Once arrested for attempted murder in England, Danny Kemp decided that a career in writing was for him. Mr. Kemp’s first novel, “The Desolate Garden” was quickly picked up and is currently being made into a movie. Not so different to Nicholas Sparks.
Outside the field of “run-ins” with the law, Kemp draws on decades of experience. Encompassing the Metropolitan Police, the tenancy of three English Public Houses, and the Licensed Taxi Trade in London. Not to mention being a radio voice-over artist in several radio plays, where he honed his sense of story and pacing. – Danny Kemp
The Desolate Garden is the story of a secret Royal and Ancient Government Bank that was established in the fourteenth century. It is located in London, England, near what would become Queen Anne’s Gate just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. Since its inauguration, only one family has ruled over the Bank; the Paterson’s, Earls of Harrogate the hereditary “Lords of the Realm”.
Down through centuries, the Bank’s capital has grown in many surreptitious ways. Upon the election of a Socialist Government in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, Lord Maudlin Paterson, the Bank’s chief executive officer, senses the winds of change. He offers the bank’s services exclusively to the Secret Intelligence Services, a move that ensures the Bank will endure the forces of a Britain plummeting quickly into Socialism.
It is now the year 2003. Lord Elliot Paterson takes over the custodianship of the Bank and begins the task of converting the Bank’s hand-written ledgers into digital form. While doing so, he discovers a hidden ledger dated 1936, wherein a vast quantity of money has been erased from the accounts.
He digs deeper into the mystery and comes across some initials and an address in Leningrad, a major port in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Lord Elliot suspects that his grandfather, Lord Maudlin, was funding a Russian spy, however, he stays silent until 2012. In his waning days, he telephones his eldest son, Harry, to pass on the fears behind his suspicions. The novel opens with Lord Elliot’s murder and a summons to London of one Lord Harry Paterson. A single, forty-year-old dandy living on the Harrogate estate. He has long since been a recruit in the secret world after his service in the Army and must now face his family’s true inheritance.
Lord Harry meets Judith Meadows in the world-famous Martini bar at Duke’s Hotel. She is an alluring woman, but slight of build. Meadows plays him for the rake that he is before destroying his hopes of bliss. She discloses that she works for the Home Office and is the case officer assigned to unravel the mysterious death of Lord Elliot.
As the story unfolds, the relationship between the two, both sexually and intellectually, ricochets back and forth like a train driven by a teenager, stuck in first gear. Lord Harry knows more than he is willing to reveal, and Meadows knows more about his family than Lord Harry does.
The Desolate Garden is especially for readers who like a story largely rendered through dialog, which is the reason that it has been easily adapted into a movie. This political thriller resonates with charm, deft touches of satire, and romantic entanglement where the reader is flirted with to turn the page. A relatively short novel, The Desolate Garden makes a “titillating” weekend read.
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C. Stene Ducksworth