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Some people will do anything for beauty or fame “FANTASTIC. If I did not know most of the main players I would have thought the author had a vivid and twisted imagination..”—Paul Martin Brown, author of Wild Orchids of Florida “A fascinating true story of obsession, greed, and lust for the unobtainable. Reminds me a great deal of The Maltese Falcon. This rare flower is defin Some people will do anything for beauty or fame “FANTASTIC. If I did not know most of the main players I would have thought the author had a vivid and twisted imagination..”—Paul Martin Brown, author of Wild Orchids of Florida “A fascinating true story of obsession, greed, and lust for the unobtainable. Reminds me a great deal of The Maltese Falcon. This rare flower is definitely the stuff that dreams are made of.”—Ace Atkins, author of Devil's Garden and Infamous “Pittman has captured the extreme competition, unique characters, and general insanity that often typify the orchid world. The Scent of Scandal exemplifies how passion and profit can overrule common sense and the law.”—Scott Steward, former associate editor, North American Native Orchid Journal Every year more than 100,000 people visit Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in large part to see its vast orchid collection, one of the most magnificent in the world. But the most famous orchid in Selby’s history—the one hailed as the most significant find in a century—isn't on display. It's the one that led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, and headlines around the country.           Discovered in Peru in 2002, the Phragmipedium kovachii quickly became the most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market and otherwise rational people bent rules and broke laws in their obsessive quest to possess it.           Award-winning journalist Craig Pittman covered this fascinating story, as it happened, for the St. Petersburg Times, Florida’s largest newspaper. In this enthralling account, he unravels the tangled web of smugglers, scientists, and federal investigators to reveal who the real criminals were in this sordid affair. He also shines a spotlight on flaws in the international treaties governing trade in endangered wildlife—treaties that often protect individual plants and animals in shipping but do little to halt the destruction of whole colonies in the wild.           With candid interviews from nearly everyone involved in the case, The Scent of Scandal unspools like a riveting mystery novel, stranger than anything in Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief or the film Adaptation. Pittman shows how some people can become so obsessed—with beauty, with profit, with fame, with the desire to own a rare flower—that even the possibility of going to prison will not deter their risking everything. Craig Pittman writes about environmental issues for the St. Petersburg Times. He is the coauthor of Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss and author of Manatee Insanity: Inside the War over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species.  


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Some people will do anything for beauty or fame “FANTASTIC. If I did not know most of the main players I would have thought the author had a vivid and twisted imagination..”—Paul Martin Brown, author of Wild Orchids of Florida “A fascinating true story of obsession, greed, and lust for the unobtainable. Reminds me a great deal of The Maltese Falcon. This rare flower is defin Some people will do anything for beauty or fame “FANTASTIC. If I did not know most of the main players I would have thought the author had a vivid and twisted imagination..”—Paul Martin Brown, author of Wild Orchids of Florida “A fascinating true story of obsession, greed, and lust for the unobtainable. Reminds me a great deal of The Maltese Falcon. This rare flower is definitely the stuff that dreams are made of.”—Ace Atkins, author of Devil's Garden and Infamous “Pittman has captured the extreme competition, unique characters, and general insanity that often typify the orchid world. The Scent of Scandal exemplifies how passion and profit can overrule common sense and the law.”—Scott Steward, former associate editor, North American Native Orchid Journal Every year more than 100,000 people visit Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in large part to see its vast orchid collection, one of the most magnificent in the world. But the most famous orchid in Selby’s history—the one hailed as the most significant find in a century—isn't on display. It's the one that led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, and headlines around the country.           Discovered in Peru in 2002, the Phragmipedium kovachii quickly became the most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market and otherwise rational people bent rules and broke laws in their obsessive quest to possess it.           Award-winning journalist Craig Pittman covered this fascinating story, as it happened, for the St. Petersburg Times, Florida’s largest newspaper. In this enthralling account, he unravels the tangled web of smugglers, scientists, and federal investigators to reveal who the real criminals were in this sordid affair. He also shines a spotlight on flaws in the international treaties governing trade in endangered wildlife—treaties that often protect individual plants and animals in shipping but do little to halt the destruction of whole colonies in the wild.           With candid interviews from nearly everyone involved in the case, The Scent of Scandal unspools like a riveting mystery novel, stranger than anything in Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief or the film Adaptation. Pittman shows how some people can become so obsessed—with beauty, with profit, with fame, with the desire to own a rare flower—that even the possibility of going to prison will not deter their risking everything. Craig Pittman writes about environmental issues for the St. Petersburg Times. He is the coauthor of Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss and author of Manatee Insanity: Inside the War over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species.  

30 review for The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deidre

    What is it about orchids that provokes such obsession? This book details the egos, eccentricities and excesses that dominate the world of rare orchids. Verging on some of the same territory as The Orchid Thief, this book takes a less romanticized view of the people involved in orchid research. Pittman details the situation with a reporter's precision, juggling a large cast of eccentric characters. The story told is one that played out in the newspapers and media but what remains is a sense of sa What is it about orchids that provokes such obsession? This book details the egos, eccentricities and excesses that dominate the world of rare orchids. Verging on some of the same territory as The Orchid Thief, this book takes a less romanticized view of the people involved in orchid research. Pittman details the situation with a reporter's precision, juggling a large cast of eccentric characters. The story told is one that played out in the newspapers and media but what remains is a sense of sadness about the madness and destruction engendered by one rare raspberry-colored flower. Full review over on Yahoo.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Barnett

    Pittman's best book yet and my favorite Florida book in some time. Fuses investigative reporting and true-crime writing to create the pace and tension of a great detective novel. Pittman's best book yet and my favorite Florida book in some time. Fuses investigative reporting and true-crime writing to create the pace and tension of a great detective novel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Olga Mirkina

    I like orchids, so I read it. Learned a lot about flowers, the book is not that great however

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry Perez

    As a long-time south Florida naturalist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to impress upon others the importance of taxonomy. Avoiding the confusion often associated with common names is an obvious advantage, but scientific nomenclature can often also provide a helpful mnemonic for identification, can help identify close ties among species, and—most interestingly—often provides a gateway to truly great stories. Craig Pittman does a masterful job of proving the latter point in the pages of his late As a long-time south Florida naturalist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to impress upon others the importance of taxonomy. Avoiding the confusion often associated with common names is an obvious advantage, but scientific nomenclature can often also provide a helpful mnemonic for identification, can help identify close ties among species, and—most interestingly—often provides a gateway to truly great stories. Craig Pittman does a masterful job of proving the latter point in the pages of his latest offering, The Scent of Scandal. Through chapter after chapter, Pittman introduces his readers to the obsessive and often unscrupulous world of orchid collecting. In recounting the discovery and illegal importation of a particularly intoxicating—and potentially lucrative—new species of slipper orchid, Pittman also introduces a cadre of hobbyists, collectors, smugglers, and scientists to whom it ultimately brings bad fortune. And along the way, the book provides an exploration of the motivations and machinations that drive scientific nomenclature. This book was recently awarded the Florida Book Award Silver Medal in Non Fiction—and with good reason. Pittman’s crisp writing and fluid transitions keep the story moving at a proper pace. This otherwise complex tale reads like a work of well-crafted fiction. Were it not for its meticulous citation, you would swear this story came from Pittman’s imagination alone! If I had to give this book a name, it might be something like Storeus spectacularis var. pittmanii…

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim McClellan

    You really can't make this stuff up. And if you did, nobody would believe you anyway. Can orchids really make people nuts? The answer, as Craig explains, is a very definite yes! Craig leads you down a path of international intrigue and deception, only to occasionally yank you back into the reality that all of it is over flowers -- not drugs or jewels or espionage. Byzantine regulations, corrupt officials, arrogant collectors and (over)zealous prosecutors all play a role in creating the bizarre un You really can't make this stuff up. And if you did, nobody would believe you anyway. Can orchids really make people nuts? The answer, as Craig explains, is a very definite yes! Craig leads you down a path of international intrigue and deception, only to occasionally yank you back into the reality that all of it is over flowers -- not drugs or jewels or espionage. Byzantine regulations, corrupt officials, arrogant collectors and (over)zealous prosecutors all play a role in creating the bizarre universe in which this insanity is possible. By the time you're done reading, you wonder if anyone, including the US government personnel, cares about anything other than their own narrow interests. In writing such a carefully researched piece, Craig himself may have done more for the future of rare orchids than any of his subjects.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I review The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid Pittman portrays Kovach, the Adventurer, Selby's staff and others as backstabbers who out of greed, jealousy, fear or egotism take sides and turn against each other. Two of the principals even planned to do reality TV shows about orchids. There's also courtroom drama and a mysterious death that may have been suicide, accident or murder. What more could you ask for? Go to my blog: Have Words Will Write ‘Em and then I review The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid Pittman portrays Kovach, the Adventurer, Selby's staff and others as backstabbers who out of greed, jealousy, fear or egotism take sides and turn against each other. Two of the principals even planned to do reality TV shows about orchids. There's also courtroom drama and a mysterious death that may have been suicide, accident or murder. What more could you ask for? Go to my blog: Have Words Will Write ‘Em and then to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. --Joe

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Koester

    The first half of this book is fascinating, explaining the crazy world of orchid collecting, and telling about all of the main players in this orchid scandal. However, half way through is where I was feeling "okay, let's wrap it up already and give me some bullet points of how things played out", but there was still half a book left!! I did some serious skimming at that point. It was probably so incredibly detailed because it was part of a series about Florida history published by a university p The first half of this book is fascinating, explaining the crazy world of orchid collecting, and telling about all of the main players in this orchid scandal. However, half way through is where I was feeling "okay, let's wrap it up already and give me some bullet points of how things played out", but there was still half a book left!! I did some serious skimming at that point. It was probably so incredibly detailed because it was part of a series about Florida history published by a university press in Florida.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne Leon

    Just finished "Scent..." - holy smokes, what a cast of characters!! Only in real life--and especially in my home state of Florida-- can it get that crazy... KUDOS!! A larger-than-life look into the world of orchid lovers, collectors, and smugglers. Craig Pittman guides you through a maze of international intrigue, jealousy, greed, and the magnificent obsession of acquiring elusive and rare orchids. This story begs for the big screen! Just finished "Scent..." - holy smokes, what a cast of characters!! Only in real life--and especially in my home state of Florida-- can it get that crazy... KUDOS!! A larger-than-life look into the world of orchid lovers, collectors, and smugglers. Craig Pittman guides you through a maze of international intrigue, jealousy, greed, and the magnificent obsession of acquiring elusive and rare orchids. This story begs for the big screen!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Written by a newspaper reporter and reads like an extended news article. Interesting subject, learned a lot about orchids, import rules, smuggling.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Botany can be exciting! I loved Craig's tale of skulduggery in the orchid world. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Botany can be exciting! I loved Craig's tale of skulduggery in the orchid world. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Grrlscientist

    You can see them in windows of houses whilst driving along the road. Go to a florist or to a gardening store and there they are, and botanical gardens are positively lousy with them. I’m talking about orchids — it seems like everyone likes orchids. But some people like them a little too much. It’s these people who are the focus of Craig Pittman’s recent book, The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid [University Press of Florida; 2012]. Reading this book is like You can see them in windows of houses whilst driving along the road. Go to a florist or to a gardening store and there they are, and botanical gardens are positively lousy with them. I’m talking about orchids — it seems like everyone likes orchids. But some people like them a little too much. It’s these people who are the focus of Craig Pittman’s recent book, The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid [University Press of Florida; 2012]. Reading this book is like watching a car wreck in slow-motion: you know what’s going to happen but you can’t look away. Except in this case, you rather want to watch, just to make sure everyone receives some form of retribution for their many misdeeds, almost as if the car is full of our current crop of politicians. But the characters in this book aren’t career politicians, they’re scientists and orchid fanciers, although they ape politicians with astonishing ease and finesse. And this isn’t a story about politics. Well, not exactly. This is a story about a tropical flower and the curious cast of people who are attracted to it, who are obsessed by it and who will do anything to possess it regardless of the cost. The flower is a rare ladyslipper orchid, unknown to science, that had been purchased by an amateur orchid collector at a small roadside stand in Moyobamba, Peru in 2002. Easily confused with some of its close relatives, this orchid is hard to miss when it blooms; its intense fuschia-coloured flower is as big as a man’s hand. Michael Kovach was the American orchid collector who wanted to share this lovely plant with the world — but only after he ensured his immortality by having this new species named for himself. This is where the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens enters the picture. Located in Sarasota, Florida, this is one of the world’s foremost botanical gardens dedicated to collecting and researching epiphytes — plants that live on other plants. Specialising in orchids and bromeliads, Selby Gardens has expert taxonomists on staff who describe species that are new to science. To get this dramatic plant to Florida, Kovach smuggled it out of Peru in the company of several hundred very similar-looking orchid species so officials wouldn’t notice it. A few hours after returning home, Kovach walked into the Selby gardens, plant in-hand to show it off to the scientists there. As he expected, as soon as they saw the new orchid, the Selby botanists were dazzled, and they readily agreed to formally describe the plant and name it for Kovach. Perhaps a bit too readily, since no one at Selby bothered to examine the papers and certificates that are supposed to accompany legally exported and imported species. Oops. The ensuing shitstorm is detailed in this book. Along the way, the reader meets an unwieldy cast of unscrupulous and unlikeable characters, most of whom had their own petty scores to settle and personal axes to grind. Like a formally prepared botanical specimen affixed to cardboard, the reader is transfixed as individual avarice and profiteering predictably collide with international laws governing trade in endangered species. Astonishingly, throughout this entire sordid affair, Kovach remained estranged from the truth — so much so that it’s impossible to untangle his web of deceit to ascertain whether he believed his own kaleidoscope of fabrications. But it is obvious that his motives extended beyond merely contributing to scientific knowledge. Since this rare “slipper” orchid was fetching as much as $10,000 on the black market, it would appear that Kovach was harbouring some grandiose get-rich schemes. But he was hardly unique in that respect, since the same was true for nearly everyone who first set eyes on the spectacular blossom. The only likeable character was the orchid. Yet throughout the entire book, that spectacular orchid remains aloof and enigmatic, the focal point for everyone’s fantasies and desires. It was almost as if humans had been transformed into epiphytes themselves. By the end of the book, I almost felt sorry for the orchid because obsessive human greed transmutes it into a sort of floral Maltese Falcon. As a scientist and plant lover myself, I was disappointed that the author, an investigative journalist who covered this story for the St. Petersburg Times, didn’t provide many details about the natural history of this species or about orchids in general, neither did he provide information about captive orchid propagation or hybridisation nor even an overview about the destruction of natural resources due to poaching. Instead, the book focuses on what happens when greed, betrayal and obsession collide with national and international laws designed to protect natural resources from over-exploitation. But if you love orchids or true-crime stories, this fast-paced mystery will certainly appeal to you. NOTE: Originally published at The Guardian on 27 August 2012.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dyan

    I found this pretty boring, to be honest; though I've read a lot about orchids recently and that may be partly why. Certainly I think there are "better" books about orchids out there. This one read like a soap opera, with frequent cliffhangers and "shock" twists. It's meant to be humorous but mostly I just found it annoying. Plus, Pittman's writing style could do with a little... Narrative flair, I guess you could say. A lot of it read like: "This happened. And then this happened. And then this. I found this pretty boring, to be honest; though I've read a lot about orchids recently and that may be partly why. Certainly I think there are "better" books about orchids out there. This one read like a soap opera, with frequent cliffhangers and "shock" twists. It's meant to be humorous but mostly I just found it annoying. Plus, Pittman's writing style could do with a little... Narrative flair, I guess you could say. A lot of it read like: "This happened. And then this happened. And then this. And then this." As such it was very "clunky" and didn't flow very well. Ultimately I had little interest in the book and really had to push myself to finish it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I loved the first third of this book--profiles of different types of people in and around the orchid world. The trial that takes up about 2/3 of the book could have been edited down to less than half the length; the details were just not fascinating enough to watch every move. The epilogue was great, though, because it got back to the people and their relationships with orchids and how the Phrag. kovachii experience changed them. I'd recommend this book to any orchid lover, and anyone wanting to I loved the first third of this book--profiles of different types of people in and around the orchid world. The trial that takes up about 2/3 of the book could have been edited down to less than half the length; the details were just not fascinating enough to watch every move. The epilogue was great, though, because it got back to the people and their relationships with orchids and how the Phrag. kovachii experience changed them. I'd recommend this book to any orchid lover, and anyone wanting to know more about the orchid trade and personalities that make it spin.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Silvio111

    Half way through this book (Why did it take me so long?) I decided there was no point reading about a bunch of obsessive, greedy, competitive orchid fanciers all trying to beat each other to fame for possessing an...orchid. It seemed a waste of my precious time on earth. Sorry.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Connie L. Garrison

    Interesting but too long. This might be interesting to orchid growers and locals around Sarasota Florida. Too long, too much inconsequential detail. Leaves you with a feeling of “who cares”.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    Seventeen years ago while living in Orlando I picked up a photograph I was having enlarged and the store owner commented that it was a nice shot, maybe I should enter it at Selby. "What's a Selby?" I asked as he handed me an entry slip. Turns out it is a garden and research center in Sarasota with a specialty in orchids and they sponsor an annual photo contest so off went the picture. I got a call a few weeks later letting me know that I had won the landscape division and could I come over for t Seventeen years ago while living in Orlando I picked up a photograph I was having enlarged and the store owner commented that it was a nice shot, maybe I should enter it at Selby. "What's a Selby?" I asked as he handed me an entry slip. Turns out it is a garden and research center in Sarasota with a specialty in orchids and they sponsor an annual photo contest so off went the picture. I got a call a few weeks later letting me know that I had won the landscape division and could I come over for the ceremony of awards? So my first introduction to Selby Gardens and the beautiful landscape along Sarasota Bay. After the ceremony, I drove back along the gulf and when I crossed from Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island I was hooked - like going back to the Florida of 30 years ago. The wife and I scoured the area which was then the best kept secret in Florida and settled in NW Bradenton. What does that have to do with this book? Quite a bit actually. I discovered the book a few months ago at the Ringling Museum of Art book store in Sarasota and noted a connection to Selby. The story centers around an orchid "smuggled" from Peru by one who wanted the plant named after him and he dropped it off at Selby for identification and publication. Phragmipedium kovachii, a slipper orchid at the time was selling on the black market for thousands and was an explosive find. This book is a must read for orchid fans as it provides vivid examples of how crazed the collectors/breeders can become. I actually feel badly for the Selby organization as the legal mess they found themselves entangled in led to some horrible consequences which still resonate today. While someone who takes this topic far more seriously than I do may feel the tremendous effort by the U.S. Government to track down and prosecute the participants was worth the effort and expense I do not fall into that category. I do have to give a big tip of the hat to Craig Pittman as it was his task to thread together the intricacies of the orchid world - both scientific and political, as well as the legal aspects of the the story and the delineation of the characters, major and minor. Not an easy task to keep a complex story moving forward in an entertaining fashion that actually permits the reader to learn a lot.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Up until orchids could be propagated in quantity, they were searched for by the Indiana Jones' of the plant community, slogging through dense jungles for that prize orchid, the Holy Grail of orchids, that they could add to their precious collections, and would make them a packet. Then in 2002 the world's most exquisite orchid in over a century was found. Not wanting to be scooped, or to cause any kind of sensation before this orchid could be identified and named, it was illegally smuggled out of Up until orchids could be propagated in quantity, they were searched for by the Indiana Jones' of the plant community, slogging through dense jungles for that prize orchid, the Holy Grail of orchids, that they could add to their precious collections, and would make them a packet. Then in 2002 the world's most exquisite orchid in over a century was found. Not wanting to be scooped, or to cause any kind of sensation before this orchid could be identified and named, it was illegally smuggled out of Peru and taken to Selby's Orchid Identification Center. This is the story of how the U.S. Fish and Game, the government of Peru, a competing discoverer of the orchid (who had also named it almost simultaneously), and the underground (illegal) collectors of orchids, Selby Center with their attorneys, all converged on this near-mythic, hand-sized, purple, lady slipper orchid tale that lasted for years. You will never look at an orchid again without a greater appreciation for this marvelous jewel of plants.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    The true story of an orchid. It doesn't sound like a very exciting story,but it was. Orchid people are nutty, I've concluded, but there are many nutty people in all kinds of professions. The story is about a new slipper orchid and its "discoverer" and a whole lot of orchid people who got into this mess. The basic "story" is about Michael Kovach, who brought this new orchid into the country, showed it to orchid people at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota, and had it named after him. But a lot of ot The true story of an orchid. It doesn't sound like a very exciting story,but it was. Orchid people are nutty, I've concluded, but there are many nutty people in all kinds of professions. The story is about a new slipper orchid and its "discoverer" and a whole lot of orchid people who got into this mess. The basic "story" is about Michael Kovach, who brought this new orchid into the country, showed it to orchid people at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota, and had it named after him. But a lot of other people are involved in some way with t his story. I needed to keep checking the cast of characters- hard to keep them all straight. It all ended with a court case in which Kovach is on trial for bringing in this orchid illegally (among other charges). :I enjoyed the story and was interested enough to keep reading all the way through. Still a bit of mystery at t he end, as in all real stories.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    I am the typical common orchid lover, who got her first Phalaenopsis, and when I managed to get it flower again I was over the moon and rushed to buy anther one. today I have 16 of them. Tried my luck with other types, but we did not click. However this does not prevent me from admiring other types, go to shows, visit botanical gardens and read about Orchids, and thus this book. Although I did not have luck with Lady Slippers, looking at the pictures of the Kovachii I can understand why people wa I am the typical common orchid lover, who got her first Phalaenopsis, and when I managed to get it flower again I was over the moon and rushed to buy anther one. today I have 16 of them. Tried my luck with other types, but we did not click. However this does not prevent me from admiring other types, go to shows, visit botanical gardens and read about Orchids, and thus this book. Although I did not have luck with Lady Slippers, looking at the pictures of the Kovachii I can understand why people want it. But I would never imagine what can happen over one orchid, until I read this book. Though it is describing facts, the writing is better than many Thrillers I read. Enjoyed it very much and deferentially recommend it not only to every Orchid lover, but also to any one interesting in real mysteries.

  20. 4 out of 5

    M

    I liked this book quite a bit. The people who found, collected, studied, and/or named Phragmipedium kovachii had such amazingly bad luck! My one (very) minor issue: this purportedly factual account perpetuates a myth about the discovery of Cattleya labiata. (See http://www.nybg.org/plant-talk/2013/0...). Part of that myth is that C. labiata is endemic to Rio de Janeiro. The fact that it is found in northeast Brazil around Pernambuco can be verified in the literature (see Almeida, P., et al. "Micr I liked this book quite a bit. The people who found, collected, studied, and/or named Phragmipedium kovachii had such amazingly bad luck! My one (very) minor issue: this purportedly factual account perpetuates a myth about the discovery of Cattleya labiata. (See http://www.nybg.org/plant-talk/2013/0...). Part of that myth is that C. labiata is endemic to Rio de Janeiro. The fact that it is found in northeast Brazil around Pernambuco can be verified in the literature (see Almeida, P., et al. "Microsatellite markers for the endangered orchids Cattleya labiata Lindl. and C. warneri T. Moore (Orchidaceae)." Conservation Genetics Resources: 1-4.).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    In The Scent of Scandal, Craig Pittman takes a complex drama with numerous actors and manages to keep the reader interested and carried along the story's multiple twists and turns. Like being on a roller-coaster ride through a botanical garden--including the offices, laboratories, and greenhouses out back. The character-driven narrative includes just enough backstory on orchids, endangered species policy, South American jungles, and botanical science for context. There are no boring parts. Anyone In The Scent of Scandal, Craig Pittman takes a complex drama with numerous actors and manages to keep the reader interested and carried along the story's multiple twists and turns. Like being on a roller-coaster ride through a botanical garden--including the offices, laboratories, and greenhouses out back. The character-driven narrative includes just enough backstory on orchids, endangered species policy, South American jungles, and botanical science for context. There are no boring parts. Anyone who thinks they have an opinion on endangered species trade and black-market traffic should read this book, as well as those who love exotic flowers and the places they come from.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mrs.Lady

    If I had known I would have to keep track of 45 participants in this saga... overall amzing that all this came about from bring a flower(s)? from Peru - all those US tax dollars spent for investigating and prosecuting. Gue I thought this book would be more fun Like Eric Hanson´s Orchid Fever which was an easy romp through the wild world of orchid collecting mania. I had to keep referring to the 2 pages of names of the participants in the scandal --- who was that again? I wouldn´t want to read this If I had known I would have to keep track of 45 participants in this saga... overall amzing that all this came about from bring a flower(s)? from Peru - all those US tax dollars spent for investigating and prosecuting. Gue I thought this book would be more fun Like Eric Hanson´s Orchid Fever which was an easy romp through the wild world of orchid collecting mania. I had to keep referring to the 2 pages of names of the participants in the scandal --- who was that again? I wouldn´t want to read this book over again yet have read Orchid Fever twice and will probably read it again in years to come. I enjoyed Fever a lot more than Scandal.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Roxy

    This book got some great reviews and since I love my little orchid collection and botanical gardens such as the Selby, I thought I would enjoy this book. Wrong. I kept waiting,page after loathe some page, for it to get in the least bit interesting, I skimmed the last 10% just to make sure I had not missed something exciting; I didn't . This book got some great reviews and since I love my little orchid collection and botanical gardens such as the Selby, I thought I would enjoy this book. Wrong. I kept waiting,page after loathe some page, for it to get in the least bit interesting, I skimmed the last 10% just to make sure I had not missed something exciting; I didn't .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    A terrific story well told about the orchid world and the local and international scandal at Marie Selby Gardens, Sarasota, Florida. The author is the St. Pete Times reporter who covered the story, so it is filled with facts and well researched information. I recommend to all readers and Floridians.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hugh Stephens

    Knowing some of the people involved in this "drama" made it interesting reading for me. It's more like a novel and could be made into a movie or play. The characters are "characters" of various kinds and with various agendas all revealed as the story unfolds. Knowing some of the people involved in this "drama" made it interesting reading for me. It's more like a novel and could be made into a movie or play. The characters are "characters" of various kinds and with various agendas all revealed as the story unfolds.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    great start but dragged towards the end. interesting though, learned a little about the corrupt world of orchid's. great start but dragged towards the end. interesting though, learned a little about the corrupt world of orchid's.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marjoladue

    Fascinating how obsessed orchid collectors can be.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Resalo

    An interesting read but a bit tedious after about 75 pages--- It is amazing however to get a peak at the Orchid Underworld. Although well researched, I did prefer the Orchid Thief over this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Interesting story of how lust for an unusual orchid got a lot of folks in trouble. For the orchid enthusiast.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Allaire

    If you enjoy raising orchids, you'll find it a good read. If you enjoy raising orchids, you'll find it a good read.

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