This is the second in a series of novels in which Joe Sandilands, a London policeman, finds himself investigating crimes in India in the 1920s.
Like the first, the book seems well researched although not based on personal experience. The story is quite exciting and the plot rather complex; perhaps too complex.
Again, it's a story of British India, and this time almost all of the characters are Europeans (British, French, Russian). Nominally, there are a few Indian characters, but they have very little to say.
Two men have been very clearly murdered in Simla (shot with a rifle), and Joe Sandilands is looking for the killer in a difficult social situation with a variety of suspects and motives.
After reading two of these Joe Sandilands novels, I enjoyed both, but there are certain aspects that I'm not happy with.
- The plots seem rather contrived. Yes, these things could happen, but they seem rather improbable.
- Although the author has done her research, she seems to me rather ambitious in describing a country she may never have visited in a period before she was born.
- Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I find Joe's serial flirtations with women a bit tedious. I start wishing he'd marry one of them and settle down. Oops! What would my younger self think, if he could read this!
- It bothers me that the characters are so disposable. The first and second books have only two characters in common, the rest are gone with the wind. Well, OK, if you read short stories, characters will come and go even more quickly, but in a linked series of novels I've come to expect a bit more continuity.
Written in July 2009