Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Mystery Offstage In Nuala by @harrietSteel1 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Offstage In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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I’m enjoying this very entertaining and colourful series very much and it was lovely to get reacquainted with the engaging and genteel Inspector Shanti de Silva and his charming wife, Jane. Not to mention Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar. De Silva met Jane in Colombo, where he began his career as a police officer, and Jane was a governess. When they married, De Silva was offered and accepted the position of Inspector in the much more pleasant and quieter small hill town of Nuala.
Offstage in Nuala opens with the de Silvas attending a play performed by a visiting professional theatre company. There they meet up with Archie Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent for the area, and his wife, Florence.

It’s not long before there’s another case for de Silva to solve – the murder of Alexander Danforth, actor and head of the theatre company. De Silva needs to harness all his determination and persistence as he feels Archie Clutterbuck is hampering the investigation, giving the impression he may have something to hide. Clutterbuck was not about to share the reasons for his behaviour with de Silva. Nevertheless, de Silva explores every development thoroughly, even if it means climbing to dizzying heights in the theatre, and helped by his always supportive wife.

As with the previous books, Harriet Steel sets the scene and paints a vivid picture of the rich and multi cultural way of life in 1930s Ceylon, with authentic dialogue and expressive prose, which completely captures the feel of a bygone era. A well crafted plot with fascinating historical details and a smoothly flowing narrative. Descriptions of the food are enticing although I’m not quite sure I would be able to eat curry for breakfast. I can’t resist finding pictures of dishes I’m not familiar with.

I also love the descriptions of de Silva’s beloved garden and how much he enjoys it…’Meringues of cloud drifted across the blue sky and a breeze as light as a cream puff cooled him. Hidden among the trees, a golden oriole sang.‘ It sounds delightful.

Book description

In this third instalment of The Inspector de Silva Mysteries, there’s great excitement when a professional theatre company comes to Nuala. However matters take a dark turn when the company’s actor manager is murdered. Inspector de Silva has a new case to solve and he has to consider some very unpalatable motives for the crime. He will need all his persistence, coupled with his wife, Jane’s, invaluable help to unmask the villain of the piece. Set on the exotic island of Ceylon in the 1930s, The Inspector de Silva Mysteries provide a colourful and relaxing read spiced with humour and an engaging cast of characters.

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.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Ceylon #HistFic #Mystery Offstage in Nuala by @Harrietsteel1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Offstage in Nuala by Harriet Steel

36486865

In this third instalment of The Inspector de Silva Mysteries, we return to the island of Ceylon in the 1930s.

My Review

In this book the murder scene is the sumptuous Gaiety Theatre, where an Asian tour by a talented group of actors, commences with a production of Hamlet.  The whole cast is suspect since no-one else was seen to enter the theatre during rehearsal time and it is soon evident to Inspector de Silva that there are many secrets to uncover.  But he is also frustrated by the actions of his superior, Assistant Government Agent, Archie Clutterbuck, who keeps him away from the victim’s wife, Kathleen Darnforth, and from young Emerald Watson, who may have been Mr Darnforth’s mistress.

Shanti de Silva leaves no stone unturned as he explores every nook and cranny of the old theatre and sets his sergeant and constable on thorough investigations.  However, their work is interrupted by an amusing interlude involving Mrs Clutterbuck’s pet Shih Tzu dog, Angel, and a large elephant.  There are fascinating descriptions of the busy market and of Shanti’s cool fragrant garden where he walks at the end of the day.

“As he turned to go back to the bungalow, something drifted into his hair.  He brushed it off and smelt again the sweet, intense fragrance of frangipani. The flower’s pale yellow gleamed against the dark lawn.  He remembered his mother saying that if a frangipani flower fell on your head, you would have good luck.  He hoped she was right.”

Inspector de Silva will need this good luck as he homes in on the culprit, putting himself in severe danger.  In a thrilling conclusion, he discovers a surprising twist which he hadn’t expected.

Once again, the complex social structure of 1930s colonial life is effectively recreated in a story about well-rounded characters in a colourful, exotic location.  The guide to the main characters provided at the beginning make it possible to enjoy this novel without needing to have read the first two.

Book description

There’s great excitement when a professional theatre company comes to Nuala. However, matters take a dark turn when the company’s actor manager is murdered. Inspector de Silva has a new case to solve and he has to consider some very unpalatable motives for the crime. He will need all his persistence, coupled with his wife, Jane’s, invaluable help to unmask the villain of the piece.

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.

Harriet Steel

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter