|G.P. Putnam's Sons|
"The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern's employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end - and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.
"Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes...
"If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer - and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well..."
Garden of Lies is short and sweet - well, mostly sweet. I finished it in a couple of days, which really translated into a matter of hours, and found I enjoyed the dark and sultry world of Victorian society that Amanda Quick manages to concoct. It's deliberately scandalous and riddled with intrigue and adventure, and it's interesting to see how the plot unfolds.
The character development is ultimately unimpressive.
Truthfully, I liked Ursula - there was something about her character, her care to wear heavy hat pins and her calm demeanor in the face of danger - and Slater. They cut dashing figures in Garden of Lies, and I liked them for their daring and courage; however, I found their relationship a touch too spontaneous and their personal development seriously lacking. They are, more or less, fully formed individuals and they do not seem to change much.
Likewise, I wasn't completely taken with the plot. I was intrigued, and I was curious to see where their investigation would lead, but I wasn't particularly thrilled with the surprises Quick tried to spring or the twists her characters took in their search for answers. It was, dare I say it, a rather predictable romantic adventure.
Murder. Lots and lots of murder.
Oh, and drugs.