Ragtime for Simla Book Review Summary

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Ragtime for Simla

Dell, Nov 2004, 6.99, 353 pp.
ISBN: 0440242231

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.

Harriet Klausner

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

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Chapter Analysis of Ragtime for Simla

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1900-1920's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   80% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, British Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   India

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Barbara Cleverly Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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