Adam a young art student is sent to complete a study for his thesis on a Renaissance garden. So far it seems almost prosaic! The garden completed in the mid 1500's is a normal Italian garden, statuary and all. A wife has died young and the garden was built by her husband in her memory.
However, there is more to the garden than meets the eye. Deciphering old papers Adam realizes that the garden was Docci's way of getting away with murder, with meticulously hidden clues which had escaped detection for over 400 years. Using Dante's Divine Comedy as a guide Adam deconstructs the murder, the reasons for the murder, the manner of the murder, but it still does not stop there.
Attached to the garden is the villa where the present occupants live. A seemingly elderly lady with a couple of children and a murky past. Unravelling all this takes Adam deeper and deeper into very troubled waters. What Adam does not ever realize is that he has been set up to be the "fall guy" and bring into the open what has been known for over 30 years.
A hugely interesting plot, murky family backgrounds (which I love) and it takes an "outsider" to sort it out. Very, very good read.