India 1922. In Panikhat, 50 miles from Calcutta, the wives of officers in the Bengal Greys have been dying violently, one every year and each in March. All the deaths are bizarre and appear to be accidental. The only link between them is the bunch of small red roses that appear on the women's graves on the anniversary of their deaths. In order to ...
India 1922. In Panikhat, 50 miles from Calcutta, the wives of officers in the Bengal Greys have been dying violently, one every year and each in March. All the deaths are bizarre and appear to be accidental. The only link between them is the bunch of small red roses that appear on the women's graves on the anniversary of their deaths. In order to help solve these mysterious deaths, the Governor of Bengal calls on the reluctant help of Joe Sandilands, Scotland Yard detective and war hero who happens to be on secondment to the Bengal police. Joe learns that the deaths are connected and that the series has not yet run its course. But who will be the recipient of the next Kashmiri rose? Is Joe hunting an Indian or European killer? And what is the reason behind the slaying of the officers' wives? With only days to go before the end of March can Joe uncover the murderer whose compulsions seem to be rooted deeply within the dark soul of India itself?
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-15 In an impressive debut, British author Cleverly weaves an engrossing tale of serial murder and the impending decline of the British Empire into a well-written fair-play mystery set in 1920s India. Commander Joe Sandilands, a Scotland Yarder completing a stint with the Bengal Police, is on his way back home when the provincial governor asks him to look into the recent death-by-suicide of an army officers young wife. Nancy Drummond, a close friend of the dead woman, reveals that four other officers wives have also died"apparently by accident or misadventure"over a period of 12 years, all in the month of March. Sandilandss investigation reveals further disturbing similarities; the cause of death in each case was the victims greatest phobia, and an unknown person has marked the anniversaries of their passing by placing a Kashmiri rose on their graves. With Drummond as his assistant and love interest, the detective probes beneath the surface of a society attempting to replicate pre-WWI England in a very different milieu. The political tensions of the time are more than mere background dressing, while the clash of cultures is instrumental to the plot. The likable and plausible Sandilands and other characters, both British and Indian, come across as living, breathing people. The killers motivation proves to be more baffling than his identity, but the solution is satisfying, as is Sandilandss handling of the ethical issues that his uncovering of the truth has raised. Classic whodunit fans should look forward to Cleverlys future efforts. (Sept. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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