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Murder in the Secret Garden

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Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries...   There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries...   There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett's classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder.   With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the proper materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library...


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Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries...   There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries...   There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett's classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder.   With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the proper materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library...

30 review for Murder in the Secret Garden

  1. 5 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    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 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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    Finally. A story that was good! I was really starting to wonder about this series and whether or not I wanted to continue with it and this book made me say YES! I will be continuing on. I had no idea..well, that isn't true, I DID have a glimmer of a clue, but this one was filled with red herrings and didn't really pay attention to that glimmer until closer to the end and by the time of the reveal I had most of it worked out, including the killer, but to be honest, that didn't make it any less s Finally. A story that was good! I was really starting to wonder about this series and whether or not I wanted to continue with it and this book made me say YES! I will be continuing on. I had no idea..well, that isn't true, I DID have a glimmer of a clue, but this one was filled with red herrings and didn't really pay attention to that glimmer until closer to the end and by the time of the reveal I had most of it worked out, including the killer, but to be honest, that didn't make it any less satisfying because it did take me some time to get it all together. Most of the time I know who the killer is before I reach halfway in the book!! This is by far the best of the series and I hope this quality of writing and storytelling continues. NOW if only the narrator would get better....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Really 4.5 stars, but I rounded up. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are explicitly my own.* The Book Retreat Mysteries have become one of the series I look forward to when they're released, so naturally when I got the chance to get a for-review copy of this book I snagged it. Jane is a wonderful character, she's a single mother and yet balances it wonderfully with her duties as manager of St Really 4.5 stars, but I rounded up. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are explicitly my own.* The Book Retreat Mysteries have become one of the series I look forward to when they're released, so naturally when I got the chance to get a for-review copy of this book I snagged it. Jane is a wonderful character, she's a single mother and yet balances it wonderfully with her duties as manager of Storyton Hall. Edwin, the love interest, is also excellent. He's surrounded by mystery, but yet you can't help cheering for him the entire time. The Finns are half good and that's why I took the half star off. I really like Lachan and Sinclair, but I really could care less about Sterling or Butterworth. They're boring, and I found myself skimming every time they appeared. The setting is absolutely amazing. I would love to visit a place like Storyton Hall, and I don't know if I would ever leave! The mystery was also well plotted. It didn't have the typical huge MC-almost-gets-killed ending, but it was an absolutely wonderful change. It was a great puzzle. Overall an outstanding book. Well worth the read. Highly recommend and I'll read the next one!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Doward Wilson

    Enter the book themed resort home of Jane Stewart as she welcomes The Medieval Herbalists group and the guests at an unusual wedding. Mix together a garden filled with poisonous plants, a local druid with a past, wedding members with secrets, new village residents and herbalists with devious plots and you get a tangled web of lies, deceit, revenge and murder. This series delivers non-stop action, fascinating characters and a background story that thrills with adventure. A must read cozy mystery Enter the book themed resort home of Jane Stewart as she welcomes The Medieval Herbalists group and the guests at an unusual wedding. Mix together a garden filled with poisonous plants, a local druid with a past, wedding members with secrets, new village residents and herbalists with devious plots and you get a tangled web of lies, deceit, revenge and murder. This series delivers non-stop action, fascinating characters and a background story that thrills with adventure. A must read cozy mystery series for all cozy fans.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    I'm kind of torn. I do love cozy mysteries, even though there are things that drive me a little nuts, I recognize you gotta kind of suspend disbelief and all. I don't know that I care for the romance happening in this story...it feels very...off in some way. (view spoiler)[The whole Templar thing and the kidnapping and whatnot...didn't fit too well here, though it is a story I would read separately, if that makes sense (hide spoiler)] Overall, this was okay, but I felt a little more disconnected I'm kind of torn. I do love cozy mysteries, even though there are things that drive me a little nuts, I recognize you gotta kind of suspend disbelief and all. I don't know that I care for the romance happening in this story...it feels very...off in some way. (view spoiler)[The whole Templar thing and the kidnapping and whatnot...didn't fit too well here, though it is a story I would read separately, if that makes sense (hide spoiler)] Overall, this was okay, but I felt a little more disconnected from it than the previous one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)

    Things were going great with Jane and her book-themed resort and then they find a secret garden full of poison plants. It peaks the interest of her newest group that have booked the resort, the Medieval Herbalist, the only thing is one of them might have used that garden to commit murder. There is also a rare herbalist book that some might want to get their hands on and Jane has to do her job as protector of a great secret library. She also has to deal with the fact that the man she cares about Things were going great with Jane and her book-themed resort and then they find a secret garden full of poison plants. It peaks the interest of her newest group that have booked the resort, the Medieval Herbalist, the only thing is one of them might have used that garden to commit murder. There is also a rare herbalist book that some might want to get their hands on and Jane has to do her job as protector of a great secret library. She also has to deal with the fact that the man she cares about is a thief and a Templar. Who knew those types were still around...lol. Just like her job has been passed down to him, his has been passed down in his family as well. So Jane has a lot on her plate in this one trying to deal with Edmund and finding a killer who used her garden to commit murder! What is there not to like about this series, you have a secret book library and the protectors take it very seriously and are trained in hand to hand combat, a book resort, and murder! :) Jane is a cool character as she is the protector of a secret library full of rare books. She has had to learn how to fight and she runs a book themed resort. She loves her resort but it seems that there is always murder happening. Her kids are a lot of fun and are the future protectors and have also been doing a bit of training and they think it's fun. I am not real sure what I think of Edmund as he is kind of a good/bad guy depending on how you look at things. :) Overall, a good series and if you like cozies and books with bookish things in it then you will enjoy this one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Claudette

    Just a nitpick, but there was no murder in the secret garden.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    Ohh I think this is my favorite in the series so far! I just love how it ended and that Jane and Edwin are in a good place with their relationship. This mystery was very intriguing and dealt with herbalists staying at the resort and an herbal healer who had some secrets in his past. I really enjoy reading about the secret library and the men who faithfully guard Storyton Hall and serve as bodyguards to Jane, the library Guardian. Even Jane's twin boys are fun characters, and I'm not a huge fan o Ohh I think this is my favorite in the series so far! I just love how it ended and that Jane and Edwin are in a good place with their relationship. This mystery was very intriguing and dealt with herbalists staying at the resort and an herbal healer who had some secrets in his past. I really enjoy reading about the secret library and the men who faithfully guard Storyton Hall and serve as bodyguards to Jane, the library Guardian. Even Jane's twin boys are fun characters, and I'm not a huge fan of kids in cozies. These little guys are like miniature men though. They're polite, easily taught but still like to get into typical 7-year-old boy mischief. I love that they're huge Harry Potter fans too! I'm so happy that this series hasn't ended yet and that when I read the next book, I'll have another one to look forward to. Like all of her other series, this author always gives more than just a mystery to her stories. She gives us people who care about each other and sometimes ones who are broken but just need a friend to help them. I always want to just sit and think about the book for a little while before starting another one.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Sqquuueeeeee! I am so in love with this series! It's pure bookish delight for a bibliophile like me. Fantastic characters...including a lovely assortment of multi-generational protective hero types who quote books!!!! I can't even...And the mystery is incredibly well done -- all twisty and turny -- and I love the way the author brings compassion to the darkest situations. I'm binge listening because I can't get enough, though I'm aware that this means I'll ultimately come to the end of the serie Sqquuueeeeee! I am so in love with this series! It's pure bookish delight for a bibliophile like me. Fantastic characters...including a lovely assortment of multi-generational protective hero types who quote books!!!! I can't even...And the mystery is incredibly well done -- all twisty and turny -- and I love the way the author brings compassion to the darkest situations. I'm binge listening because I can't get enough, though I'm aware that this means I'll ultimately come to the end of the series much too soon. But, I wont think about that today, I'll think about it tomorrow. :-) Today I have book four to conquer!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Hamilton

    Although this is the 3rd book in the series, I enjoyed it immensely. There were a few details that would probably have made more sense if I read the other two first, but they didn't prevent me from falling in love, head over heels, with this book. I loved it because even though it is a contemporary novel, the characters still uphold traditional values, principles, and morals. I'm in love with Edwin. I want to read the first two books just to get to know him. Everything was so interesting in this b Although this is the 3rd book in the series, I enjoyed it immensely. There were a few details that would probably have made more sense if I read the other two first, but they didn't prevent me from falling in love, head over heels, with this book. I loved it because even though it is a contemporary novel, the characters still uphold traditional values, principles, and morals. I'm in love with Edwin. I want to read the first two books just to get to know him. Everything was so interesting in this book, and the murder and its solution were plausible. However, it was also very shocking, sad and heartbreaking. I think that part makes it an even better book because not all murderers are bad, hard-hearted, selfish people. And not all victims require sympathy. The descriptions of the setting, the food, the feelings, they were all so evocative. I loved every moment I spent in Storyton Hall. The Fins, Jane, her boys, Mrs. Hubbard (really, the names fit the characters so perfectly), The Medieval Herbalists were all beautiful characters. I really enjoyed getting to know each person, and I feel like I could really care about these fictional people. This was the first contemporary cozy murder mystery that I really enjoyed, and Ellery Adams, I think you've got another fan! Update: I shall not read the other books in the series. I loved this one the way it is, and I want to be able to keep it that way. Ellery Adams, forget what I said earlier. I don't have any favourite contemporary cozy mystery writer.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    I couldn't help but being swept away by Murder In the Secret Garden. Enchanting and magical with romance with a multi-layered plot that was beautifully written. The Medieval Herbalists are staying at Storyton Hall, a book-themed retreat where patrons go to read and relax with no distractions of modern day life and Jane Steward is responsible for guarding the hidden library with secret books and manuscripts inside. There's an upcoming wedding, and will be something for the nature lovers, gardeners I couldn't help but being swept away by Murder In the Secret Garden. Enchanting and magical with romance with a multi-layered plot that was beautifully written. The Medieval Herbalists are staying at Storyton Hall, a book-themed retreat where patrons go to read and relax with no distractions of modern day life and Jane Steward is responsible for guarding the hidden library with secret books and manuscripts inside. There's an upcoming wedding, and will be something for the nature lovers, gardeners, and foodies and studying and growing herbs and there will be a inaugural bookish duck race. Among the Herbalists are some interesting characters like, Constance Meredith aka "Poison Princess" and expert on poisonous plants with a toxic personality. Kira Grace is a photographer who's subjects that she photographs weren't just plants.Jane finds Kira Grace floating dead in the river. In Kira Grace's possessions are compromising photos. When it's proven that Kira Grace was poisoned not drowned, and the theft of a rare herbal book on display Jane will do anything to protect Storyton hall and all the books the hidden library hold. The Secret Library is a place that fascinates me I would love to venture in there to read the books it beholds. The elements of fantasy and a page turning story that makes you feel for the characters, and a captivating romance between Jane and "Book Theif" Edwin Alcott. An unforgettable read that I couldn't put down I can't wait to read and review the next book in the series. FTC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    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 sev 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!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    It took me a month to slog through this muddle. The plot is horrendous, improbable, mention of Guardians and Templars ?????...complete with an anti Catholic barb at medieval monks and feminist ire....skip it, honestly..get a nice cozy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I give this book 4 1/2 stars. Another excellent book in this series. Never read a mystery that featured herbalists before (and a poison princess at that!). Great characters. Really would love to move to Storyton. My one complaint is her time frame at times. She packs a full day, plus some, for the main character and I find it hard to believe all is accomplished in a day. Could be just me though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/mu... Murder in the Secret Garden A Book Retreat Mystery, Book #3 By Ellery Adams ISBN#9780425265611 Author Website: Elleryadamsmysteries.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele Synopsis: There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of http://openbooksociety.com/article/mu... Murder in the Secret Garden A Book Retreat Mystery, Book #3 By Ellery Adams ISBN#9780425265611 Author Website: Elleryadamsmysteries.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele Synopsis: There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort—a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett’s classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder. With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the proper materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library… (Goodreads) Review: Ellery Adams once again pens a clever and exciting mystery in a dreamy book-centric setting. Murder in the Secret Garden is the outstanding third entry in the Book Retreat Mystery series, and it is a winner. Summer is in bloom, and resort manager Jane Steward is hosting a group of gardening enthusiasts, The Medieval Herbalists, and a wedding at Storyton Hall. To get things off on a festive note, the guests and entire community gather at the river to cheer on the Inaugural Rubber Duck Race, hosted by village newcomers and sporting goods store owners Phil and Sandi Hughes. Everything is fine until Jane discovers nature photographer Kira Grace, a member of the herbalist group, floating in the river. The other members of The Medieval Herbalists and the Hughes provide a rich pool of suspects, and Jane and her highly skilled employees are on the case. When another person dies and an invaluable book is stolen, the investigation becomes even more complicated. The Book Retreat Mystery series is unlike any other cozy series out there, and these books are among my favorites, deliciously entertaining comprised of part traditional mystery + part Indiana Jones + a heavy sprinkling of spy thriller thrown in. I would really like to visit Storyton Hall some day. With themed locations, including the Agatha Christie Tea Room, the Lewis Carroll Croquet Lawn, and the Ian Fleming Lounge, the resort’s strict no technology rule, and bucolic setting, I am ready to pack my bags. Of course, there is much more to Storyton Hall than meets the eye. Jane’s family legacy is to be the “Guardians” of a priceless hidden library. Masquerading as librarian, chauffeur, butler, and head of recreation, these resort employees are Fins, descendants of the Templers, each with distinct skills and pledged to protect the library. Jane is an intelligent, practical protagonist. The Fins and cook Mrs. Hubbard add variety and interest to the cast of characters. As a general rule, I do not care for children in my cozies, but Jane’s twins Hemi and Fitz are precocious and fun. Most of all, I am glad to see Jane’s mysterious love interest Edwin return to the tales. As with the other recurring characters, he is much more than the local café owner, and I am happy to learn more about him and look forward to where his and Jane’s relationship is headed. I am sure, no matter what, it will not be dull. The mystery surrounding Kira’s death is well crafted, but I think the second death of the local druid is really the heart of the story. As more clues are revealed and suspects eliminated, I waffled on the identity of the killer. The final reveal made the story that much more entertaining. Move Murder in the Secret Garden to the top of your to be read list. Highly recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peggy R

    I am a huge fan of this author so any new release, whatever the series, automatically goes on my buy list. This is the third book in a series that just keeps getting better and better. In my opinion, I thought this was the best book yet. This author has such a talent for creating idyllic settings, wonderful characters and cleverly crafted plots and mysteries. As a result, the reader is transported into her world from page one staying engaged until the book concludes. This story is no exception. T I am a huge fan of this author so any new release, whatever the series, automatically goes on my buy list. This is the third book in a series that just keeps getting better and better. In my opinion, I thought this was the best book yet. This author has such a talent for creating idyllic settings, wonderful characters and cleverly crafted plots and mysteries. As a result, the reader is transported into her world from page one staying engaged until the book concludes. This story is no exception. The characters are rich, dimensional and real in a very tangible way. Jane Steward is a wonderful protagonist. She is a strong, caring, and undaunted when solving a mystery. In this story, the Medieval Herbalists provide a strong supporting cast of secondary characters, with one of them having a possible future in later books. The return of Edwin Alcott allows us to get more of an understanding of his story and it's a nice twist. The romance developing between him and Jane progress at a nice pace and I am interested to see where the author goes from here. The mystery is cleverly crafted with two murders. As Jane and the Fins work to find the identity of the killer, they must determine whether the murders are related and how. This provides a nice twist in the plot that I enjoyed. There are plenty of suspects for each murder and the author weaves clues along with twists and turns around every corner. Both mysteries were wrapped up in a very satisfying way. I love this author and this book was one of my favorites so far this year. I mean, what self-respecting bibliophile wouldn't want to spend time at a book retreat at Storyton Hall. Add in wonderful writing, engaging characters and a clever mystery and this is all a recipe for great entertainment.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    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 gues 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)

    There is a group of plant lovers staying at Storyton Hall - The Medieval Herbalists and there is a wedding happening (the sister of one of the Herbalists wants to get married at the Hall and have a Medieval themed wedding), as well as this there is a new shop in the town - and for the grand opening they are doing a rubber duck race down the river! It all seems to be joyous, until Jane Steward discovers one of the Medieval Herbalists dead in the river - but she didn't drown, It is up to Jane and t There is a group of plant lovers staying at Storyton Hall - The Medieval Herbalists and there is a wedding happening (the sister of one of the Herbalists wants to get married at the Hall and have a Medieval themed wedding), as well as this there is a new shop in the town - and for the grand opening they are doing a rubber duck race down the river! It all seems to be joyous, until Jane Steward discovers one of the Medieval Herbalists dead in the river - but she didn't drown, It is up to Jane and the Fins to find out what happened so that an innocent person doesn't get accused of poison.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol Stanley-Snow

    RECEIVED FREE THROUGH GOODREADS FIRST READS. I love a good mystery and this is one!! Not my first foray to Storyton Hall, nor will it be my last! Ellery Adams is a great author and i so look forward to more great mysteries!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karrie

    Templars really? The central mystery was fine and I still enjoy the setting, but the romance angle I’m finding wanting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna Lee

    I love reading books about books. Cozy mysteries that feature a strong book theme are my absolute favourite. For this reason, and so many others, the Book Retreat Mysteries are one of my favourites. They have an interesting mystery to solve, but there is also the story behind the "Fins", the organization that protect and preserve the secret library within Storyton Hall. Both of these storylines entwine together to create a delightful read, with each book being even more memorable than the previo I love reading books about books. Cozy mysteries that feature a strong book theme are my absolute favourite. For this reason, and so many others, the Book Retreat Mysteries are one of my favourites. They have an interesting mystery to solve, but there is also the story behind the "Fins", the organization that protect and preserve the secret library within Storyton Hall. Both of these storylines entwine together to create a delightful read, with each book being even more memorable than the previous one. In Murder in the Secret Garden Jane Steward and her twin sons, Hem and Fitz, are caught up in the delight of the rubber duck race. The rubber duck race is the idea of the new Storyton Outfitters owners and the boys delight in being able to purchase a duck to race. Things turn deadly when one of the Medieval Herbalist turns up dead. I love the twists and turns of the mystery. Just when I thought I had it solved, it twisted around and left me clueless. Beyond the mystery, I absolutely love the concept of the Fins, the secret organization that protect the secret library. Add in the handsome, rogue Edwin Alcott, who is known as "The Thief" and you have a delightful story that will please even the pickiest reader! Being a twin mom to boys, another reason I love this series is the inclusion of Fitz and Hem. These delightful, albeit mischievous, boys really bring this story alive. With their aversion to clean baths and their love of literature, I always enjoy hearing what they're up to and what they are reading. This time they're immersed in Harry Potter, and I loved all the Harry Potter references, and how they adapt everyday chores into Harry Potter-isms. Murder in the Secret Garden is a delight to all bibliophiles, and if you're not reading this series yet you should be. Pick up book one, Murder in the Mystery Suite, and immerse yourself in this well-crafted book-themed cozy mystery series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ☯Emily Ginder

    This is the first book I have read by this author. It was a discard at the used book sale, but in great condition so I was reluctant to throw it away. It is a readable cozy with interesting characters and a murderer who flies under the radar. In the mix, there is a member of the Templar, lots of references to Harry Potter (which I have never read) and a general sense of unreality. However, there is something about the book that is completely ridiculous, so I could not give 5 stars and makes me re This is the first book I have read by this author. It was a discard at the used book sale, but in great condition so I was reluctant to throw it away. It is a readable cozy with interesting characters and a murderer who flies under the radar. In the mix, there is a member of the Templar, lots of references to Harry Potter (which I have never read) and a general sense of unreality. However, there is something about the book that is completely ridiculous, so I could not give 5 stars and makes me reluctant to read another book by this author. The protagonist, Jane, takes a critical piece of evidence from the crime scene before the police arrive. When the sheriff asks about it, she interrupts him by saying, "What's done is done." The sheriff allows her to keep the evidence. What policeman in his right mind would allow this! Later, when the neighboring county policeman asks why the piece of evidence was not with the sheriff's office, Jane says, "I took it. I knew it was wrong, but I think we have more important issues to address." So the policeman gets distracted and the subject gets dropped. WHAT! Jane should have led away in handcuffs!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Snap

    Storyton is a book-themed resort complete with numerous gardens. The Medieval Herbalists are visiting and they have a special interest in one of the gardens. Unique series. Wonderful characters. Great detail and history about books. Storyton, with it's secret passages, is much more than a resort. I'd love to visit! Books, books, books, tea and even a spoiled cat. Jane Steward takes her role as guardian of Storyton very seriously. She makes a very wise and courageous heroine. Well-paced. A little Storyton is a book-themed resort complete with numerous gardens. The Medieval Herbalists are visiting and they have a special interest in one of the gardens. Unique series. Wonderful characters. Great detail and history about books. Storyton, with it's secret passages, is much more than a resort. I'd love to visit! Books, books, books, tea and even a spoiled cat. Jane Steward takes her role as guardian of Storyton very seriously. She makes a very wise and courageous heroine. Well-paced. A little fantasy, poison and revenge. Becoming one of my favorite series and this one had a fun yellow duckie race.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    A Medieval Wedding, A Medieval Death I always enjoy taking time off everyday and visiting my with everyone at the Storyton Retreat. This time Medieval Herbists decend on the retreat for their conference. At the same time a wedding is planned by one of the members. The characters come life and a village not only gets new residents but also a new business much to the delight of all the outdoors people in the area. While the first annual duck race didn't go quite as planned the picture Ms Adams pain A Medieval Wedding, A Medieval Death I always enjoy taking time off everyday and visiting my with everyone at the Storyton Retreat. This time Medieval Herbists decend on the retreat for their conference. At the same time a wedding is planned by one of the members. The characters come life and a village not only gets new residents but also a new business much to the delight of all the outdoors people in the area. While the first annual duck race didn't go quite as planned the picture Ms Adams painted of the ducks and the choices that people made I could picture with clarity. I could also picture the medieval wedding food and all. Spoiler Alert! I would not have been eating the wedding cake. No frosting, no frosting flowers, no thank you. I have to admit I was stumped for the reason of the murders at first. But it might have been because of the interaction between Jane and Edwin. And me yelling at Jane. Then I remembered she's a character in a book. On to book number 4. People binge watch shows, I ’m binge reading this series.😊

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda Smatzny

    This time Jane Steward is hosting a group of Medieval Herbalists at Storyton Hall. Also Edwin Alcott has returned to the village and Jane is both angry at him and wants to see him. After the conclusion of a duck race, Jane discovers a body in the river. It is one of her guests and a member of the Medieval Herbalists. Jane and her employees race to find the killer before anyone else gets murdered. The group of people who are around Jane have such varied talents that they are a joy to read about. This time Jane Steward is hosting a group of Medieval Herbalists at Storyton Hall. Also Edwin Alcott has returned to the village and Jane is both angry at him and wants to see him. After the conclusion of a duck race, Jane discovers a body in the river. It is one of her guests and a member of the Medieval Herbalists. Jane and her employees race to find the killer before anyone else gets murdered. The group of people who are around Jane have such varied talents that they are a joy to read about. The book was a quick easy read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Enjoyable! Truthfully, I did not expect to enjoy this one as much as the first and the second books in the Book Retreat Mystery series. Many of the guests of the Storyton Hall are herbalists and botanists. Personally, I have very little interest in those topics. Still, the author wrote an intriguing mystery story with interesting characters and my interest was entertained in spite of my lack of interest in botany. I will definitely continue to read the books in the Book Retreat Mystery series!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nancy H

    Another good entry in the Book Retreat Mystery series, this one tells the story of Jane Steward and her staff solving several murders where poisonous plants are used as a possible murder weapon. There is a secret garden involved which houses many species of poisonous plants, so Jane has to figure out whether or not these plants were used for nefarious purposes. It is a good story with likable characters, a great setting, and a good plot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes Yardley

    I didn't care for it, but that is purely because this book wasn't my taste. I enjoy cozy mysteries, but struggled with my suspension of disbelief. Every person in this book had A Very Important Secret Job (no spoilers) and I found it more humorous than anything. But I very much enjoyed the discussion on plants and their many uses, which is what attracted me to the book in the first place. My dislike is personal preference only. I didn't care for it, but that is purely because this book wasn't my taste. I enjoy cozy mysteries, but struggled with my suspension of disbelief. Every person in this book had A Very Important Secret Job (no spoilers) and I found it more humorous than anything. But I very much enjoyed the discussion on plants and their many uses, which is what attracted me to the book in the first place. My dislike is personal preference only.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emilia

    There is a reason why I postpone reading new books by my favourite writers. With their books - it isn't simply reading anymore. It is a delicious feast, devoured, yet always leaving me hungry for more... :) I truly hope there WILL be more... One of my favourite series by one of my favourite writers. Mystery well plotted, thought through and executed, so to speak. Very colourful characters, and the secret still kept within the mystery... Plus a little blooming romance as a bonus. There is a reason why I postpone reading new books by my favourite writers. With their books - it isn't simply reading anymore. It is a delicious feast, devoured, yet always leaving me hungry for more... :) I truly hope there WILL be more... One of my favourite series by one of my favourite writers. Mystery well plotted, thought through and executed, so to speak. Very colourful characters, and the secret still kept within the mystery... Plus a little blooming romance as a bonus.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mele

    I'm loving this series. I'm loving this series.

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