Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Cleverly's Joseph Sandilands ( The Palace Tiger0 , 2005) is back home from India enjoying the nightlife of Jazz Age London. After returning home late from a disappointing date, he is called to the posh Ritz Hotel, where Dame Beatrice Joliffe, the socially prominent founder of the Wrens (Women' s Royal Navy Society), lies dead. A broken window and a missing necklace point to a burglary gone wrong, and Scotland Yard wants Sandilands to resolve the case quickly and discreetly. When Dame Beatrice's companion, a former chorus girl, falls from Waterloo Bridge, and two other young Wrens commit suicide, it becomes clear that this case is no simple burglary. 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. --Barbara Bibel Copyright 2006 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
There is nothing like a dead Dame. While the well-to-do are hobnobbing at a birthday party in a private room at the Ritz, Dame Beatrice Jagow-Joliffe, one of the founding mothers of the Women's Royal Naval Service (the Wrens), tiptoes off to her room for an assignation and is murdered instead. Missing from the body are the prized family emeralds, even though DS William Armitage had been assigned to protect them from cat burglars and Constable Tilly Westhorpe discovered the bludgeoned body while it was still warm. Commander Joe Sandilands, just back from the subcontinent, is asked to look in, but to act as discreetly as you'd expect in 1926--and more discreetly than Dame Beatrice, who frolicked with either sex and may have joined one of her lovers, Petty Officer Donovan, in blackmailing sweet young Wrens into undermining certain political causes by threatening to reveal photographs of them en deshabill. For whatever reason, the Wrens have been killing themselves at an alarming rate, and a woman who knows all about what's going on is drowned in the Thames. Sandiland is told by the Admiralty and the Home Office to back off, but he persists, even turning his scrutiny on Armitage and ultimately on Westhorpe. If not quite as atmospheric as Sandiland's Indian excursions (Ragtime in Simla, 2003, etc.), intricately plotted, with clever red herrings and a dnouement that depends on a Lanvin dress. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.