I love books set in the British Raj. It's one of my most favourite historic time periods and though I've not read fiction about the Raj, I've throughly enjoyed all the non-fiction and memoirs from that era. This murder mystery featuring Inspector Joe Sandilands, often referred to as 'Holmes' in the book, seemed an excellent concoction of two things I like reading about : British India and Sherlock Holmes.
Set during the final days of the British empire in India, The Last Kashmiri Rose, sees Inspector Joe Sandilands of Scotland Yard solve a series of mysterious 'deaths' that seem to have a sad, sinister connection. Inspector Sandilands has to find out how, why and who killed these innocent victims.
Credit to Barbara Cleverly where it is due. Her images of India during the Raj are vivid, very accurate and definitely satisfying. There are several references to the Great Revolt of 1857, the controversial cartridges greased with cow and pig fat, the 'divide and rule' theory, and even a lone reference to 'Congress wallahs'. The mystery is also well-written with some good twists thrown in here and there. But I guessed the identity of the killer several pages before the book revealed it, which definitely dampened the climax.
I love a good romance. But when there's a suspenseful mystery on one hand, I'd rather see that being solved, than see the romance between the detective and the dashing female protagonist. The Last Kashmiri Rose is one such case. Nancy Drummond's flashback, her relationship with Sandilands are nice to read about, but they slow the pace of the story, which is very vital in a murder mystery.
In all, the book is worth a read, if you like murder mysteries or books set in an 'exotic' Indian setting. But personally, I still enjoy the non-fiction books from this era so much more :)
This book satisfies one criteria in the 'What's In A Name?' Challenge, that of 'A book with a plant in the title'.