Three Point Five Stars.
Dark Clouds over Nuala is book #2 of The Inspector De Silva Mysteries. Set in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 1930s at the time of British Colonial Rule, this book combines, contrasts and conflicts with traditional culture.
Inspector Shanti de Silva enjoys a quiet life in Nuala; his English wife, Morris car and garden are his delights. He works with Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar, whilst reporting directly to British Assistant Government Agent Archie Clutterbuck.
Clutterbuck has organised a hunting party at a mountain camp known as World’s End, but the police are called in when a suicide occurs. The case is complicated when the body cannot be found and several members of the party come under suspicion. The investigation becomes hampered by de Silva’s British bosses, who have their own political agendas which leave de Silva frustrated. In a slow unravelling, de Silva perseveres until he has solved the mystery.
Beside the main plot, Steel weaves multi-cultural aspects showing examples of both work and marriage relationships. I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of food and local scenery. The book also includes interesting snippets of the British Empire. The narration and dialogue are both typically polite and drawn out, perhaps as one would expect of the time and setting. I often felt unable to read the book any faster than the speed of life dictated.
This is a slow paced mystery and one I would recommend to readers who enjoy learning about historical settings and cultures in equal parts to their love of a cosy mystery.
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Set in Ceylon in the 1930s, this second book in the Inspector de Silva Mysteries offers another colourful, relaxing read as the arrival in the hill town of Nuala of the heir to an English earldom signals more trouble for the hapless Inspector de Silva and a new mystery to solve. Throw in a mega-rich Romanian count, his glamorous countess and an enigmatic British army officer and the scene is set for an entertaining mystery.
Harriet Steel published four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries. Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. She is passionate about history and blogs about it at harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk