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Inspiration for this series was not any farther away than her attic. A trunk held a rich trove of material from Brigadier Harry Sandilands, her husband’s great uncle. Handsome Harry was the real thing, a dashing hero who lived an exciting life and left behind quite a bit of writing full of details on life around the time of WWI. With this heroic character right to hand in the family tree, Barbara Cleverly created a series of mysteries. She kept the family name, Sandilands, but changed Brigadier Harold Richard Sandilands to Commander Joseph Sandilands of the Metropolitan Police; Scotland Yard detectives have more chances to solve murders than Brigadiers. While Harry was fluent in the local languages, Joe needs a translator giving the story another interesting character. She also brings back to life Chedi Khan, a friend of Harry’s. All of this real life detail adds a dimension to the books, giving them extra vitality. The Last Kashmiri Rose is the first of the series. Harry is on temporary loan to India. He is more than eager to return to his London apartment, the day of departure is finally here, his bags are packed. A note arrives from the Governor requesting his presence before he is able to hot foot it out of town, Joe reasons no good is going to come of this and he is right. The Governor has arranged to keep the handsome policeman a while longer in India. He has a little project for Joe. His niece, Nancy, is married to the Collector of Panikhat, a remote outpost. Wives of the Bengal Greys stationed in Panikhat are suffering a high mortality rate. The latest death is a presumed suicide; the woman was a good friend of the Governor’s niece. Nancy does not believe her death was suicide, she thinks someone is bumping off the wives of the Bengal Greys. Joe is going to have his hands full with this one! Is the Governor going to be finished with Joe when he solves the mystery? No. In the next book of the series, Ragtime in Simla,— Deon Stonehouse
Barbara Cleverly's "New York Times "notable debut mystery, featuring Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands
Calcutta, 1922. In a land of saffron sunsets and blazing summer heat, an Englishwoman has been found dead, her wrists slit, her body floating in a bathtub of blood and water. But is it suicide or murder? The case falls to Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands, who survived the horror of the Western Front and has endured six sultry months in English-ruled Calcutta. Sandilands is ordered to investigate and soon discovers that there have been other mysterious deaths, with sinister ties to the present case.
Now, as the sovereignty of Britain is in decline and an insurgent India is on the rise, Sandilands must navigate the treacherous corridors of political decorum to bring a cunning killer to justice, knowing the next victim is already marked to die.
About the Author
Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. A former teacher, she lives in Cambridge. She is the author of thirteen books in the Joe Sandilands series, including "The Last Kashmiri Rose," "Strange Images of Death," "The Blood Royal," "Not My Blood," " A Spider in the Cup," " Enter Pale Death," and "Diana s Altar.""
"In her spellbinding debut mystery, The Last Kashmiri Rose, Barbara Cleverly evokes both the enchantments and the dangers of India during the convulsive later days of the Raj."—The New York Times Book Review
"Has just about everything: a fresh, beautifully realized exotic setting; a strong, confident protagonist; a poignant love story; and an exquisitely complex plot."—The Denver Post