Barbara Cleverly, Ragtime in Simla

£70.00 £60.00

Historical mystery set in the dying days of the Indian Raj featuring policeman Joe Sandilands. Former school teacher Barbara Cleverly is a strong readership for the whodunnit in this interesting setting. One of only 80 numbered and signed copies in a special binding with an appreciation by former Detection Club president and fondly remembered critic and writer H R F Keating.

In Stock: 6 available

H R F Keating

Barbara Cleverly, a retired schoolteacher won the Crime Writers’ Association Début Dagger with The Last Kashmiri Rose, a book that was also successful in America being listed by the New York Times as one of the best books of the year. This author come to write traditional historical mysteries from her liking of classical detection, in the shape of Ngaio Marsh etc.  But Cleverly’s policeman Joe Sandilands operates in India under the British Raj.  Many readers will remember the Raj Quartet by Paul Scott, televised in the 1980s as The Jewel in The Crown series. However, the Sandiland novels often have a contemporary take on India by exposing inequalities of status, education and the position of women. An enjoyable read and a well crafted series.

Barbara Cleverly won the Ellis Peters Award in 2007 from the Crime Writers’ association.  Former “Times” reviewer of crime and past President the Detection Club and CWA Gold Dagger win for his novel set in India (The Murder of the Maharajah) H R F Keating provides the Appreciation.

5.00 out of 5

2 reviews for Barbara Cleverly, Ragtime in Simla

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rating by “Booklist” on April 4, 2012 :

    “Scotland Yard Commander Joseph Sandilands, a World War I hero, has accepted an invitation to spend his vacation at the guest house of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal in Simla, the summer capital of the British Raj. A noted Russian opera singer who will be performing there shares a ride with him from the train station in the governor’s car. As they climb the steep mountain road, a sniper kills the singer and Sandilands’ vacation turns into an investigation. Working with the police, he discovers that there was an identical shooting a year earlier that remains unsolved. As he learns more about Simla, a transplanted slice of England in the Himalayan hills, he finds a web of blackmail, vice, and other nasty secrets behind the proper British façade. Ms. Cleverly deftly transports readers to an exotic locale filled with intrigue, suspense, and characters skilled in the art of deception. This is perfect armchair travel for historical mystery fans”. Booklist

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by H R F Keating on May 18, 2012 :

    Extract from the Appreciation by H R F Keating

    “Ragtime in Simla
    takes the same hero as her first novel, Joe Sandilands, senior Scotland Yard officer sent out to the British India of the early 1920s, and gives him a new case, this time in the extraordinary hill-station of Simla. She thus combines again the pleasures of the fiction of the era of Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, when ingenious puzzles were laid out in literate prose and garnished wirh apt quotation, with that altogether extraordinary era of human existence, India at the height of the British Raj. But in the exhilaratingly cool mountain air more than strict social protocol flourished. Tongues wagged, vicious as cobras. Love affairs sprang up, died away. Famously all of it was chronicled, some thirty years before the events of Ragtime in Simla, by a young sharply observant journalist, Rudyard Kipling, up in the Hills on holiday and catching all the gossip and the scandels that ran like buried lava streamlets just below the rigid surface; to give, in the twenty-first century, telling quotations for Barbara Cleverly to slip into the long unravelling of surprise-laden events that her second crime story delightfully puts before us”.

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