Barbara Cleverly's mysteries set in 1920s India

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Barbara Cleverly's mysteries set in 1920s India

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1bibliotheque
Ago 4, 2006, 8:58 am

I've read the first three of these, and they're not bad at all: the writing style isn't quite as deep or polished as that of other historical mystery writers I've come across, but she's added lots of telling "Raj" details and the central detective, Joe Sandilands, is a genuinely likable cove.

Anyone else read any? What did you think?

2marcinyc
Ago 4, 2006, 9:25 am

Actually have all of these on Mt TBR and have been eyeing them as 'summer reading', but have not picked them up yet. You've just encouraged me to start the first one at the beach tomorrow -- provided I can get off my non-fiction kick.

3quartzite
Ago 5, 2006, 8:14 am

I have read the ones set in India and they were are all good solid books, not fabulous, but fun. I have yet to get the next one which is set back in England.

4aarti
Ago 10, 2006, 6:42 pm

I read the fourth one very recently. I think it's fine, but nothing to really write home about. I think I have a review for it here. I suppose it captures the Raj mentality well, but I don't know- there was nothing about the story that jumped out and screamed INDIA to me, I guess.

5bibliotheque
Out 8, 2006, 5:13 pm

Just to say, I've just finished The Palace Tiger and it's by far the best out of the four - this is the one I'll be recommending people start with in future!

6FicusFan
Dez 25, 2006, 9:52 am


I enjoy the series, though I agree it is a bit on the light side. I still have to read Palace Tiger.

There is another good series about the end of the Raj, though not a mystery. It is Paul Scott's Raj Quartet and PBS had a series based on it a while ago. The books are:

The Jewel in the Crown
The Day of the Scorpion
The Towers of Silence
A Division of the Spoils

7bibliotheque
Dez 26, 2006, 2:39 pm

I'd love to read Scott's Raj Quartet, the TV series based on it was terrific! (I also need to read M. M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions, given that I enjoyed the series based on that as well.) One book I really need to finish is Richard Holmes' Sahib, it had lots of useful information for a light reader such as myself, but I suspect I should get a little more background under my belt before I tackle it again...

8FicusFan
Dez 27, 2006, 1:49 am


I loved Far Pavilions too.

There is also another series about the Raj, but it is older and very un-PC. It was my mother's and I read them as a kid, and now I still have the books. They were very good but definitely old fashioned in terms of sex and race.

The author is John Masters the books are:

Bugles and a Tiger
The Road Past Mandalay
The Venus of Konpara
The Ravi Lancers
Coromandel !
The Deceivers
Bhowani Junction
To The Coral Strand

Some are fiction and some are not. He was a Brit whose family was part of the Raj, and involved with the Army I think.

Bhowani Junction was made into a Hollywood movie in the 50's. My favorite is The Deceivers, which is about the Thugees and the religious cult of serial killers that used to prey on travlers for Kali.

9aarti
Dez 27, 2006, 10:22 am

There is a non-fiction book about the Thugee cult as well (which is where the word "thug" is derived from). It is by Kevin Rushby, and is called Children of Kali.

It seems that everyone is recommending books about India from the Colonial perspective. There are a lot of great books by Indians, too, you know :-)

10FicusFan
Editado: Dez 30, 2006, 1:27 am

But the title of this thread is Barbara Cleverly's series, which is about the Raj. The Raj is about the English and their colonization and the attempt to set up a foreign civilization on top of the native one. Indians were just the hired help, and the scenery to most of the Raj.

Great books by Indians would belong in another thread, unless you are talking about Indians commenting on the Raj in their stories.

11aarti
Jan 20, 2007, 1:15 am

I was really just making a light joke. I don't particularly know of any Indian historical mystery series (except this one, I suppose). I didn't know the discussion was so structured! I shall duly take my comments on Indian authors elsewhere :-)