RAGTIME IN SIMLA
Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands returns for his second, though unofficial, assignment in 1920s India. On his way to a holiday in the summer resort town of Simla, Joe impetuously offers a lift from the railway station to famed Russian baritone Feodor Korsovsky. When Korsovsky is shot to death by a sniper just inches from his host, Joe vows to find the killer.
Though a bit slow to start, this novel picks up pace considerably after the first two chapters. Cleverly offers impeccable characterization, to the extent that I felt I knew the players personally, and the séance scene had me holding my breath, eyes wide with excitement. Although I hadn't read the first in the series, The Last Kashmiri Rose, I was so impressed with this novel that I've put it next on my to-be-read pile. (Oct., 288 pp., $24.00)