5.10.13

THE DAMASCENED BLADE, by Barbara Cleverly

3/series. India, 1922. Scotland Yard Inspector Joe Sandilands is still trapped in India, this time on the treacherous North West Frontier (present day Pakistan) where his old WWI friend James Lindsay is in charge of Gor Khatri, the last outpost before the Khyber Pass. Then pampered American heiress Lily Coblentz and an assortment of agenda-driven guests both military and private arrive at the fort, followed by an Afghani escort from beyond the Khyber. Startlingly handsome, British-educated Zeman Khan and his second-in-command are guests in the fort; Zeman quickly captures the heiress's interest. But in the morning, everything changes, and between murder, kidnappings and the threat of starting a new Afghan War, Joe has seven days to bring a killer to justice. A 4; for me, the chatty tone of dialogue gets a bit much after a while, but the authenticity and plot keeps the tale interesting. A 4.