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1926. The war-ravaged vineyards of France. In this masterpiece of suspense from CWA Historical Dagger Award winner Barbara Cleverly, a nameless soldier plunges Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands into a shifting world of deception, rage, and murder. A well-earned vacation takes a sharp detour when Sandilands is called to France, where a shell-shocked patient a tragic casualty of war is in the throes of a violent nightmare. Trying to determine the mystery man s identity proves a difficult, internationally delicate task: several families are claiming the unknown soldier as their own. But it is at a famed chateau, where the wine flows and disturbing secrets abound, that Sandilands meets a woman who takes his investigation in a chillingly different direction. Strong-willed and alluring Aline Houdart s husband has been missing and presumed dead for nearly ten years. Her true motives are as elusive as the truth about a long-ago night when a horrific crime was committed and lives changed forever. Now Sandilands, an ex-soldier himself, a man who has seen his share of bloodshed and sorrow, is waging his own battle for justice. It is a fight for his fallen comrades that will unmask a killer. Or bury the truth forever "
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About the Author

Barbara Cleverly is the author of nine novels of historical suspense, including The Damascened Blade, winner of the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, The Last Kashmiri Rose, Ragtime in Simla, The Palace Tiger, The Bee's Kiss, Tug of War, An Old Magic and The Tomb of Zeus. She lives in Cambridge, England where she is now at work on the newest Joe Scandilands novel, Folly du Jour.

Reviews

Set in 1926 France, Cleverly's impressive sixth Joe Sandilands novel (after 2005's The Bee's Kiss) finds the Scotland Yard detective, still scarred by WWI, taking a relaxing jaunt around Provence until Sir Douglas Redmayne of the British War Office gives him a sensitive assignment: to ascertain the identity of an amnesiac war veteran who's surfaced in a French hospital speaking English. As the French government would provide a lucrative pension to the soldier's family, there's no shortage of people who claim him as their relation. Accompanied by his precocious ward and honorary niece, Dorcas Joliffe, Sandilands probes the four most likely candidates, each of whom has ample motive to lie. Before long, an old murder is uncovered, further complicating the quest to identify the soldier. Cleverly maintains the high standards set by earlier Sandilands tales, blending a sophisticated whodunit with full-blooded characters and a revealing look at her chosen time and place. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Places Cleverly in the first rank of historical mystery writers. . . It evokes and in some ways surpasses, the work of Agatha Christie." "Stellar . . . 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." "As always, Cleverly combines a colorful historical setting (London standing in this time for India) with a complex plot and well-developed characters. The Sandilands series, now five books old, would make a natural for fans of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody."

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