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A Very Private Enterprise

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The winner of Britains CWA Creasey award for Best First Crime Novel of the Year, A Very Private Enterprise is a really excellent first novel, with original and interesting characters, great atmosphere, good action, and a genuine surprise. (Times Literary Supplement [UK]).
Paperback, 323 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Felony & Mayhem (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30)
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For my second Elizabeth Ironside book, this was quite a success. It combines a murder set in a British diplomatic community in New Delhi, probably in the 1970s, details of that community, India and Tibet---the countries, the civil governments, the natural world and some wonderful descriptions of the geography---and the working out of all the fall out from the killing. A representative, Sinclair, is sent from London to ensure there are no security implications from Hugo Frenchman's death (or to m ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-india
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
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
So on the fence about this book. Good writing and interesting to read about diplomatic life in India, but found the mystery a touch tedious though there were about nice twists, and the characters rather flat.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Apr 06, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Renee Wallace
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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.
Jun 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
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.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
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.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
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.
Maureen Hetzel
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Actually a 3.5. A fun plot that keeps you guessing and a surprise ending what could be better. But the author added in scenes about local rituals and festivals in India that, while interesting, slowed down the plot. Others might be charmed by this. I just wanted to move on.
Aug 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
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!
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
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.
Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this British mystery set in India. Will seek out her other books. Well-written and clever.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not near as good as Ironside's Death in the Garden
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it
I actually liked this book better than I thought I was going to and am looking forward to reading another one of hers.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This book received a 3 rating because of the setting and description of India. The plot was good, but the character were thinly drawn.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A police procedural with an international twist. Set in India and Nepal. Engrossing. Why isn't Elizabeth Ironsides better known?
Jul 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
This story moves slow but it keeps you interested by giving you small clues and new mysteries as the story progresses.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it liked it
easy pace; set in India
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2017
rated it it was ok
Apr 08, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2011
Diane Miller
rated it it was ok
Feb 10, 2010
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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.
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