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

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading High Wire In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Returning to Nuala in 1930s Ceylon is always a pleasure. The courteous Inspector Shanti de Silva and his delightful wife Jane have an active social life in the pleasant Hill town and on this occasion, it includes a visit to a travelling Russian circus. Shanti is not looking forward to the performance of the snake charmer, but he enjoys watching the clowns and the high wire act, until there is a disaster. Shanti’s boss, Archie Clutterbuck, does not consider the death of a Russian a relevant problem to the local police force, but the detective is determined to check the circumstances.

This volume of the series involves Shanti in undercover work and his Sergeant, Prasanna, excels himself. Add in the fear of poisonous snakes, rivalry between two female performers and another case involving jewellery burglary and you have an exciting, action-packed tale. The story is further enhanced by detailed descriptions of parts of the locality.


“The vicarage’s mellow stone walls basked in the afternoon sunshine. As if to remind viewers of its inhabitants calling, the tall windows were set in pointed Gothic arches decorated with carvings that were more modest versions of those at the church. A vigorous soft-pink rose spread its branches between the windows, also scrambling over the roof of the deep entrance porch. The latter was decorated with a fleur-de-lis pattern of faded blue on a yellowish-cream glaze, well-worn by many years of footsteps; the front door was a massive piece of oak.”

The escapades of kittens, Billy and Bella, are a pleasant interlude between progress in the case and dire danger to our hero. I particularly enjoyed this novel and can see it as an episode in a cosy crime TV series similar to Death in Paradise.

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.

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My #BookReview Of cosy #Mystery Dark Clouds Over Nuala by @HarrietSteel1 #SundayBlogShare

Dark Clouds Over Nuala (The Inspector de Silva Mysteries Book 2)Dark Clouds Over Nuala by Harriet Steel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

View all my reviews On Goodreads

Book description

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.

About the author

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

Harriet Steel

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