Author: Harriet Steel
Category: Cosy Mystery, Historical Fiction, Book Review
It’s January 1940 and the day of Nuala’s famous motor rally. Excitement is at full throttle, but matters take a dark turn when that same evening, human remains are found buried in a lonely corner of a local tea plantation.
Inspector de Silva has a cold case to solve. Add a playboy racing driver, a missing Bugatti and a family scandal hushed up years ago into the mix and he has plenty to think about. You can be sure that whatever happened in the past, now de Silva’s in the driving seat, you’re in for a gripping ride.
The story opens as Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are attending Nuala’s famous car rally, the Hill Country Challenge held every four years, along with Archie and Florence Clutterbuck and Charlie Frobisher and his lady friend. This was de Silva’s third time at the rally but his appreciation of the array of wonderful cars, including a Bentley, Maserati and Bugatti, has not diminished. After the excitement of the race Charlie treated them all to a round of cocktails.
The next day de Silva had a call from the Residence. A Sunday morning call from Clutterbuck didn’t bode well and de Silva wondered what could have happened.
It seems Johnny Perera, the winner of the previous day’s race, and some of his pals had paid a late night visit to a local plantation. Perera’s dog had slipped his leash and unearthed some bones that turned out to be human.
De Silva groaned inwardly. As he’d feared, it was the end of his quiet Sunday.
‘I’m going up to the plantation shortly,’ Archie went on. ‘I’ll pick you up on my way. I can fill you in a bit more as we drive.’
‘Very well. You said only Marina Moncrieff lives at the plantation now. Does she know what’s happened?’
‘I’m not sure. Apparently, she didn’t come out to see what was going on, but Perera and his friends didn’t arrive until late, and it was even later when they made their unpleasant discovery. Maybe the servants didn’t want to disturb her. We’ll have to find out more about that.’
De Silva is tasked with a complicated case, trying to work out whose bones have lain buried for many years, while having to tread carefully since Archie didn’t investigate a certain disappearance fully initially. Ably assisted by Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar, de Silva follows all avenues, even if they necessitate night time work and a close encounter he would have much preferred to avoid.
I enjoyed the cold case aspect of the story, which was plausible and convincing. And as always, the location is fully realised with wonderful descriptions of the countryside, the flora and fauna and delicious sounding food.
Change is on the horizon in Ceylon as has been hinted at with some underlying edginess between the two cultures. Although the country was still part of the British Empire in 1940 and as such officially at war with Germany, the citizens were not actively involved.
I chose to read and review Cold Case in Nuala based on a copy kindly supplied by the author.
Harriet Steel grew up in London and Wiltshire but now lives in Surrey.
Married with two daughters, she has worked in fields from law to libraries. Her interests are travel, history and art, all of which have inspired the four historical novels she wrote before turning to crime with The Inspector de Silva Mysteries.
She reads widely, but in the mystery genre is particularly fond of vintage mysteries. She would love to go back in time for a day and have lunch with Hercule Poirot, tea with Miss Marple, and dinner at the Ritz with Lord Peter Wimsey.
Image by Nina Butts from Pixabay
Author: Marjory McGinn
Published: 2nd Edition ~ February 2015 by Pelagos Press
Category: Memoir, Travel, Humour, Book Review
After an Arctic winter, a British recession, and a downturn in the newspaper industry, two journalists and their dog embark on an adventure in the wild and beautiful southern Peloponnese. A perfect plan, except for one thing – Greece is deep in economic crisis. And if fiscal failure can’t overturn the couple’s escapade in rural Greece, perhaps macabre local customs, a scorpion invasion, zero dog-tolerance, health scares, and touchy expats will.
Marjory McGinn and her husband Jim, along with their manic (but loveable) Jack Russell, Wallace, decided to escape the British recession and relocate to Greece, despite the financial crisis and repercussions, leaving behind their Scottish village and one of the coldest winters in years. Having spent many holidays in Greece, they chose the hill village of Megali Mantineia in the Mani region as their home for the following twelve months.
Author: Susan Allott
Published: April 2021 by The Borough Press (paperback edition)
Category: Literary Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Book Review
A missing woman
30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of a Sydney summer, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared without a trace.
A cold case reopened
In 1997, in a basement flat in Hackney, Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father is under suspicion of Mandy’s murder.
A devastating secret
How well does Isla know her father? Is he capable of doing something terrible? And is there another secret in their community – a conspiracy of silence which stretches deep into Australia’s past?
After reading FictionFan’s review I knew this would be a book I’d enjoy, and I certainly did! In 1997 Isla Green was living in London and, awakened at 2am one night by a phone call from her father in Australia, she knew immediately something was wrong. Her father never called. He hated the telephone and always wrote letters.
Author: Rachel K Parsonage
Kindle Edition published February 2021
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Medical, Child Abuse, Book Review
On the 23rd March 2020, the UK went into lockdown due to the pandemic threat of COVID-19. After experiencing back problems, Dave Williams has exchanged working as a builder for a job as a porter in a local hospital. Dave is enjoying his job. He has lived a happy life for the past thirty years with his wife and family. His childhood, however, was not so happy. Dave suddenly finds himself confronted with the demons of his past – he and his brother Ken were in care in the eighties, subject to a system unfit for purpose. When faced with the main perpetrator of the harm caused to them, Dave, unrecognisable in his protective equipment, finds revenge easy to execute.
We first meet Dave as he goes about his job as a hospital porter just as the world begins to face the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially he seems an unlikeable character, but then we’re transported back to 1977 when Dave and his brother Ken lived with their abusive mother.
Author: Simon Van der Velde
Published: March 2021 by Smoke and Mirrors Press
Genre: Short Stories, Biographical, Literary Fiction
Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.
Backstories comprises fourteen intriguing tales of life changing moments in the lives of well known characters. The author has given his imagination free rein to pen concise but evocative descriptions, giving impressions, something that just might have some truth in it, of certain people before fame or notoriety claimed them. The twist being they are not fully named, in some cases not at all or not named as we might know them. It’s up to the reader to guess their identities.