams' great gifts weaving complicated, intriguing plots that refer to previous great works from literature. Per usual, Adams' series continue to evolve and engage with each installment. Don't miss this glimpse into a Murder in the Secret Garden!
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
Jane Steward is the Guardian for Storyton Hall's fabulous book-themed resort. And within the walls of this resort, lies a secret garden, hidden behind a locked door, that houses the most beautiful and deadly plants. This garden, seemingly straight out the classical novel "The Secret Garden" will be a wonderful place to visit for their latest guests, the Medieval Herbalists, visiting the resort for their annual gathering coinciding with the wedding of one of their member's sister. But when a guest is found floating in the river, possibly poisoned, Jane knows she needs to get to the bottom of this mystery, along with the help of her competent staff. This is the third book in the Book Retreat Mystery, and as with the other two books in the series, presents interesting main characters in a wonderful setting. I enjoy Jane's interactions with her two young sons, as they explore and learn about the world they are living in, as well as with her loyal staff who have their own mysterious (and often useful) pasts. This story also further expands her unexpected attraction to Edwin and how there may be a connection between her role as Guardian and his own secret career (besides that of notorious book thief). And of course, there are even tidbits of knowledge about plants, beneficial and poisonous, throughout the book to enlighten the reader. There are several interesting twists, including an additional murder, before the final unexpected resolution. I look forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
jlschutts More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Secret Garden is the third book in the A Book Retreat Mystery series by Ellery Adams. This was another enjoyable visit to Storyton Hall. It was helpful having the map of the village of Storyton and a listing of the staff and merchants at the beginning of the book. I've read all the books but it is a nice refresher and would be helpful for those who have not read the first 2 books. I really like that Jane, the main character, thinks things through and doesn't needlessly put herself in dangerous situations that she has to be rescued from. I like the friendships that Jane has with the Fins and merchants in Storyton. I enjoy gardening, so having the Medieval Herbalists visiting Storyton Hall was really interesting. There were twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was the best book ever there was a lot of detali and it was just a rilly grat book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks: Slender blonde she-cat with brilliant blue eyes. She has black specks under her eyes. The tips of her ears and tail are black too..........Persona: She is sarcastic and usually teases the cats she likes. She will be your friend if you ask her but if your mean, she will return the favour............Mate/Crush/Kits: Nope/...Thornclaw...shhh/None............Likes: PIZZA, family, and friends...........Dislikes: Rude people and brussels sprouts..........History: it's a secret...