Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Blood Sky At Night by Steve Turnbull

Blood Sky At Night by Steve Turnbull
Published by Tao Press 2020 Ltd in May 2014.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1908. Ceylon. The British Empire tightens its grip on the world. Attempting to deal with questions of race and identity Maliha Anderson is faced with a murder that brings her face to face with her past. And it's a murder that's interwoven with international politics, that even she may not be able to solve.

The second book in the Maliha Anderson murder mysteries, this story follows directly from Murder out of the Blue.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in April 2016.
I enjoyed reading the first Maliha Anderson novella, Murder Out Of The Blue, way back in November 2014 so I was pleased at how easy I found it to slip back into Steve Turnbull's invented reality for Blood Sky At Night. Set in Edwardian era Ceylon, Maliha's second mystery is the disappearance of one Mary Carnforth. Mary, like Maliha, is a former Roedean School student, but now her position as teacher to Bali princess Ngurah seems to have led her into trouble.

I liked Turnbull's scene setting and descriptions of the wealth and race contrasts across Ceylonese society. Maliha, being part-Indian and part-Scottish, doesn't quite fit in anywhere which makes her perfect to observe on our behalf. Etiquette and class rules are realistically British Empire, and then we get fantastical steampunk touches in the form of vehicles and airships to remind us that this world isn't quite ours after all.

Blood Sky At Night is short at about a hundred pages and I think this is what lets it down. There isn't enough space to show Ceylon and to tell the mystery story so, to me, the mystery side felt incomplete and disjointed. I am sure Maliha understands why she visits various locations, and why the gangs and villains act as they do. However we readers aren't often let in on her detective reasoning and this made much of the mystery impossible to follow. 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Steve Turnbull / Steampunk stories / Books from England

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