Strange Images of Death: A Joe Sandilands Murder Mystery and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
CDN$ 0.39
Used: Good | Details
Sold by bwbuk_ltd
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Your purchase also supports literacy charities.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Strange Images of Death Hardcover – Mar 25 2010


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Mar 25 2010
CDN$ 84.03 CDN$ 0.39

Best Canadian Books of 2014
Stone Mattress is our #1 Canadian pick for 2014. See all

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (March 25 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849011184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849011181
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,458,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Barbara Cleverly:

"Despite her mastery at vivid scene-setting, Cleverly never loses sight of the historical puzzle that is central to her story. Simply put, it's a stunner."—New York Times

"Spectacular and dashing. Spellbinding."—New York Times Book Review

"Excellent.... Golden age fans who appreciate deceptive storytelling enhanced by the kind of in-depth characterization lacking in Agatha Christie will be more than satisfied."—Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"This series and its hero age well: the perspicacious Sandilands exhibits an arresting combination of Mary Russell's discernment and Chief Inspector Wexford's tenacious certainty."—Booklist Starred Review

"Cleverly's crisp prose and solid cast of supporting characters ... make the book a delight to read."—Denver Post

"Stylish and intricate.... Cleverly has perfect pitch for period and place, whether her hero is unearthing evil in India, England or France."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"A great blood and guts blockbuster."—Guardian

"Atmospheric ... intricately plotted."—Kirkus Reviews  --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara Cleverly lives in the middle of Cambridge surrounded by ancient buildings and bookshops. She was born and educated in the North of England at a Yorkshire grammar school and then at Durham University. She is currently working on a new series set in the golden age of archaeology, which is also published by Constable.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 4 2010
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: He studied her sleeping face for the last time.

Scotland Yard Commander Joe Sandilands is taking Dorcas, his friend's 14-year-old daughter, to meet her artist father at an old castle in Provence. On the way, she asks Joe to find the mother who abandoned her when she was 2 years old. Upon arrival, there is a second mystery to solve. It begins with the destruction of a tomb figure, escalates to the death of a rabbit and culminates in the murder of a beautiful woman. Forced to work with French Commissaire Francis Jacquemin, known for arresting first, then forcing confessions, Joe much ensure he catches the proper killer and prevents any more deaths.

Characters; it is they who bring a story to life and Cleverly's characters do not disappoint. They are fully developed with their backgrounds established and their personalities distinct. We not only learn about Joe, for those who've not read previous books in the series, but are told of his appearance in an unforced manner.

A predominant young character can be awkward, but not here. Dorcas, his 14 year old 'niece' is someone who holds her own. She is someone I want to see remain part of the series, if not in every book but certainly in the future. There was a character I felt wasn't as strong an element as I thought might be, but I was okay with that.

Cleverly is a very visual writer, whether in panorama or in detail. You have a real sense of their surroundings at all times. I appreciate dialogue that has a natural ear and flow with a touch of humor, and she satisfies on all aspects.

This book's opening hook is very strong; suspenseful, dramatic and ultimately brutal without the reader having to witness the act.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 25 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"There's something ancient and wicked here." May 15 2010
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A killer is on the loose in Provence, France, in the latest Joe Sandilands novel, "Strange Images of Death," by Barbara Cleverly. The story opens with an unsettling scene of wanton destruction committed by an unidentified and clearly mad individual. Cleverly then segues to Joe Sandilands who is driving his "niece," fourteen-year-old Dorcas, to visit her father, the charming but impractical Orlando Joliffe, a self-indulgent bohemian who is charming but not overly paternal.

Although Joe and Dorcas are unrelated, the bachelor has an easy camaraderie with this bright, sensitive, and sometimes sarcastic young lady. Joe, a Commander at London's Scotland Yard, hopes to drop Dorcas off and proceed as soon as possible to Antibes on the Riviera to enjoy his vacation. Alas, the detective's plans for a period of rest and relaxation are thwarted. One reason is that Dorcas, who was nurtured lovingly by Joe's kindhearted sister, Lydia, asks him to track down her birth mother, whom she never knew. When Joe and Dorcas arrive at their destination, the grand and ancient Chateau de Silmont, they find Orlando with a lively group of male and female companions. They are spending the summer squabbling, drinking, painting, modeling, sculpting, dancing, writing poetry, taking photographs, having affairs, and letting their children run wild. Cleverly evokes the free and creative spirit of the time (1926), when daring artists such as Picasso and Matisse experimented with form, line, and color. Surrealism was just coming into vogue. Although Joe agrees to stay with Dorcas for a day or so, he remains far longer. First, he agrees to look into the aforementioned act of vandalism and, later, the untimely and unnatural death of one of the guests. Although he is working only in an unofficial capacity, the experienced Sandilands puts his finely-honed powers of observation and deduction to good use.

"Strange Images of Death" is literate and intelligently written, although Cleverly's heavy-handed use of British period slang, laced with too many exclamation points, can be a bit irritating. Still, the author's wit, keen eye for detail, and feel for history and art make this an entertaining and appealing mystery. Joe, who speaks fluent French, joins forces with Commissaire Jacquemin of Paris and Lieutenant Martinueau of Marseilles to assemble the pieces of a complex and baffling puzzle. Although this investigation is time-consuming, Joe keeps his promise to Dorcas, making inquiries that will lead to surprising information about her parentage. Cleverly's style may not be to everyone's taste, but patient and thoughtful readers will be amply rewarded not only by the involving whodunit, but also by allusions to the "inhuman acts of destruction" that took place during the first World War, leaving many soldiers dead or scarred for life; the disturbing portrayal of decadent individuals who live for the moment; and the astute analysis of the ways in which dysfunctional people inflict irrevocable harm on themselves and others.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Mad happenings in a French château April 24 2010
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Commander Joe Sandilands of Scotland Yard is once again embroiled in a very strange case. He never seems to encounter a garden-variety crime.

This case arises outside his jurisdiction, in a French château in Provence. It's 1926, and Joe is off to the Riviera for a holiday. On the way he's delivering his niece to her artist father. At the invitation of the lord de Stilmont, some twenty artistic types have gathered at the château for a summer of painting, sculpting and photography.

The locals call it the Château du Diable because of certain dark crimes in its past. But Joe finds a modern crime awaiting him in the ancient fortress. Someone has smashed a priceless medieval tomb sculpture of the wantonly beautiful Aliénore de Stilmont. Very quickly the violence escalates to human murder, preventing Joe from leaving as planned.

Eccentric characters abound: the half-mad lord and his suspiciously good looking cousin, Joe's precocious fourteen-year-old niece, a lascivious ballet impresario, Joe's laid-back artist friend with four kids by four different mothers, the beautiful young artist's model doomed by her resemblance to Aliénore - and a self-important French Commissaire whom Joe must tame.

One side of Joe's face is scarred by shrapnel; the other side is quite handsome. In keeping with his two faces, Joe vacillates between showing compassion and talking like an "unfeeling bugger," to quote one of the characters. I must confess I find the satirical Joe a bit jarring.

Nonetheless the plot is clever and steeped in tantalizing themes of infidelity and questionable parentage. Followers of Joe Sandilands should enjoy this book. But I'd encourage new readers to start at the beginning of the series, with The Last Kashmiri Rose.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent book in a wonderful series May 4 2010
By L. J. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: He studied her sleeping face for the last time.

Scotland Yard Commander Joe Sandilands is taking Dorcas, his friend's 14-year-old daughter, to meet her artist father at an old castle in Provence. On the way, she asks Joe to find the mother who abandoned her when she was 2 years old. Upon arrival, there is a second mystery to solve. It begins with the destruction of a tomb figure, escalates to the death of a rabbit and culminates in the murder of a beautiful woman. Forced to work with French Commissaire Francis Jacquemin, known for arresting first, then forcing confessions, Joe much ensure he catches the proper killer and prevents any more deaths.

Characters; it is they who bring a story to life and Cleverly's characters do not disappoint. They are fully developed with their backgrounds established and their personalities distinct. We not only learn about Joe, for those who've not read previous books in the series, but are told of his appearance in an unforced manner.

A predominant young character can be awkward, but not here. Dorcas, his 14 year old "niece" is someone who holds her own. She is someone I want to see remain part of the series, if not in every book but certainly in the future. There was a character I felt wasn't as strong an element as I thought might be, but I was okay with that.

Cleverly is a very visual writer, whether in panorama or in detail. You have a real sense of their surroundings at all times. I appreciate dialogue that has a natural ear and flow with a touch of humor, and she satisfies on all aspects.

This book's opening hook is very strong; suspenseful, dramatic and ultimately brutal without the reader having to witness the act. It is also, we soon learn, the first of many excellent twists within the plot, this first so subtle you don't realize it until later. Cleverly skillfully interweaves interesting historical information into the story as well as providing an adept explanation of French and English police ranks and an amazing assessment of Van Gogh's self portrait.

These are only a few examples of the deftness with which Ms. Cleverly writes as none of these caused a break in the flow of the story. Add to that an emotional secondary mystery, and just the right touch of suspense and you have a well thought out and well executed traditional mystery.

Each year I plan for the release of the newest Sandilands book to order as soon as it is available. If you've not read them, do start at the beginning of the series and set aside uninterrupted time to enjoy each one. I know why they rank so high on my "must read" list; they are excellent.

STRANGE IMAGES OF DEATH (Pol Proc-Comm. Joe Sandilands-France-Golden Age/1926) - Ex
Cleverly, Barbara - 8th in series
Constable, ©2010, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 9781849011181

[...]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
CAUGHT UP IN THE MYSTERY June 17 2010
By Mary Anne Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another of "can't put it down" novels by Barbara Cleverly. A different theme of an artists' colony in an old castle with children running wild and twisted artistic people. Joe Sandisand comes as a guest and then chaos happens! I collect Barbara's novels and this one is another I "can't put down".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"It was Lady Moon Who Suggested It..." June 17 2010
By R. M. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This, the eighth historical-mystery starring Joe Sandilands, a high-ranking commander in Scotland Yard, begins with a mysterious murder, in which a clearly unhinged assailant watches a beautiful slumbering woman before attacking her with a blunt instrument.

After this unnerving prologue, the action moves (and largely stays with) Cleverly's protagonist, the detective Joe Sandilands, as he drives his foster-niece Dorcas to Chateau de Silmont in the south of France in the summer of 1926. There he is met with an eclectic group of artists that have been gathered by Lord de Silmont: painters, sculptors and photographers, along with Dorcas's father Orlando Joliffe. Along with the expected rivalries and jealousies that Joe expected amongst such a group, he also senses something more sinister from the moment he steps foot in the castle: a sense of dread and menace lurking just out of sight.

His suspicions are confirmed when the events of the prologue are explained: an alabaster effigy of the past lady of the castle has been desecrated, and the gathering now live in fear that circumstances will repeat themselves: only next time it might be a real body that's been hacked into bits. At Orlando's request, Joe agrees to stay on in order to investigate the vandalism and assuage the growing panic. Suspects aren't in short supply: there's the charismatic but erratic Lord de Silmont, his quiet and watchful steward, the lecherous ballet-instructor Petrovsky, and the vivacious yet nervous artist's model Estelle.

Along with all this, Joe has another commission, one from Dorcas herself, who asks that he help her find her birth-mother. She'll get no help from her father (who has fathered four other children on four different mothers, all of whom are running wild around the chateau - the children that is, not the mothers), and so Joe takes it upon himself to make some inquiries, with rather surprising results.

And then the inevitable (to the reader, anyway) happens. A young woman is found dead in bizarre circumstances, echoing a crime of passion that occurred in the chateau's distant past. Odd details surround the murder: a child went missing on the same night, there seems to have been no signs of struggle from the victim, a painting emerges that accurately foretells her death, and strange behaviour from all the inhabitants in the chateau is on the rise. Joe Sandilands has to work quickly in order to find the perpetrator before any other lives are put at stake.

All in all, this is another fascinating and entertaining read from mystery-writer Barbara Cleverly. After a bit of a false-step with Joe's previous outing in Folly du Jour, this is a big improvement that takes Joe right back to form, what with its rich environment, vivid characterizations, an accurate and rich portrayal of the time period, and of course a murder-mystery with plenty of twists and turns.

Sometimes the syntax can get a bit too complex, and even tips into purple prose a couple of times: "colorful diaphanous clothing, floating scarves and gypsy colors made a gallant riposte to the aridity of the white spaces," and as always, though her dialogue is witty and direct, it never sounds like something an actual person would say: "All those years of soldering...if you survive them, you never loose it, you know...But you're right. Blue funk it is! You're the only person ever to have caught me in one - or, rather, recognized it for what it is: fear. Soldier's best friend. Keeps you alive. It's the icicle-between-the-shoulder-blades feeling of a gun barrel sighting on you...the normally steady foot that hesitates and changes course a split second before treading down on something nasty. An instinct for survival." This speech is given when Joe gets an uneasy feeling on entering the chateau's courtyard, and it's far from being the last overly-dramatic discourse in the novel.

(And this has nothing to do with the text, but what's with the awful cover art? A giant mauve hand? What's that got to do with anything in the plot? In the past Cleverly has gotten great covers to go with her equally great stories, but this one feels like someone in the publishing house was in a hurry.)

Still, it was great settling down with another Cleverly mystery - the only problem is that I now face another long wait until the next one.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback