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Sep 12, 2016


Craig Pittman’s beat at the Tampa Bay Times is covering Florida’s environment in all its politically skewed glory.

Want to know how an oil spill could impact the Gulf of Mexico and the Sunshine State’s beaches? Pittman’s the guy to read.

So it might seem like the intrigue over a single orchid’s origins and rightful ownership would be a little under his radar. But, investigative journalist that he is, Pittman smelled a good mystery lurking behind the lush tropical setting of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.

CRAIG PITTMAN podcast excerpt: "By making this big, splashy discovery that would get some headlines, the (orchid experts at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens) thought, 'This will remind them of our value, this will make them want to continue supporting our work.' And it kind of backfired."

The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid is a story that took the reporter years to fully develop and was one he began writing about way back in 2002. It’s extremely well-written—which is not really a surprise coming from an award-winning journalist whose previous books include Paving Paradise and Manatee Insanity.

If you ever read Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief or saw the crazy-ass film made from it, Adaptation, you’ve already had a peek into this highly competitive world of illegal imports, competitive bookworms, snooty dilettantes, and rascally worms.

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