By Danny Kemp
Reviewed by R. Murry
“Me, being the irrepressible confident soul that I am, I figuratively dived into the ruck and went searching for the ball.” is a quote of the Honourable Harry Paterson at the beginning of this character-driven suspense who-done-it novel. And it wasn't the butler who did it, as in many an English murder story alludes to. As you can see by the spelling of honorable, I had to use an Oxford dictionary to read this book. Just kidding, the story was well written that any non-Englishman could follow without trouble.
For those Americans, like myself, “Diving into the ruck,” is a rugby term meaning getting down and dirty, taking the ball and running with it, which Harry attempts to do in the investigation into the murder of his father. But he is sidetracked by his chauvinistic ways.
The other main character in this novel interwoven with killings, espionage, money laundering, family lineages, etc. is Judith Meadows. She is the unlikely government investigator brought in to solve the main crime, which turns into unraveling a book of offenses that crisscrosses international boundaries. So it may seem.
Who is the instigator of the crime? That is what Judy and H. are spending their brain power on trying to figure out. They become familiar with their communications to the point that H. thinks he is falling in love. Mr. Kemp’s dialog between these two leads one to believe that we have a love story in the making. His characters fit well together – their wit and sarcasm have you expecting a marriage in the making.
Things are more complicated in Mr. Kemp’s tales of the haves against the have-nots in politics, money, power, and greed. You have to be quick of mind to follow the plot and all the intriguing individuals that make up this journey through a world of decadence and corruption. The effort is well worth spent.
The novel ends with a surprise that not even Lord Harry Peterson or Judith Meadows would have conjured up. The enemy is closer than you think.
Superb writing and suspense building are the reason I give The Desolate Garden a Five Star rating. Purchase at:
Any of the thirty-nine internet sites listed here.