📚Vintage #Mystery. @LizanneLloyd Reviews Stardust in Nuala by @harrietsteel1 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Liz has been reading Stardust In Nuala by Harriet Steel.

It is Spring 1941 in Ceylon and in the small hill town of Nuala the war in Europe has little effect, but a visiting film crew from Bombay is very disruptive to the peace and quiet as Inspector Shanti de Silva’s small police team is responsible for controlling the excited crowd. All goes well for the final filming at the Royal Nuala Cricket Club of a dramatic, colourful devil dance. The film company is owned by the famous actor, Dev Khan, who stars as the King, with his second wife, Sunita, as the Queen. Shanti and his English wife Jane are invited for drinks by Ashok, Dev’s efficient PA, but they find Dev rather full of himself and his relationship with his two stepsons, who also work for the film company, is problematic.

When a member of the family is found dead in the grounds of their hotel Shanti asks his friend, the hotel manager, to assist him with investigations. Meanwhile at the house of Archie Clutterbuck, the Assistant Government Agent, the mysterious disappearance of small items and the distress of his dog, are alarming and of course Shanti is expected to solve this case too.

The delight of this series is the warm relationship of the de Silvas and the pleasure Shanti takes from good Sinhalese food and sitting quietly with his cat Bella on his lap.  His leadership and care about his sergeant and constable are admirable and he puts his clever mind to good use solving seemingly impossible investigations. If this is the first volume of this series you read, the cast list at the beginning will be very helpful. Another intriguing mystery in a fascinating era.

Orange rose book description
Book description

A celebrated Indian film company comes to Nuala, sprinkling its stardust over the quiet little town and keeping Inspector de Silva busy. With the end of the visit at last in sight, he looks forward to returning to a more peaceful existence, but a sudden death dashes his hopes. With Jane’s help and that of a new ally, he’s drawn into the turbulent affairs of a warring family. Meanwhile, a mysterious intruder is causing trouble at the Residence.

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‘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.

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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


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

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