An anonymous letter sent to Larkwood's Prior accuses Peter Henderson, an academic celebrity renowned for daring ideas, of a grotesque murder: the calculated killing of Jenny, his disabled partner, believed by everyone to have died peacefully two years previously from a sudden attack of cancer. But for this letter there is no evidence, no suspect and no crime.
Stories of wartime France, present-day England, a Nazi criminal, and a dying woman intersect in this elegant literary thriller.
Father Anselm receives a visit from an old friend with a dangerous story to tell - the story of a woman betrayed by someone close to her...someone still unknown. As a young woman, Roza Mojeska was part of an underground resistance group in Communist Poland. But after her arrest, a Stasi officer makes her a devil's bargain - and a terrible choice is made. Now, 50 years later, Anselm is called upon to investigate both Roza's story and a mystery dating back to the early 1980s.
"Father Anselm is Superfluous Character"
All you have to do is find out why Harry is prepared to blame an innocent man. That's the thread. Follow it. You'll reach the Silent Ones. This is your way - our way - of making a difference. With this challenge from Father Edmund Littlemore, Anselm returns to the Old Bailey to fight the most difficult and troubling case of his life. The man in the dock is Littlemore himself. He is charged with grave offences against Harry Brandwell, who, it seems, is both a victim and a liar.
Elizabeth Glendinning QC has lost faith in the legal system to which she has given her life. In an attempt to restore it, she has secretly devised a scheme to bring a guilty man back to court -- Graham Riley, whom she had successfully defended some ten years previously. As part of an elaborate contingency plan, Elizabeth leaves the unsuspecting Anselm with a key to a safety deposit box, to be opened in the event of her death. Three weeks later she is found dead in the East End of London.
What should you do if the world has turned against you? When Father Anselm is asked this question by an old man at Larkwood Priory, his response is to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined. For that evening the old man returns, demanding the protection of the church. His name is Eduard Schwermann and he is wanted by the police as a suspected war criminal.
A man arrives at Larkwood Monastery claiming sanctuary. Edward Schwermann is accused of Nazi war crimes: the chances are he's stained with blood, but politics demand that Larkwood shelter him. And Schwermann has intimated that the Church offered him sanctuary once before, during the war. It is this potentially embarrassing claim which brings Father Anselm onto centre stage.
In his first novel, The Sixth Lamentation, William Brodrick introduced Father Anslem, the barrister turned monk who found himself plunged into the tangled history of occupied Paris. Now, in The Gardens of the Dead, Father Anslem is brought back to his own past at the Bar, and someone else's secrets. Elizabeth Glendinning QC has lost faith in the legal system to which she has given her life.