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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands Murder Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – October 26, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fully developed characters and a convincing portrayal of time and place lift Cleverly's second historical (after 2002's The Last Kashmiri Rose) featuring Commander Joe Sandilands, a Scotland Yard detective stationed in post-WWI India. Sandilands has a personal stake in catching a cunning murderer, as the victim was struck down just inches away from him as they paused to admire the view from a spot known as Devil's Elbow in Simla, the summer capital of the Raj. Despite his fleeting acquaintance with the murdered man, a noted Russian singer, the sleuth feels compelled to put all his energies into avenging him, a challenge that's compounded when he learns of a nearly identical killing at the same spot a year earlier. The circumstances of that crime lead him to a young, attractive British expat, who's managed to successfully run a major trading house despite numerous personal tragedies. Working with the local superintendent, Sandilands maneuvers through the interlocking threads of Simla's colonial power base, which include a well-protected brothel, a spiritualist and Indian nationalists. The murderer's identity comes as a nice and logical surprise. While the ending suggests that Sandilands may next apply his considerable gifts outside India, the author's talent seems capable of transcending any shift in scene.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Scotland Yard Commander Joseph Sandilands, a World War I hero, has accepted an invitation to spend his vacation at the guesthouse 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 facade. Ms. Cleverly (The Last Kashmiri Rose [BKL Ag 02]) 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. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Joe Sandilands Murder Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440242231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440242239
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The days of British rule in India are nearing their end in 1922, when this (dare I say)cleverly plotted mystery by Barbara Cleverly takes place.

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.
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By A Customer on November 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you didn't read the first book in the Joe Sandilands series, Kashmir Rose, don't worry. The book stands alone. If you did read Cleverly's first book, you'll like the second. You'll also notice some similarities.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
RAGTIME IN SIMLA by Beverly Cleverly is the 2nd title in the Joe Sandilands series.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This is my first Joe Sandilands novel.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm so glad I discovered this series. If you like the series written by Charles Todd, then you will also enjoy this series by Barbara Cleverly. Beautifully written and set in an exotic local, and now after this book, back to London for Joe Sandilands. Highly recommend this series for mystery lovers who also enjiy history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this mystery very much. The author does a great job of describing post WWI colonial India. I got a good feel for the life of Europeans in colonial India. The characters are well drawn and interesting. The mystery takes lots of twists and turns. It was an easy read with no explicit sex or violence. I could see this being turned into a BBC mini-series.

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.
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