A Very Private Enterprise
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A Very Private Enterprise

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  91 ratings  ·  24 reviews
To his colleagues, co-workers and friends (did he have any real friends?), Hugo Frenchman was the consummate British civil servant. A bit dull, perhaps; a bit fussily fastidious, a bit of a stickler for protocol. But in the right position, even dullness can be a virtue. And as Her Majesty's "Head of Chancery" in India, Frenchman was the ideal man to make up the numbers at...more
Paperback, 323 pages
Published November 15th 2007 by Felony & Mayhem (first published 1985)
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Susan
The author is British, as are most of the characters. That is why I've placed this book on the British Isles Mysteries shelf. Since the story takes place in New Dehli and Tibet it's also been given a place on the the Non-Brit Mysteries shelf.

This was a very well-written story and an impressive first novel. Elizabeth Ironside (who is actually Lady Catherine Manning, wife of a British diplomat), did a fine job of constructing a worthy mystery that centers on the murder of a member of the British H...more
Annabelle
Sinclair, officer for Her Majesty’s Government sent to India to see if there are any security leaks linked to the death of Hugo Frenchman. Ruth , a Tibetan scholar, has been staying in Hugo’s house who helps him trace the wheel of dharma engraved on gold hidden in Hugo’s wall safe. Intrigue ensues. There is Ranjit, an extremely wealthy black markerter, who helped Hugo transport the gold, but also has Sinclair beat up and chases birth Sinclair and Ruth to a Tibetan monastery. A Russian diplomat,...more
Susan
This is, apparently, Ironside's first novel. In real life, she's Lady Catherine Manning, wife of a diplomat, so she really knows her background material. When Hugo Frencham, England's head of chancery in New Delhi is murdered, the foreign service wants to be sure that there are no security problems involved in the crime. So George Sinclair arrives from London. Middle-aged, separated from his wife, Sinclair thinks his emotional life is over, until he meets Janie, the Tibetan scholar who discovere...more
Kate
I enjoyed this book - it was a nice detective story set in India and involving the British diplomatic team. It isn't ground breaking and was a tad predictable, but fun characters, a solid storyline and that quirky British humor.
Sarah
A fun little mystery set in India and Kashmir. Elizabeth Ironside was married to a British diplomat, and you feel that she knows what she is writing about as she evokes the high commission community in Delhi. One of my favorite mysteries by my favorite mystery writer is set in Kashmir: Death in Kashmir by M.M. Kaye. This book reminded me of her novels, but without the same element of period charm.

The characters are minimally described but still well-drawn, there's a little romance thrown in with...more
Renee Bush
I liked this best, of the three Ironsides I have now read. For one thing, I like her masterful handling of the fact that the reader knew from chapter one who the murderer was; yet this reader still had to finish the story! I came away from it acknowledging that both lovers have important secrets, now, from each other, and this does not sound like the ideal foundation for a relationship--that, and the fact that they are so vastly different from one another! I get the impression, three books on no...more
Jules
I believe this is the third book I've read by this author (there are only 5 altogether). I very much enjoyed this mystery. Ironside's writing is very erudite and the book is full of details about the characters and India where the book is located. I really enjoyed the complexity of the relationship between the characters played against the beauty and mystery of India. Very good read especially for those that like mysteries that are not formulaic.
Elizabeth
A slow-starter, but engaging once you are through with the introductions. I liked how the author leads you to believe, along with the main characters, that the killer is one person, but on nearly the last page, she shows you the killer is someone else entirely, with a different motive. The setting of the book is really well done, you feel like you're in India, Kashmir, and Tibet along with the characters.
Carol
This Who-Dun-It set in India among British diplomats gives us plenty of local color, and that's what makes it good reading. There's nothing wonderful about the characters or plot (other than the local-color aspects) but the language is good. High-speed car-chases along Himalayan roads may be somewhat more colorful than those along California freeways, but not much.
Kristen
A serviceable mystery with a few interesting elements. I enjoyed the setting of 1980s India. The author (apparently the wife a British diplomat) also brought a unique sensibility to the interactions between her characters, as each conversation is framed as a competition in which whoever gives away the most information loses.
Mrs.
I had to force myself to finish reading this book. The writing is fine, the plot is ok, but the characters are so dull that I found myself thinking about doing housework instead of reading the book. Looking at other reviews, however, I seem to be in the minority, so don't be put off reading the book by this review.
Martha
I picked up this book as I was intrigued by the author...the wife of the former British ambassador to the US. I was disappointed to be disappointed in the book. The mystery is only incidental to the plot and the story left me unsatisfied.
Peachy
I enjoyed this book in a quick read- a beach book kind of way. I didn't admire any of the characters, but they were many were well drawn enough to keep my interest.
I'm not currently interested in reading any more of this author's work.
Sarah
Apr 09, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sarah by: Mom
Shelves: mystery
Another great mystery by Ironside. I didn't think the plot was as tight as "Death in the Garden" but I did enjoy how much time she spent on her characters and solving the mystery/murder. Looking forward to reading another one!
Ann
Jul 26, 2008 Ann rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Three and a half stars. Ironsides is an excellent writer but I just didn't enjoy this as much as her other mysteries - too many cliches in the plot and the characters, not as unusual or surprising. But fun anyway.
Margot
Mediocre. Not so bad that I didn't finish it, though. Written by the wife of a British diplomat about the post-colonial Indian diplomat scene in Delhi and Tibet, weaving in a barely compelling mystery plot.
Becca
Mar 12, 2012 Becca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
The book starts quite slowly, but does start to pick up toward the end. I'm glad I stuck with it, and will definitely keep an eye out for other books by Ironside.
Barbara
I actually liked this book better than I thought I was going to and am looking forward to reading another one of hers.
Elizabeth
This story moves slow but it keeps you interested by giving you small clues and new mysteries as the story progresses.
Trish
Enjoyed this British mystery set in India. Will seek out her other books. Well-written and clever.
Kay
Well written, kind of a quiet mystery although there are some very exciting parts. Very British.
Cece
This really dragged in some parts. I was disappointed.
Kennedy
Not near as good as Ironside's Death in the Garden
Odoublegood
easy pace; set in India
Judith
Very well written mystery.
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Elizabeth Ironside is the pseudonym of Lady Catherine Manning, wife of the British Ambassador to the U.S. Her first novel won Britain’s John Creasey Award for Best First Mystery of 1985, and Death in the Garden was nominated for Britain’s CWA Gold Dagger for Best Mystery of 1995.
More about Elizabeth Ironside...
Death in the Garden Accomplice A Good Death The art of deception

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