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...
Amanda Quick is one of those authors you feel as though you wait ages for despite the fact she publishes one to two books a year! Her books are always a treat and Garden of Lies, though not a perfect rating from me, is a very solid 4 boxes of love.
Amanda normally writes continuations in the many series she has going - not just as author Amanda Quick but also as author Jayne Anne Krentz. The Krentz books are futuristic but I always prefer the Quick series because they are historical fiction with a wee bit of a paranormal twist. This novel, set aside from all series, is historical but it does not have her usual paranormal or heightened senses flavor. I'm glad to say it does not suffer at all for the lack of that usual element.
I loved how this story began with our character in a tomb when the walls cave in. He was able to find some shelter but when all was said and done, he knew the ship had to leave without him and even if he could find a way out, the island was uninhabited and consisted of a trees on a volcano. Amanda usually writes men who are very logical, methodical and see themselves as lacking emotion. True to form, our tomb guy decides perhaps just one lantern lit would be a better idea at this point and he goes further into the tomb to try and find a way out. When he sees sunlight he's relieved and then hears something on the island which indicates he his not alone. The book then catapults us a year and a half into the future where he is cataloging antiques to a secretary. It's a tantalizing mystery to us for a while how he survived and got off the island to end up in London, England.
Another thing I admire about this author is how she writes her murder mysteries. They are, for lack of a better term, clean cut. By that I mean they do not bother me as some murder mysteries might. It could be in part to how straight forward the motive is - greed, jealousy - but there is a set pattern she follows for writing these and after years of books we, as readers, feel safe in her pattern. Here's a well known secret for you - the good guys win! And you're always happy for them. You always genuinely like the characters and you always feel good when the book is done that everything turned out as you hoped it would.
When you think about it, that's the same reason we use the same restaurants, the same mall, watch the same TV shows - each experience is different but we know what we're getting ahead of time and like Amanda Quick's writing, it's all good.