A woman has been discovered bludgeoned to death in her suite at the Ritz. A broken window and missing emerald necklace suggest that it is a burglary gone wrong. But the corpse is that of a member of the British establishment, Dame Beatrice Joliffe, one of the founders of the Wrens, and so Scotland Yard send Joe to conduct a swift enquiry.
Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. She now lives in the middle of Cambridge.
Set in 1926, Cleverly's stellar fifth Commander Joe Sandilands novel finally brings the Scotland Yarder home to England from India. The empathy and shrewdness Sandilands showed in previous books (The Palace Tiger, etc.) is very much on display when he receives a late night summons to probe the murder of a prominent establishment figure, Dame Beatrice Joliffe, viciously bludgeoned to death in her room at the Ritz Hotel. Aided by a new pair of assistants, a former army subordinate, Sergeant Armitage, and Constable Tilly Westhorpe, the commander finds reason to believe that the crime was more complicated than a jewel theft gone bad. And though Britain is at peace, Sandilands can't ignore the anxious political undercurrents that suggest the murder may have ramifications for national security. As always, the author scrupulously plays fair, and the careful reader who puts the pieces together will be gratified with a logical and chilling explanation. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A great blood and guts blockbuster. - GuardianIn some ways [Cleverly] surpasses the work of Agatha Christie. - Publishers WeeklyA well plotted first novel... the atmosphere of the dying days of the Raj is colourfully captured - Sunday Telegraph
The much-anticipated fifth entry in the Joe Sandilands series (after The Palace Tiger) finds Joe, who had been solving crimes in India, back in London and a CID Commander for Scotland Yard. He is called out to head the investigation of the murder of Dame Beatrice Jagow-Joliffe in her suite at the Ritz. As one of the founders of the Wrens (Women's Royal Naval Service) during World War I, Dame Beatrice is quite influential politically in 1926. The team Joe assembles includes his old sergeant from their army days and Women's Police Constable Mathilda Westhorpe, who has impressed all with her intelligence and ability. Looking for motives and possible suspects, they investigate Dame Beatrice's dysfunctional family and her dark side. Roaring Twenties London serves as the perfect backdrop for Cleverly's portrayals of women in various stages of emancipation, as well as her depiction of a British aristocracy struggling to hold on to their eroding power base. Once again Cleverly has written a beautifully plotted, character-driven masterpiece that will be snapped up by fans of historical mysteries. She lives in Cambridge, England. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.