Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Death in Kashmir: Review

Death in Kashmir (originally published as Death Walked in Kashmir, 1953) takes place in a region now under Indian control (with other portions of the Kashmir area controlled by Pakistan and China). The time is 1947 and Britain is preparing to leave India and lose part of her empire. Sarah Parrish is one of many British subjects taking advantage of one last chance to visit the skiing playground in the mountains near the Vale of Kashmir. Little does she know that among her fellow vacationers are spies and counter-spies all seeking information vital to fate of Kashmir and India post-empire. When a middle-age woman dies in a skiing accident and Sarah then notices someone trying to break in the window of the woman's niece that night, she is plunged into the thick of things. She warns Janet Rushton (the niece) of the attempted break-in and as a result Janet shares some rather startling secrets with her. As a result of the shared secrets...and another murder or so, Sarah becomes the focus of some unwanted attention. Everyone seems to think she possesses more knowledge than she has and someone is willing to kill for what they think she has. There's also a dashing young gentleman in the offing...but can she really trust Charles Mallory? And if not him, then who?

Despite the rather heavy shadow of espionage, this is a very light mystery. Yes, there is a feeling of danger surrounding our heroine, but we read about it with a nod and wink, knowing that she's going to come through the danger even though all of her fellow vacationers may not be so lucky. And, knowing M. M. Kaye, we also know that any hints of romance will be completely fulfilled by the story's end. It may be a bit of a formula, but it's a comforting formula and Kaye does it very well. 

Kaye is also superb at describing the time and place. In part, this is because she writes from her own experience--using actual places she has visited and incorporating incidents from her own life where they will be most useful. The mystery itself is a good one. It kept me guessing on who the culprit was and made for an interesting read. ★★ and a half.

This fulfills the "Anywhere But the U.S./England" square on the Golden Vintage Bingo card and gives me two more Bingos. 



6 comments:

Gram said...

Thank you for this one. I had read M. M. Kaye years ago and had forgotten about her (RIP), I will read this one again just for old times sake.

fredamans said...

I was already thinking the premise sounded good when you said she draws it from personal experience. Now I am thoroughly intrigued. Great review!

bloodymurder said...

Thanks for reminding me that there is more to Kaye than THE FAR PAVILIONS - I always forget about her mysteries!

Yvette said...

I really enjoyed M.M. Kaye's mystery romances - especially this one. The books she wrote really do make you long for the British Raj and all that came with it. Except of course in reality it was far from beautiful. Still, we can make believe while reading Kaye. Yes, it was formulaic but as you say, it was comforting. I like being comforted. I also loved THE FAR PAVILLIONS, a novel I got lost in. Back in the day when books were being written that you really could get lost in.

Bev Hankins said...

Yes, indeed, Yvette. She's very good at taking you to another time and place.

neer said...

I am so glad you liked it Bev because I am really fond of this one. The atmosphere is terrific and some of the episodes were hair-raising, esp that image of the door that closes softly.