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The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands) Paperback – August 29, 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Julian Fellowes's Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
"Julian Fellowes's Belgravia" by Julian Fellowes
From the creator and writer of Downton Abbey comes a grand historical novel, with hugely exciting twists and dramatic chapter endings. Learn more | See author page
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an impressive debut, British author Cleverly weaves an engrossing tale of serial murder and the impending decline of the British Empire into a well-written fair-play mystery set in 1920s India. Commander Joe Sandilands, a Scotland Yarder completing a stint with the Bengal Police, is on his way back home when the provincial governor asks him to look into the recent death-by-suicide of an army officers young wife. Nancy Drummond, a close friend of the dead woman, reveals that four other officers wives have also died¢apparently by accident or misadventure¢over a period of 12 years, all in the month of March. Sandilandss investigation reveals further disturbing similarities; the cause of death in each case was the victims greatest phobia, and an unknown person has marked the anniversaries of their passing by placing a Kashmiri rose on their graves. With Drummond as his assistant and love interest, the detective probes beneath the surface of a society attempting to replicate pre-WWI England in a very different milieu. The political tensions of the time are more than mere background dressing, while the clash of cultures is instrumental to the plot. The likable and plausible Sandilands and other characters, both British and Indian, come across as living, breathing people. The killers motivation proves to be more baffling than his identity, but the solution is satisfying, as is Sandilandss handling of the ethical issues that his uncovering of the truth has raised. Classic whodunit fans should look forward to Cleverlys future efforts.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In the 1920s, a serial killer targets the wives of Britons attached to the military Bengal Greys near Calcutta. Disguised as accidents, the murders go undetected until the latest, the purported suicide of a young wife, finally attracts the attention of investigator Joseph Sandilands. Recognizing common threads in all five deaths, he dives into a thorough investigation that revisits all the crime scenes. A strongly evocative narrative, sensitive characterizations, artful dialog, and masterly plotting make for an excellent first historical, which won the Crime Writer Association's Debut Dagger competition.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Joe Sandilands (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing (August 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845298098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845298098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,597,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've just finished this and I'm starting right over
at the beginning. This brilliantly-plotted novel had
me turning the pages right down to the last
breath-catching wriggle. I know who did it and - more
importantly - why - but I'm treating myself to a
second helping.
The Indian setting is colourfully captured and the
characters convincing and sympathetic, the whole
captured in a great style - Cleverly manages to be at
once light but authoritative. Her dialogue is
authentic and right for the period (sadly, I'm old
enough to know!) What a treat to hear that clipped,
literate, 1920's style!
The hero-detective, Joe Sandilands, is a refreshing
change from the cops we have gotten used to over the last
few years; Cleverly allows him to be charming and
principled and he comes without the heavy baggage of a
failing personal life. More in the pipe-line, I hope?
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Format: Hardcover
As a long-time fan of historical novels, I've gotten pretty bored with the standard Victorian, medieval, etc. periods, no matter how well they are written. I like a book which "takes" me to times and places I've never been before and know little about. This book not only satisfied me in that respect but it contained an interesting plot involving well-rounded characters with a good mixture of human strengths and foibles that I could relate to and care about. (Although I must admit that I'm happy to have learned more about this period of Indian history from a distance of over 3/4 of a century. It sounds like a terrible era that's happily behind us.)
In my opinion, all fans of historical novels should read this one. I'm eagerly looking forward to the author's second entry in this promising series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book captured me in the first page. The detective was smart, charming and handsome. There is a lady who captures his eye, a silent and intellegent side kick and lots of shady characters maskerading as Bengal Greys, an elite force of the British in India. I smelled the spices and stench, felt the rattans and coarse cottons, and heard the guns and market din. The only downside of the book was the language of the characters was a bit too contemporary and seemed jarring with the setting/time period. It was a good, fast, fun read and I hope the author follows with more of Joseph Sandilands, Scotland Yards Detective!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In a book world with serial killings based on maniacs and pyscho killers in abundance, this book stands out by the unique motive behind the murders of a bunch of 'memsahibs' -- English men's wives, killed over a period of 12 years happening in the pre-independence period in India. Cleverly plotted the death of the ladies cause chillness to the spine, yet deceiving to the eyes of the common folk as mere accidents or the work of 'churel' -- An evil spirit, until the shrewd Nancy Drummond, the collector's wife suspects an underhand in the last death that happens when Peggy, her friend gets murdered in the most alarming way - the most dreadful way she could have fathomed - In a bathtub with blood-mixed water, with her wrists cut so deep to reveal her bones. Along with Joe Sandilands, a detective from the renowned Scotland yard , Nancy sets out to seek answers to the mysterious deaths along with Naurang, a young ambitious Indian policeman. Barbara Cleverly takes the reader on a thrilling ride through the pre-independence era in India, and brings the Anglo-Indian community life in front of the eyes. Each chapter builds the suspense and even after the suspense is revealed, there is yet another piece of unexpected suspense - The reason for the murders is in variance with Joe's concluded theory for motive. A delight for anyone interested in suspense books and/ or books with historical annotations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is set in India just after the first World War. The wife of a Bengal Greys officer is found dead in her bath. The local police treat the death as a suicide however the wife of the Collector of Panikhat persuades the Acting Governor of Bengal, Sir George Jardine to call in Joe Sandilands to investigate. On researching the background he becomes aware that the first officer's wife to die was in March 1910, when Dolly Prentice dies in a house fire. Three more officer's wives die in succeeding March years prior to World War one in different circumstances. I found this story very enjoyable and the description of life in India at that time very well written. You could almost feel you were there, living at that time.
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Format: Hardcover
Barbara Cleverly is an amazing author. This is the best book I've read in years. The story moved so smoothly and drew me in on every page. It is not often that I read a book in a weekend, with a very busy schedule, but reading this story was a definite priority. For a terrific plot, engaging characters and a murder mystery that is complex and intriguing, The Last Kashmiri Rose will not disappoint.
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By Laura E. on September 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
SPOILERS AHEAD:
For whatever reason, I couldn't fall whole-heartedly in love with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between Joe and Nancy, though she disappointed me in the end by the way she used Joe. The mystery was interesting, if a little macabre. How many times do we need to hear in precise and graphic detail how the killer nearly severed Peggy's wrists? That complaint aside, I was anxious to find and interpret the clues along with Joe, Nancy and Naurung. One problem. There were only two real suspects. Made it rather easy to solve what otherwise would have been an interesting and complex puzzle.

Maybe the setting was the biggest drawback for me. I've never had much interest in India and this book did not pique my interest like say "The Dark Road to Darjeeling" (Deanna Raybourn). Passages about the Indian countryside and customs or pertaining to the Anglo culture in British ruled India dragged for me. The writing, in spots, was very good, but I'm not sure if I'll continue with this series.
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