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The Poyson Garden (Elizabeth I Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Ms Karen Harper
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £4.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

11 Jan 2000 Elizabeth I Mysteries
The letter came in secret, with a pearl eardrop from an aunt long thought dead, resurrecting the forbidden past. Banished by her spiteful half sister, Queen Mary, to Hatfield House in the English countryside, twenty-five-year-old Princess Elizabeth cannot refuse the summons. The Boleyns are in grave danger. And Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, is marked for death by a master poisoner whose reign of terror may have royal sanction.

With her few loyal retainers, Elizabeth escapes to Kent. Here, in her ancestral Hever Castle, now held by the Queen's loyalists, Elizabeth seeks to unravel the plot against her. And here, in the embrace of intrigue and betrayal, the princess must find a brilliant, powerfully connected killer--before the killer finds her....

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (11 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440225922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440225928
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 11.1 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 461,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

Karen Harper talks about her new historical mystery series
I have long studied and loved Queen Elizabeth I. She and the Tudors make the feuding Windsors look like the Brady bunch. And the Virgin Queen was truly a modern woman in so many ways, however bizarre some of the culture and customs of her day.

So writing this series intrigued me for two reasons: I love a good mystery and I love great character studies Also, I've visited England many times and am the most rabid Anglophile. So while I write these books, I'm enjoying being mentally in Merrie Olde England, which was not so merry after all.

THE POYSON GARDEN occurs in the two months leading up to Elizabeth's becoming queen. She had fought long and hard even to stay alive, and the master poisoner has the queen at the top of a Boleyn blood-ties hit list. The book sweeps from castle to manor in the English countrysdie--a great escape.

I note that there are two new movies on Her Majesty, so fascination in her never ceases. This is the premier of a new series, which I hope will be as long-lived as Good Queen Bess herself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Queen Mary loathes her half-sister Princess Elizabeth, blaming the daughter for the alleged sins of the mother having replaced her own mother at Henry's side. Though Mary cannot behead the popular Princess, she can and does exile Elizabeth.
Elizabeth soon realizes that someone is methodically eliminating her Bolyn relatives. As she begins to uncover a dastardly plot to commit genocide against anyone remotely related to the Bolyns, Elizabeth learns that her aunt, thought dead, is
alive, but being poisoned. Worse yet for the young royal is an assailant is stalking her too. With few people she can trust with her life, Elizabeth starts tracing the threads back to their source, praying that her half-sister is not the ultimate culprit.
THE POYSON GARDEN is a brilliant early Tudor historical novel that quickly captures the minds and souls of the audience. The fast-paced story line strongly depicts the intrigue and peril of being a member of the royal family. The plot includes a glimpse at historical personage and a well-developed who-done-it. What really makes this novel a classy read is the passion Karen Harper obviously has for the era which beautifully rises from the superb prose. Ms. Harper strikes a chord with fiction and non-fiction Elizabethan buffs with this winner.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Poyson Garden 24 Feb 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first book in the Elizabeth 1 mysteries is worth a read - it doesn't disappoint! Reading it will make you want to read the rest of the books in the series.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring 30 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This story is set in the time period before Elizabeth is queen. Her sister, Mary, hates her and someone is poisoning Elizabeth's relatives. It took me about a month to read it simply because I would fall asleep everytime I picked it up.
While Elizabethan history is always interesting, I thought this book was rather slow. The idea for the story was great, but the plot trudged along sluggishly.
The supporting characters weren't at all interesting. Jinks, Ned Topside and Meg were too one-dimensional. The reader doesn't get to know them very well. I didn't really care about them like I probably should have. Having Elizabeth run around in boys' outfits was almost silly.
There were a few suspenseful moments, but for the most part it was dull. I didn't realy care if she found who was killer was or not. Overall, the book was mildly interesting.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Elizabethian Mystery.. 23 Mar 1999
By A Customer
I read it in one day. Highly recommend!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - look forward to the next volumes! 26 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
As a student of Tudor and Elizabethan History and a life-long admirer of Good Queen Bess, I am always nervous of new novels or TV/Film adaptations about Elzabeth. A case in point is the recent "Elizabeth" film starring Cate Blanchett. Why does anyone have to change the basic facts or to take Elizabeth and her character out of context and create a salacious storyline when her own true life and story is exciting and thrilling enough as it is! As a result I was careful when reading THE POYSON GARDEN, but I was exceptionally pleased with the story and book.
The story runs quickly without the risk of losing the reader on the way. Elizabeth is shown as the quick tempered, vain woman she was, yet the reason for this temper is shown - the stress of being under suspicion (let alone the stress of being possibly murdered!). However, she is also shown as a caring person in her treatment and absolute trust of Meg when everyone else distrusts the girl. The new characters of Meg, Jenks and Ned give a new dimension to Elizabeth - that she is prepared to walk in any social circle and to give her loyalty to any who are loyal to her - she was no snob! I assume that the real background of Meg will be revealed in subsequent books and that we see more of all the characters with additions of others who were important in Elizabeth's life such as Robert Dudley and his sister Mary (who actually saved Elizabeth's life at the cost of her own beauty!)
The mystery itself is excellently set from Hatfield to Hever and Leeds. It would have been interesting to note in the book that Hever was previously owned by the Anne of Cleves until her death in 1558! Elizabeth actually visited her quite often and so would have known the house very well. She was taught by Anne all the housewifely skills such as cooking etc that a gentlewoman would require but not a Queen - this gave rise to a speech later in her life that if she had been turned out of her kingdom in her petticoat she could have made a good living!
Thankyou also for referring to Anne Boleyn in pleasant terms. She certainly did not commit any of the crimes that Henry VIII (that old bluebeard) had her charged with. Queen Anne's life and tragic murder was vindicated by her daughter's golden reign!
What I liked most of all was when fact had been ignored or manipulated (like the ownership of Hever), the change was believable and kept in context of the Tudor period.
Karen Harper also brilliantly and believably used a connection with Anne Boleyn as the poisoner - a relative of the Ormondes. Anne Boleyn was to marry James Butler, but Henry VIII stopped that match without Anne and James ever knowing why the match had been prevented. Anne didn't want to marry Butler, and eventually a match seemed to be arranged between Harry Percy and Anne - till that too was prevented again on Henry VIII's orders.
I would say to Karen Harper the authoress, Thank you very much for such an excellent book using Elizabeth as the heroine, but without necessarily rewriting her story yet again. I look forward to the subsequent books. Well done!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Tudor, Private Investigator 21 April 2004
By Gypsi Phillips Bates - Published on Amazon.com
Harper takes the Princess Elizabeth out of the sidelines and presents her as the protagonist of this mystery. Elizabeth discovers a plot to poison her and all her Boylen relatives and attempts to find the person behind it.
On one hand, it was a highly improbable premise, thinking that Elizabeth Tudor would be able to slip out from under the eyes of the "guardians" appointed by Queen Mary. But, on the other hand, history has shown that Elizabeth was not a woman to be stopped by mere conventions and potential danger. As we all know, "well behaved women rarely make history" and make history she did!
It was a lively mystery, well written and well described, with a solid plot. I felt a real affinity for this version of Elizabeth and for her loyal band of friends. It was not as entertaining as the Marston mystery recently read, but it was still a good read and I'm sure I'll read more of Harper's mysteries.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Queen To Die For! 8 Jun 2000
By Jo Manning - Published on Amazon.com
And her followers are prepared to do just that... Karen Harper has successfully evoked Bloody Mary's England on the eve of Elizabeth I's ascent to the throne. She's created a human, believable young woman, terrified of plots against her royal person, trusting her loyal retainers despite warnings that no one is to be trusted, and truly regal, withal. The historicals details are many and fascinating and this is a terrific mystery, too! The identity of the poisoner, and the poisoner's ties to Queen Mary, is keep in abeyance to the very end; the suspense is excellent. 'Tis often said that a certain book is "hard to put down"---in this case, it's absolutely true. I look forward to Harper's next Elizabeth I adventure, The Tidal Poole.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good As I Had Hoped 17 May 2001
By P. Bigelow - Published on Amazon.com
This debut is set in 1558 and features Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, of England. Her sister, Mary, sits on the throne and, fearing an uprising in Elizabeth's favor, has exiled Elizabeth from her court. Elizabeth lives in the countryside under the watchful eyes of Sir Thomas Pope. Elizabeth receives a missive from her Aunt Mary Boleyn begging her to visit. Elizabeth knows that Sir Thomas will refuse the visit so she sneaks out and makes her way to her Aunt Mary. What she discovers at Aunt Mary's is more than just an aunt she had been told had died years earlier. She discovers a plot to eliminate the remaining Boleyns and their supporters. She must discover who is behind the plot and why before she becomes a victim.
As in any fictional story, the reader is asked to suspend belief for a brief period in order to enjoy the story. However, Ms. Harper not only asks her readers to suspend belief, but to disregard any knowledge of Tudor history as well. While it may have been feasible for Elizabeth to escape the ever-vigilant Sir Thomas once for a few hours, the reader is asked to believe that Elizabeth made three or four escapes - two of which lasted not for a few hours, but for a few days.
Assuming the reader can get beyond Elizabeth being absent from Sir Thomas' care for a couple of days while she dashes across the countryside dressed as a boy, the story is a good read. Ms. Harper is particularly successful at showing Elizabeth's dilemma of naturally wanting to act as a future queen while at the same time aware that her every action is reported to Queen Mary and too queenly action on Elizabeth's part will not be greeted as good news by Queen Mary.
For those readers who pay attention to such things, Ms. Harper is particularly enamored of having Elizabeth's stomach doing somersaults on every other page. It got tiresome after the third or fourth time of Elizabeth, when confronted by even the merest danger, has her stomach clench, somersault, etc. It will be a wonder if she doesn't develop ulcers in the next entry in this series.
Ms. Harper has chosen a particularly difficult character, Elizabeth, as her protagonist. All her life Elizabeth was under close scrutiny, first as Princess and then as Queen. It will be interesting to see how Ms. Harper expects to write a series with Queen Elizabeth as sleuth.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not a great mystery 1 Mar 2002
By Ladyslott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love books about Elizabeth I, King Henry and the whole Tudor period. I thought the premise of this book was interesting, and a different twist on both the mystery genre, and Elizabeth. For the most part the book was interesting, filled with bits and pieces of historical information. Where the story fell flat for me was the mystery. I found it boring. The protagonist wasn't ayone we get to know during the course of the book, and I like mysteries where there are some surprises and interesting twists. The villain was evil enough, but it was more like, oh so that's the murderer. No slap to the head saying Oh wow, that's the murderer, why didn't I see that coming!! And then you start to piece the clues together. I suppose that this is a cozy mystery, I like a little more suspense. The best parts of the book were the interactions of Elizabeth and her rather interesting mix of "friends". I did enjoy the end, when Elizabeth learns she is the Queen, though, it was a nice touch.
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