I ‘have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector’, says @LizanneLloyd with her review of historical #Mystery Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel.

I have read almost all of the Inspector de Silva Mysteries and have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector and his delightful English wife, Jane. This mixed marriage ought to encounter disapproval, but the sensible and likeable couple are usually greeted with friendship. Sometimes, however, Shanti De Silva is patronised by senior British police officers because Nuala is seen as a backwater.

Expecting to enjoy a peaceful holiday in a luxury hotel, the couple find themselves in a typical Agatha Christie setting. First a nightwatchman is found dead, then Elodie Renaud, a famous diver, staying in a bungalow in the hotel grounds, is struck down with symptoms of severe food poisoning along with her film team. Soon after Shanti befriends Helen Morris, a charming teacher, on holiday with her demanding Aunt Edith, the young woman disappears under mysterious circumstances. Not only does Inspector de Silva feel he must investigate, but bravely, his wife Jane takes an active part in trying to discover where Helen might be. The local police believe she has been murdered by a local fisherman but there several likely culprits among the hotel guests.

The book is set in an uneasy time and place. It is 1940 but Ceylon is not yet involved in the war.  People feel guilty at their pleasant lives while there is suffering in Europe. There are vivid descriptions of life in Galle,

“Stalls selling an assortment of fruit, vegetables, tin pots and pans, trays of snacks and brightly coloured drinks were set up along the road. Women haggled over wares while groups of men loitered in the shade of palm trees gossiping and chewing betel. In some places, de Silva noticed beggars crouched on the ground, scrawny arms outstretched and hands holding battered tin cups.”

I enjoyed seeing Shanti and Jane working together to solve the mysteries and events became increasingly thrilling. Like the earlier books, this novel would make a wonderful episode in a TV series.

5 stars

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It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

‘Each story is a standalone’ @GeorgiaRoseBook Reviews Historical #Mystery Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Georgia. She blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Georgia has been reading Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel.

I’ve seen this series of books (this is the eleventh) around for a few years now but hadn’t got round to trying one for myself. What a mistake that was! As soon as I started reading, I knew I was going to enjoy it. Don’t you just love it when a book makes you feel that.

While the author is well into this series you don’t have to start at the beginning as each story is a standalone. Also, the author has provided a helpful, and short, list of characters who appear regularly in the Inspector de Silva Mysteries. In this case none of these characters appeared, as Shanti De Silva and his wife, Jane, were on holiday but they were referred to so the short bios of each was useful.

Shanti and Jane have gone on holiday to Galle, Ceylon in the autumn of 1940 and stay at a hotel called Cinnamon Lodge. Naturally the other guests provide a super cast of characters.

When Shanti goes out for a late-night walk, he is warned a leopard has been seen nearby and then one of the nightwatchmen is killed by an animal. Shortly after, celebrity, Elodie Renaud, and her entourage who are staying in one of the guest bungalows, are struck down by a mysterious illness. Then the charming Helen Morris is reported missing and despite searches no trace of her is found.

Now, while you can take a policeman on holiday, you can’t take the policeman out of the, er, policeman, and Shanti can’t help but make some discreet investigations. None of which go down well with the local police chief.

This was a delight to read. Beautifully paced I enjoyed watching the mystery unravel as de Silva worked his way to the final whodunit. Readers of Marple and Poirot will love this series as will anyone who enjoys a well told tale.

Desc 1

It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery HIGH WIRE IN NUALA by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading High Wire In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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The racecourse in Nuala was busy, but not for the racing. The Russian circus had come to town with its colourful wagons and big top. Excitement had built with the appearance of posters advertising trapeze artists, jugglers and high wire, even a snake charmer—de Silva’s dislike of the reptiles causing him to shudder at the thought—along with several other acts.

It was full house for opening night and all was going well with the dance troupe opening the show, followed by the rest of the acts, until there was what looked like a terrible accident during the high wire walk. Inspector Shanti de Silva was in the audience with his wife, Jane and their friends, Doctor and Mrs Hebden, so de Silva and Dr Hebden were able to be first on the scene.

“So tense that you could almost touch it, a hush had fallen over the audience. The low, pulsing beat of the drums heightened the apprehension that filled the air. Every time Tatiana paused, there were gasps of alarm. A pain throbbed behind de Silva’s eyes. He felt as if he was making the slow walk with her. At last, the end of the wire was not far away. Tatiana turned her head a fraction towards the audience; he glimpsed a smile of mischievous triumph on her face. She took another step closer to the tower, and the audience exhaled a collective sigh of relief. Soon she would be safe. Clapping began to swell.
And then it died.”

De Silva suspects this was no accident and that he was looking at a murder, but wonders if his hands are tied as his superior, Archie Clutterbuck, believes the suspicious death of a foreigner isn’t a matter for the Nuala police. But as de Silva was questioning the circus folk another body was discovered.

High Wire in Nuala is another enjoyable mystery, set in the evocatively described Ceylon of the 1930s, capturing the sense of place and the contrast between cultures. The rich, multicultural way of life is still evident but also with the possibility of changes on the horizon. It was lovely once again to get reacquainted with the engaging characters at the heart of the series.

The well thought through plot unfolds at a steady pace as de Silva’s investigation leads him to uncover much more than he initially expected.

Book description

Much to the delight of the locals, a colourful Russian circus rolls into Nuala, but the fun ends abruptly when, on the opening night, a tragic accident takes place.
Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are among the crowd to witness the accident. Or was it an accident? Inspector de Silva senses murder, and soon, he’s juggling with the evidence. Will the trail lead to the circus’s dashing stunt rider and master of horse, Alexei Goncharov, or to Alexei’s brother Boris, its boisterous ringmaster? Throw a string of jewel thefts and some deadly snakes into the mix and the list of suspects grows.
De Silva will need to keep his wits about him to unravel yet another absorbing puzzle in this charming and addictive mystery series set in the 1930s in exotic Ceylon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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