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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Mystery and intrigue spiced with humour .@harrietsteel1 #bynr #exoticbooks

Trouble in Nuala

Harriet Steel
When Inspector Shanti de Silva moves with his English wife, Jane, to a new post in the sleepy hill town of Nuala, he anticipates a more restful life than police work in the big city entails. However an arrogant plantation owner with a lonely wife, a crusading lawyer, and a death in suspicious circumstances present him with a riddle that he will need all his experience to solve.

Set on the exotic island of Ceylon in the 1930s, Trouble in Nuala is an entertaining and relaxing mystery spiced with humour and a colourful cast of characters.


Trouble in Nuala

Inspector Shanti de Silva exhaled a deep sigh of relief as the train left the sweltering lowlands of Colombo and commenced the long climb to Kandy. From his seat in the polished teak and leather opulence of the First-Class carriage, he watched the forest become denser with every mile, plantations of banana, king coconut and rubber trees jostling for space in the rich, red earth.
From time to time, the trees retreated to make way for the startling lime-green splash of a paddy field where egrets stood like white question marks, hungry for water snails and frogs. Elsewhere he saw dusty villages slumbering in the heat of the afternoon. Their elders squatted outside the huts, huddled in little oases of shade cast by overhanging roofs thatched with palm leaves. Village children, their energy less sapped by the heat, jumped up and ran alongside the tracks, waving and shouting until they tired of the race to keep up.
The train stopped at Kandy, obliging de Silva to pay a few rupees for a rickshaw man to take him on to the nearby station at Peradeniya where he had to wait an hour for the hill train. Even in the waiting room, there was no escape from the heat. It seemed to have coalesced into a damp, solid block that pressed down on the air, squeezing out every trace of freshness. He pushed a finger between the limp collar of his starched shirt and his perspiring neck and ran it round, then fanned himself with his hat.
A summons to attend as a witness in a trial at the High Court in Colombo had been the cause of this uncongenial journey. He consoled himself with the thought that his evidence had made a considerable contribution to the conviction of a gang of thieves who would no longer be at liberty to ply their nefarious trade in the city’s bazaars and public places. It had been a nuisance though that the trial had run into an extra day. He had hoped to be home for the weekend but it hadn’t been practical to make the slow journey after Friday’s hearing, only to return on Sunday in time for court the following day.