The Desolate Garden is a twisting murder mystery centred on a secret Government bank known as Annie’s, which is situated in Queen Anne’s Gate, Westminster. The bank has been managed, since its inauguration in the fourteenth century, by one family; the Earls of Harrogate and always by the youngest son born into that family. 

Shortly after taking over the bank, in 2007, Lord Elliot Paterson starts to ‘modernise’ its affairs leading to the discovery, in a hidden 1936 ledger, of an address in Leningrad, Russia. As he digs deeper he finds some unexplained initials, and an unaccountable missing fortune. He suspects that his deceased grandfather, Lord Maudlin Paterson, has been funding a Russian spy and the family will be disgraced.

Six months after telephoning his estranged eldest son Harry, and telling of his suspicions, he is found murdered in his London home, in Eton Square.

Harry, already working for the Secret Intelligence Services, is recalled from the family home, the grand Harrogate Hall, to London to meet with the head of that mysterious department.

He stays at The Duke’s Hotel St James’s and on returning there, from that prearranged engagement, seemingly meets by ‘accident,’ an attractive woman; Judith Meadows.

“Tell me a joke,” she says, enticing him from the lobby into the Martini Bar. “I’ve had a really shitty day and need cheering up,” she adds.

She plays him until he believes that his luck is in, and then she destroys his hopes of bliss. Calling him chauvinistic, she discloses that she works for The Home Office and is to be his case officer, in trying to unravel the circumstances of Elliot’s death.

As the story unfolds, the rubber band relationship between the two is paramount to the tale. Harry knowing more than he is willing to reveal and Judith having more knowledge of his family than he knows!  

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© Daniel Kemp

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