It is 1926 and Joe Sandilands is back from India, enjoying the frantic pleasures of Jazz Age London. Yet there is a darkness behind all that post-war gaiety. A woman has been found 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 much-respected member of the British establishment, Dame Beatrice Jagow-Joliffe, one of the founders of the Wrens, and so Scotland Yard sends Joe to conduct a swift inquiry. He soon discovers that this Dame was no tweed-wearing matron – Titian-haired Beatrice wore evening gowns by Lanvin and perfume by Caron, and she drank cocktails and had a young lover.’ ‘But it seems that death dogs her footsteps and Joe finds himself enquiring into the apparent suicides of three young women who had been close to her. He is dismayed when he is suddenly called upon by his superiors to close the case and surrender the file. Against the background of the looming General Strike and pressure from unseen government forces, he battles on, picking his way around the political panic and hostile authorities, through to a shattering solution.
Barbara Cleverlys Joe Sandilands series of books are set against the background of the Indian Empire. They are inspired by the contents of a battered old tin trunk that she found in her attic. Out of it spilled two centuries of memories of a family – especially a great uncle who spent a lot of time in India – whose exploits and achievements marched in time with the flowering of the British Empire.