To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands Murder Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – October 26, 2004
|New from||Used from|
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
To outward appearances, things are well in hand. Just a few thousand colonial troops, along with their Indian military staff and a handfull of top British government officials control a population of millions. But there is trouble ahead. Ghandi is busy raising the consiousness of the Indian population, and Afghanistan is poised to make trouble along the northern border.
Ms. Cleverly immediately plunges the reader into a world where British administrators, like Lieutenant Governor of Bengal Sir George Jardine may as well be Rajahs. They live in mansions with a staff of servants, and continue to dress as they did in England, all the while living in a climate like that of Houston.
The climate is the reason why the government repairs in summer to Simla, a mountain town which provides relief from the heat in the days before air conditioning. Scotland Yard Commander Joe Sandilands has been invited to visit Sir George for a vacation before heading back to England. Sir George sends a Packard limousine to pick Joe up at the railhead. This shows Joe packs some juice, since there are only four cars in Simla and Packard is the car of status in the years before the Second World War. Joe offers a ride to a famous Russian opera singer, who is murdered on the road to Simla.
It turns out that Sir George has an ulterior motive in inviting Joe to visit. The beautiful Alice Conyers is the CEO of a successful trading company. A few months before, her brother, believed to have been killed in the war, had resurfaced.Read more ›
Sandilands is on his way out of India when the governor invites him to a holiday in the Indian hill town called Simla. On his way up to the hills, he meets a Russian opera singer, who is shot before Joe's eyes. Not so coincidently, someone else was murdered in the same manner and in the same spot one year before. Joe investigates the mystery in which nothing is what it appears to be.
Cleverly's ability to capture the atmosphere of 1920's British India continues add a flavor to this book that you don't find in most mysteries. I spent some time in modern Shimla, so on a personal level, I enjoyed this book even more than the first.
The scene is Simla, 1922. Simla is/was a recreational summer retreat in the foothills of the Himalayans, very popular with the British ‘expat’ community. Joe Sandilands was invited by Sir George Jardine, acting governor of Bengal, to spend time in Simla before returning to England.
The mystery is very intricate with quite a bit of backtracking to events happening during a train crash in France in 1919.
I was very interested in the descriptions of Simla, 1920’s India and colonial culture.
The major characters are British and much is told of the Pathan ‘tribal customs’. (You would think Joe would know more of Pathan customs after his run-in with a Pathan character in Book #1 - THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE.)
I would recommend this book to mystery readers, especially those interested in a strong sense of foreign locale.
The story starts out at a rapid pace, giving you a flavour of Simla during the British Raj. Towards the end however, the plot tugs at the bounds of credulity and it goes completely downhill.
It is an entertaining story though, and well told one. Some of the dialogues are somewhat long-drawn, making it obvious that it's more for the benefit of the reader than something that two policemen would say to each other while discussing a murder.
Although the story is set in Simla, all the major characters are British. Apart from some scenes set in the streets of Simla, there aren't very many colourful descriptions of India. The story may well be set in the Scottish Highlands or somewhere suitably adventurous.
A few minor quibbles: Gandhi, when he is mentioned briefly, is spelled as "Ghandi" -- an irritatingly common misspelling by Western authors. Also, the father of one of the characters, Rheza Khan, who is a Pathan, is referred to as the "rajah". No Pathan chief would ever call himself a "rajah".
Overall, it is a good read for a relaxing weekend.
This is the second book in the series featuring Scotland Yard Commander Joe Sandilands. It was the first book I've read by this author. Mysteries aren't usually my thing, but this book was recommended to me and I'm glad I read it. I'll definitely read more in the series when I'm in the mood for a nice mystery.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you enjoy the Raj, this book will please you. Interesting characters, interesting twists, interesting scenery. I'm planning to read more from this author.Published 15 months ago by Jane
I thoroughly enjoyed Ragtime in Simla -- well written mystery with great atmosphere of what it must have been like in the fading years of British rule in India. Read morePublished 21 months ago by dhbailey
A great read. Gives you a glimpse of British India in the 1920s. Interesting characters.Published 23 months ago by Kraylen Miholer
Love these books- always twists and turns that surprise and interesting characters
off to buy number three and see what's next!
A summer "time passer." I chose this book because I like to read mysteries set in India. Not a challenging read but Ok.Published on July 12, 2014 by Jeanette Slade
Loved the atmosphere and ambiance and the feel of the times. An intricate story line that held my interest. I am a fan of Barbara Cleverly.Published on June 24, 2014 by philip joannes
I have enjoyed several of Barbara Cleverly's books. She goes back to a time before impressive technology and gives Joe great natural intelligence to solve very complicated... Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Smart Sister