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Strange Images of Death (Joe Sandilands #8)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  385 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
It's summertime in Provence, but there is no chance for Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands to relax. A troubling crime has been committed, leaving a clear message that more violence is to come. Helped - and hindered - by a rising star of the French Police Judiclaire, Joe looks to history to unravel the mysteries.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 25th 2010 by Constable (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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LJ
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 w
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Ruth Barrineau-brooks
Oct 22, 2016 Ruth Barrineau-brooks rated it it was amazing
Joe expects to stop briefly in Provence to drop off Dorcas and be on his way to his vacation, but mystery and murder soon change those plans. He finds himself trying to solve a murder before more people die and keep a promise to Dorcas. Dorcas' emerging character made this book even more interesting than the last. I really enjoy this series!
Susan in NC
May 12, 2015 Susan in NC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another satisfying Joe Sandilands mystery - I enjoy this favorite series more with each outing. I've seen in reviews that some fans prefer Joe's earlier adventures set in India, but I really enjoy each new mystery equally as a chance to learn more about the battle-hardened Scotland Yard commander and his interesting friends, family and fellow police officers and the changing political and social world they inhabit in post-WWI England and France.

A perfect example is this book - I remember learnin
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Dorothy
There are too many words in this novel! I wanted to like this book after reading and enjoying Folly du Jour, but it was very difficult to get into because there was so much superfluous prose. Too many unnecessary descriptions and asides, too much detail.

A good example is the chapter between the two French detectives, where the local guy, tasked with investigating the incident at the chateau, manages to palm it off on the Paris cop. A whole chapter for one conversation, which isn't even relevant
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Jim Leffert
Oct 09, 2011 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it
This character-driven historical mystery, which takes place in 1926, is a worthy addition to the author’s Joe Sandilands series. This time, the WWI veteran and Scotland Yard Commander is not in exotic India but rather in the South of France, visiting a venerable chateau. The chateau’s aristocratic owner has opened it to a group of artists, led by Orlando, the father of Joe’s teenage ward, Dorcas. Joe, along with two French Sureté detectives, is enlisted to solve the mystery of the brutal ...more
Debbie Maskus
Sep 19, 2010 Debbie Maskus rated it liked it
This is a Joe Sandilands mystery with the setting at a castle in France complete with the grandeur inside the castle and the breathtaking scenery. The story starts with the crime in the moment before the crime has been committed, then quickly shifts gear to the events leading to the crime and the description of various characters. Dorcas, a "niece" of Joe's, enters into the investigation, plus she discovers her own secrets. Cleverly subdues the discovery of the killer very well, but certain ...more
Susan
May 05, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
Joe Sandilands was planning to drop his adopted niece Dorcas with her father in the art colony where they will spend the summer. But first Dorcas begs him to help her find her long-missing mother, and then the chateau where he's to leave Dorcas seems to be the center of a crime wave. When there's a death, Joe must stay to help the French police, and also ensure Dorcas's safety, before he can enjoy the pleasures of the 1926 Riviera scene. A strange mixture of French, English, Russian, and ...more
Val Sanford
Jan 29, 2015 Val Sanford rated it really liked it
Joe and Dorcas arrive at the castle where her father, Orlando, is staying. While in route, Dorcas has asked Joe to find her real mother and reunite them. While Joe is getting his feet on the ground in Provence, a beautiful young woman is murdered by someone she trusts. The only witness is a young boy accidentally trapped in the room while the murder occurs.

Joe must find the killer before he or she strikes again. With false starts and false leads, Joe remains diligent in his search for the truth
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Carmen
Aug 17, 2012 Carmen rated it really liked it
Scotland Yard detective, Joe Sandilands, is on vacation in France. On his way to Antibes he is dropping off his niece. While in the Luberon, a priceless statue is destroyed. Then the next day a body is discovered. Sandilands joins the French forces to discover the murderer.

The details and the method of murder were quite intriguing. I've read a lot of mysteries, and this was unique. Jealousy, hate and misplaced love are often motives, ut not usually displayed in this manner.

Characterization is g
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Lorlee
Mar 25, 2016 Lorlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy this series and it is interesting to follow the characters through the books.

Joe and Dorcas are going to France to catch up with Orlando who is at a castle with a lot of other artists. The stone effigy of Alienor is destroyed and then a young woman is killed on the spot. The murderer is the historian who had her eyes on Lord Silmonts cousin -- who had fallen in love with the deceased who was carrying his child.

A side story is that the cook is Dorcas mother -- and Orlando is not her fathe
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BookBec
Feb 12, 2015 BookBec rated it liked it
First, my complaint: I dislike reading books in a series out of order. So I was annoyed to discover that although this was the 8th published book about Joe Sandilands, the author skipped back in time. In the chronology of Joe's detective work, this book comes immediately after #6, Tug of War.

Second, my praise: I was glad to see the murderer finally get to feel the hand of justice. So many of Cleverly's Sandilands books have some excuse for why nobody's arrested even when the case is solved. Also
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Margaret
Jul 30, 2014 Margaret rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This is the latest in a series, which began set in India during the Raj but whose hero (and trust me, dashing doesn't begin to get it across!) has now returned to England and France. I have to say that I enjoyed the India ones more; this is probably my favorite of the ones set in Europe. Still, I found the whole thing a bit flat, and lacking the intensity that earlier books in the series have had. I'll keep reading them because they're fun and well-written, but I'm not going to say this is a ...more
Kay
Aug 05, 2015 Kay rated it really liked it
Barbara Cleverly is one of my favorite authors. I love her novels set in India. This one did not hold my interest as much as her other novels. Part of the problem may have been me. I had been reading an excellent but different type of novel and could not switch my mindset sufficiently to appreciate a slow burn crime thriller. I may at a future time come back to it. Normally, I do not give a rating if I have not finished, but Strange Images of Death deserves a better effort and I did read two ...more
Susan
Jun 15, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Scotland Yard Commander Sandilands returns in 1926 France, where he is dropping off Dorcas Joliffe, his honorary niece, at an old chateau where her father is engaged in an artist’s retreat. Upon their arrival, Joe is drawn into investigating a nasty piece of vandalism. Before he can solve this mystery a young English woman is stabbed and the French Police Judiciaire are called in. Somewhat reluctantly they also ask for Joe’s help because so many of the suspects are English. Dorcas is an ...more
Ali
Jun 04, 2010 Ali rated it really liked it
I really like Cleverly, and I think this may be one of her best. The characters can be a bit difficult to distinguish -- there are so many of them staying at Chateau Silmont, and they don't have quite enough personality until the end -- but it doesn't really detract from the book.

The mystery is well-plotted without being too obvious, and Cleverly does a good job of caputuring the flavor of the time and place.
Jennifer
Aug 02, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Not as good as previous 'Joe Sandlands' titles, but still interesting. The story revolves around the destruction of an ancient funerary statue, and then an actual murder atop the crypt. I enjoyed the look at Provence - and the artist colony that resides at the mansion in the 1920s - but the pace of the story seemed to lag, and I felt that there were too many characters involved. Joe was a little less snappy in this one.
Rhonda Pickens
Better and better

I've really enjoyed the Joe Sandilands series and they just keep getting better & better. This was no exception. However, this is the second time I've noted that they seem strangely out of order. Number 2 should precede 1 and now number 8 should precede 7. Perhaps they've just been mis-numbered on Goodreads and Amazon. Whatever the reason, I'd recommend future readers adjust the order accordingly.
Jane
Feb 25, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reminded me a little of Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh but it wasn't as good. I found there were parts where my mind started to wander and that probably didn't need to be in the book. The plot was quite clever and I like the character of Joe Sandilands but I am not sure if I would read another one. A little disappointing.
Pamela
Sep 05, 2012 Pamela rated it liked it
The eighth in the Scotland Yard Detective Joe Sandilands series takes place in France where Joe is once again attemtping to go on holiday. But of course a body - or two - fall in his way. I find I prefer the first few in the series which take place in India; more exotic background and characters. But I'm still taken with Joe!
Elli
Oct 28, 2012 Elli rated it it was amazing
Excellent. A view through the ages of southern france, a strong historical treasure anyway, through the eyes of some people who respect that history as well as being willing to immerse themselves in it. It's a real murder mystery as well, based on that history which involves the cooperation of three distinct police representatives including Joe Sandilands from Scotland Yard.
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
I adored the early Joe Sandiland's mysteries. What I have come to realize is that Clerverly's skill is combining character and location rather than the cleverness of the mystery. This one suffers a bit like the last in that the local of France is just not as interesting as where these started in India.
Patricia
Aug 02, 2010 Patricia rated it it was amazing
I like Barbara Cleverly and I like Joe Sandilands, WWI returnee to Scorland Yard-ish. The series is now moving ahead again and it is fun. Good twists, and I guessed the who done it, but then wasn't sure... Looking forward to more!
Angie
Sep 26, 2011 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love it when I can figure out the mystery slightly before the reveal. Still winding and complex with a slightly smaller mystery also included. I'm sad that Joe had to come back from India, but he is still a stellar detective.
Sue
Jun 23, 2014 Sue rated it did not like it
I hate to give 1 stars, but I have to be honest. I couldn't get into this at all and gave up on it very early on. For me it just seemed to be a whole stream of words that went nowhere. I see many people have rated it highly so I am sure that it's just a case of it not being my kind of book.
Shelley Bond
Sep 09, 2015 Shelley Bond rated it did not like it
Didn't finish; couldn't get into the chateau full of avant-garde artists and models; didn't care about the mystery after I'd waded through some of their posturing. Dorcas is still a child in this one.
Kristin
Like other books recently, I plowed through this one. The plot and characters were intriguing, but I admit I had a hard time getting past referring to the detective as "Joe". It seems so American rather than British. Every time I read, I felt disconcerted.
Cynthia
Aug 20, 2011 Cynthia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I liked the first couple books in this series but this one felt really slow and dithery to me. There was too much description of too many uninteresting things, and I felt my life slipping away as I was reading it.
Marilyn
Sep 24, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it
My favorite so far -- Sandilands is back, the delightful Dorcas is back, the mystery is clever and the setting is fun. (view spoiler)
Joanne
Jul 17, 2010 Joanne rated it liked it
I enjoy this series. I'd actually give this a 3.5. I liked the earlier books a bit better - India added an air of mystery that is more interesting than the English/French stuff. And, still a good series.
Gina
Oct 04, 2010 Gina rated it liked it
Another good book in a mystery series by Cleverly. The setting is the south of France in the 1920s. A British police commander is thrust into a murder case in a mysterious old chateau with a houseful of struggling artists.
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Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. A former teacher, she has spent her working life in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk; she now lives in Cambridge. She has one son and five step-children.

Her Joe Sandilands series of books set against the background of the British Raj was inspired by the contents of a battered old tin trunk that she found in her att
...more
More about Barbara Cleverly...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Sandilands (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands, #1)
  • Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands #2)
  • The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands, #3)
  • The Palace Tiger (Joe Sandilands, #4)
  • The Bee's Kiss (Joe Sandilands, #5)
  • Tug of War (Joe Sandilands, #6)
  • Folly Du Jour (Joe Sandilands, #7)
  • The Blood Royal (Joe Sandilands #9)
  • Not My Blood (Joe Sandilands #10)
  • A Spider in the Cup (Joe Sandilands #11)

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