Dell, Nov 2004, 6.99, 353 pp.
In 1919 Alice Conyers reaches Paris, the first leg of her trek to India to take over the reigns of the Imperial and Colonial Trading Corporation. Since the death of her brother Lionel during World War I, she inherited 51% of the stock while her second cousin who she plans to marry owns the rest. However, their train falls into a ravine killing almost all on board. Alice continues on to India where she makes her firm a success.
In 1922 Northern India, Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands has finished up his tour of duty in India and is now the guest of Sir George Jardine, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. He plans to spend a month in the guest cottage at Simla at the base of the Himalayas. Joe gives a lift to Russian opera singer Feador Korosovsky and witnesses his murder in the car driving them to Sir George. He reports the homicide and learns that Lionel, Alice's brother died in the same spot with the same MO. Sir George asks Joe to help the authorities. He does finding all roads lead to Alice and that train wreck.
The exotic locale enhances the mystery and romance by adding an aura of danger to the westerners. RAGTIME FOR SIMLA provides readers with a sense of time and place during the final hours before the sunset of the British Empire.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner
Elizabeth James on 2/25/2015 6:16:17 PM says: Whilst I found the book interesting I find it increasingly annoying that people do not research the actual conditions of life in British India. For example "Breakfast of Chapati etc." for a British person would never have happened in ordinary circumstances unless they were marooned somewhere. I grew up in India and spent time in the Himalayas, going to school in Darjeeling and visiting Simla, Dehra Dun, Missouri - Kalka - all these places and NEVER did I ever breakfast on chapatis±! Also, the whole purpose of going to the hills as we called it was to get away from the heat so it was not hot on the toy train because these little trains only operated in the mountains. Life during the Raj was entirely British in its culture for the people and employees of the Raj. I have written books about my life in India but cannot find a publisher and yet these completely fictional accounts seem to get published