The Scent of Scandal by Craig Pittman
Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid (Florida History and Culture)

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Synopsis

After its Peruvian discovery in 2002, Phragmipedium kovachii became the rarest and most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market. Then one showed up at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where every year more than 100,000 people visit. They come for the lush landscape on Sarasota Bay and for Selby's vast orchid collection, one of the most magnificent in the world.

The collision between Selby's scientists and the smugglers of Phrag. Kovachii, a rare ladyslipper orchid hailed as the most significant and beautiful new species discovered in a century, led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, and criminal charges. It made headlines around the country, cost the gardens hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, and led to tremendous internal turmoil.

Investigative journalist Craig Pittman unravels this tangled web to shine a spotlight on flaws in the international treaties governing trade in endangered wildlife--which may protect individual plants and animals in shipping but do little to halt the destruction of whole colonies in the wild.

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--that they will ignore everything, even the law.

 

About Craig Pittman

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Craig Pittman is an award-winning journalist who writes about environmental issues for Florida's largest newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times. He is the coauthor of Paving Paradise and author of Manatee Insanity.
 
Published March 18, 2012 by University Press of Florida. 321 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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An excruciatingly detailed account of the 2002 controversy that rocked Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Fla., when its scientists were asked to identify an orchid of dubious origin.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Scent of Scandal: Greed, ...

Star Tribune

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A journalistic account of fear, greed and a flower.

Aug 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Scent of Scandal: Greed, ...

Tampa Bay Times

The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid By Craig Pittman University Press of Florida, 256 pages, $24.95 Meet the author: Craig Pittman will sign The Scent of Scandal at 3 p.m. March 31 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Mar 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Scent of Scandal: Greed, ...

Bookmarks Magazine

It made headlines around the country, cost the gardens hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, and led to tremendous internal turmoil.
Investigative journalist Craig Pittman unravels this tangled web to shine a spotlight on flaws in the international treaties governing trade in end...

Aug 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Scent of Scandal: Greed, ...

Arts Sarasota

Investigative journalist Craig Pittman had covered plenty of crazy people by the time he stepped onto the tranquil grounds of Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to report on a case of orchid smuggling in 2003.

Mar 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Scent of Scandal: Greed, ...

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