THE LAST KASHMIRI ROSE by Barbara Cleverly
Constable Crime (Constable & Robinson) - August 2001
ISBN: 1841193690 - Hardcover
Historical Mystery- 1922, India

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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It is such a treat to find an author who has avoided the well-worn settings and periods and struck out on their own and this is such a novel. Set in 1922 during the final days of the British Raj it concerns the lives - and deaths - of the very English inhabitants of Panikhat, a small place about 50 miles from Calcutta. The young wife of an officer in the Bengal Greys has been found dead in her bath with her wrists slashed. It looks like suicide but there are whispers among the memsahibs that this is the fifth death to occur since 1910 and in common with the others it happened in March and seems equally suspicious. Scotland Yard detective and war veteran Joe Sandilands was just going home to England but is called back to allay the rumors and sort it all out before the murderer can strike again.

This is a novel in the true Golden Age tradition of Agatha Christie although with the added dimension of being set in a well-researched and unusual historical setting. In keeping with the traditional style of a "cozy" this is no gorefest replete with graphic details nor does it seethe with political machinations and finely drawn psychological profiles - which is in fact rather a tonic as most modern thrillers have all these things and can often lack warmth, style and a jolly good plot all of which this books has in abundance. If this is indeed part of a new series I certainly look forward to reading about more "white mischief" in the British Raj.

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