Excellent Combination of Period Mystery and Contemporary Novel

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Elizabeth Ironside has written a beautiful and intelligent mystery, Death in the Garden.  The story goes back and forth between modern England and England between the Wars.  An unpleasant MP is discovered dead in the garden of his country estate during a house party weekend of old friends.  Most of the guests at the house party have an artistic or academic bent and also share grim experiences from World War I and its aftermath.  Their personal stories are complex and presented in overlapping layers.  That story along would support a novel.

Happily, Ironside also provides a complicated, yet sympathetic modern story, and the book goes back and forth between the two eras and their plots in an elegant, seamless manner.   In the modern story, Helena, an overworked London lawyer, inherits the country estate upon the death of an elderly aunt, who was the hostess of the house party and the wife of the dead MP.   Upon learning that her aunt had a hidden and scandalous past involving an unsolved murder, Helena tries to unravel what happened, even as she deals with complications in her own life.

I highly recommend this elegant mystery because of its plot, the wonderful period settings and its cast of troubled, yet sympathetic characters.

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