Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Last Kashmiri Rose - Barbara Cleverly

Rating: 7/10

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'.


Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

How interesting...I also love books and films set in the British Raj. Have you read the Far Pavillions by M.M. Kaye? I think you'll love it.
This books looks very interesting. I've never heard of Barbara Cleverly and I'll definitely keep my eye out for this one.

Emily said...

I'm a total sucker for well done historical romance or mysteries, especially ones set in unusual time periods or locations. I also love details that showcase the author's research. I may have to track down a copy of this book, it sounds very interesting. Great review!

Beth F said...

I like the sound of this one -- mystery and India!

Shweta said...

I am sure going to read this one Kals.Mystery and historical fiction . Sounds great

Anonymous said...

Wow...sounds so interesting, a murder mystery set during the British Raj. Very nice concept. I must check if I can find this book

Anonymous said...

there's an award waiting for you on my blog. Come over and collect it :)

Kals said...

Mrs. B - I've not read Far Pavilions yet but it totally looks like my kind of book and I'll check it out! Thanks for the reco :)

Emily - Thanks! I think you'll love this book. It has several sequels too, I hear.

Beth F - It's definitely one of my favourite combos :)

Shweta - I think you'll enjoy this book. It's worth a read!

Nishita - My library had it, though I didn't expect to find it! Thanks so much for the made my day :) :)

Christy B said...

Thanks for the rec on this book on my blog! Sounds interesting.

You have an award waiting for you here:

Kals said...

Thank you so much for the lovely award, Christy!


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