The #TFBookClub reads Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel, set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

4th November 2017

Thank you for joining us as we read Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel, set in Ceylon in the 1930s. We hope you enjoy this entertaining and relaxing mystery, Harriet’s first book in her Inspector de Silva series. We will be talking through November and into December 2017, so if you are reading it, please come and join the dialogue!

Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel

The #TFBookClub is your book club – we are here to help you discover new titles that will transport you to interesting locations via top literature for some exceptional #literarywanderlust.

We have already had some interesting chats with Harriet in this #TalkingLocationWith… post about her research in Sri Lanka, and this Q&A session where she talks about her earlier writing career, finding Sri Lanka as the perfect location for Inspector de Silva and what might happen to her lovely character when he’s approaching retirement….

So, lots to look forward to as we read this charming mystery in exotic Ceylon together.

As you read, please come and chat and share your thoughts in several ways:

  • Here on our dedicated blogpost, leave your thoughts in the Comments section below
  • On TWITTER using the #TFBookClub
  • On INSTAGRAM using #TFBookClub
  • On PINTEREST following this link (collaborative board)
  • And once you’ve turned the final page, we’d love it if you could write your own review, which you can do on using the Add A Review tab. Help us to build the #TFBookClub and the TripFiction website!


Thank you so much to Harriet for providing copies of the book for the #TFBookClub and an ace giveaway. Take a look at her own blog and give her a follow on Twitter

Do come and join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

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  1. I’d like to thank everyone who read my murder mystery, Trouble in Nuala. Your comments were so interesting and I’m very glad that people found the book enjoyable to whatever degree! I had great fun writing it and I gathered that some of that fun came over.
    I know how precious time is, especially with Xmas approaching, but if anyone has a moment to add a review on the TF book page (I know some of you already have and many thanks) or even Amazon or Goodreads, I would really appreciate it. There’s no doubt that reviews promote exposure and help to sell books. On Amazon, as you may already know, it’s a good idea to mention that you received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
    I hope everyone has a great Xmas and I’m looking forward to joining in again as a reader in January. I’m intrigued to find out what Tina and Andrew have in store for us.
    Very best wishes,

    Facebook Harriet Steel Author
    Twitter @harrietsteel1


  2. User: Melanie Daniels

    Posted on: 19/11/2017 at 10:37 pm

    I enjoyed this novel although I found it a little bit slow. I think I would have liked a little more action and a few more twists and turns in the plot. However, I liked the characters of Shanti and Jane and I loved the descriptions of Ceylon, which sounds like a beautiful part of the world. I enjoyed reading about all the wonderful sounding foods as well, especially the dahl curry and the coconut water… I wanted to visit just to sample some if Shanti’s meals! I found his experience of English food hilarious, with all the dreadful sounding blancmange and bland sandwiches! Overall, this was a very enjoyable novel, but I’m not sure that I’d bother going on to read the rest of the series… It is a cosy, easy read that reminded me a little of Alexander McCall Smith’s Number One Ladies Detective Agency series. Light hearted and fun but not particularly gripping.


  3. User: Kirsten Arthur

    Posted on: 16/11/2017 at 9:57 pm

    Halfway through the book and very much enjoying it. Wonderful characters – would like to take tea with Jane and Shanti!


  4. User: Jennifer S. Alderson

    Posted on: 15/11/2017 at 9:53 pm

    I sat down last night to read the first chapter, yet when I turned in for the night I noticed I was already 32% through it! The story and gentle style of writing pulls you in quickly. The settings in Sri Lanka are gorgeous and described well enough that you can visualize the landscape, plantations and cities. I also enjoy learning more about the social structures and ethnic composition of the country. There is a mystery to be solved, but right now the story seems to be more about establishing the rich and interesting cast of characters. I look forward to continuing tonight!


    1 Comment

    • User: JSAauthor

      Posted on: 20/11/2017 at 9:29 pm

      I’m almost finished. The descriptions of Sri Lanka are wonderful and I’m enjoying getting to know the cast. Review to follow quite soon!


  5. User: Bev Bookless

    Posted on: 15/11/2017 at 5:07 pm

    Just finished reading this book and I enjoyed it. The cover is lovely and feels ‘right’ for a book set in Sri Lanka.
    I enjoy whodunnits but also books with rich personalities that you get to know through the character development. Trouble In Nuala fulfilled both of these. In one way for me, the crime was secondary to a discovery of life in Nuala, the officialdom, way of life, class order. The beautiful, descriptive language brought alive the colours and the wonderful food. I particularly liked the relationship between Jane and Shanti. I also laughed at the description Shanti gave about English food.
    I’m definitely a fan and looking forward to book 2. Thank you Harriet Steel.


  6. User: Allana Turner

    Posted on: 14/11/2017 at 7:30 am

    I started reading the book a few days ago and I’m enjoying the descriptive language surrounding the regions in Ceylon and the foods associated with them.

    I find the complicated relationship the inspector has with the government and his job/people very believable. As is the different levels of society even within households for 1930s Sri Lanka under British rule.

    Perhaps naively most surprising to me was the mention of frost and chill in terms of weather, but I wonder if it is relative to the climate rather than to that we experience here.

    It is an easy read and I think I will have finished in a few days.


    1 Comment

    • Hi Allana, I just wanted to leave a comment because I was interested to read what you write about weather. As you say, views on temperature are relative, but it can get surprisingly cold at night in the Hill Country and the Sri Lankans feel it more than visitors from colder climates. On a pre-dawn expedition while I were there, we foreigners were chilly and wearing jackets and gloves but our guide looked as if he was off to the Arctic he had so many layers on! Glad you are enjoying the book. All the best, Harriet


  7. User: Jess D

    Posted on: 13/11/2017 at 11:53 pm

    I started reading this book and I was instantly hooked. I love the characters, the vivid imagery, the plot. All I can say is so far so good


  8. User: Bev Bookless

    Posted on: 13/11/2017 at 3:35 pm

    I am really enjoying this easy to read, excellent narrative book. I am getting a vivid image of Sri Lanka or as it was, Ceylon. Bright colours, aromatic, tasty food and the pace makes me hope it mimics life there. I like the characters and in particular Shanti who in his own way describes the wonderful things about Sr Lanka. I hope to finish in the next few days. The fact I haven’t finished it yet is no reflection on the book, it’s my lack of time.


  9. User: anneallen

    Posted on: 13/11/2017 at 3:17 pm

    Am just over half way and finding it a light and enjoyable read. Lovely to transport myself to a hot climate when it’s so cold here!


  10. User: Julie Ryan

    Posted on: 13/11/2017 at 2:56 pm

    Just read this in one sitting!


  11. User: Lana Hood

    Posted on: 12/11/2017 at 10:14 pm

    A quick read with a great descriptive style – easy to visualize myself back in those time in Ceylon.


  12. User: Jane Willis

    Posted on: 12/11/2017 at 1:10 pm

    This was a very quick read – not because it was gripping, it was more gentle than gripping- but because the wonderful descriptions of the sights and sounds transported me to 1930s Ceylon and I didn’t want to come back to the 21st century until it was finished. I loved the characters Jane and da Silva, and the fact that they were so content together in what, for the time and place, must have been a very frowned-on mixed marriage. I loved the descriptions of the food – so much that I’m cooking a curry today. The plot itself wasn’t gripping and didn’t have a twist in the tail – very much in the style of Agatha Christie, but there was so much more than just the plot to keep me reading.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 13/11/2017 at 2:57 pm

      It’s a nice leisurely read. I loved the really hot feel of the country, and am now eager to visit and see what it is like today!


  13. User: sararose

    Posted on: 11/11/2017 at 7:31 pm

    This book was not as challenging as the other books I have reviewed but I enjoyed it. It transported me to Ceylon and I could almost feel the heat. The descriptions made the country come alive. The pace was very slow except for the car chase but enjoyed Inspector de Silva’s thought process and his dogged determination to solve the crime. I also liked the way the stray ponies caused the car crash resulting in Leung’s capture and arrest. there were a number of interesting characters, some more likeable than others making it an easy but enjoyable read.


  14. User: Janine Phillips

    Posted on: 11/11/2017 at 4:39 pm

    I read this over 2 evenings and must say I did enjoy this book. Very easy to read with great descriptions and interesting characters. I look forward to reading more of Harriet’s work.


  15. User: Helen James

    Posted on: 09/11/2017 at 4:05 pm

    A good old fashioned ‘ who done it’, but what I enjoyed most was the descriptions of Sri Lanka- it’s colour, smell, food and culture. My next read may well be a travel brochure!


  16. User: Bev Bookless

    Posted on: 07/11/2017 at 8:17 pm

    Just starting this book and looking forward to it. I’m going to Sri Lanka in January and although this book is set in the 1930s I hope it will give me a flavour of the place I have wanted to visit for many years.

    Does a book cover influence you with your choice of read? What d you think about the cover to this book?



    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 09/11/2017 at 2:23 pm

      Oh, definitely. One of the best books I have read this year is Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh, set in Kenya, and 3 times I put off reading it because of the cover (it says 1950s, but it’s old fashioned, and not quite right)


    • User: Andrew Morris

      Posted on: 07/11/2017 at 5:41 pm

      Oooh, I’m hoping to get out to Sri Lanka in January or February too, Bev. What is your planned itinerary?

      Yes, Harriet’s book is set in 1930s Ceylon – and fictional Nuala is based on very British-colonial Nuwara Eliya – but as you say it should hopefully whet your appetite for the real adventure.

      Does a book cover influence my reading choices? Absolutely. And I love the cover of Harriet’s Trouble in Nuala…..must see some elephants, if I make it out there.

      Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book, and have a fab trip in January!


  17. User: Helen James

    Posted on: 06/11/2017 at 7:22 pm

    Started reading this morning sat on a freezing platform waiting for a delayed train. I was transported straight to the heat and vibrancy of Sri Lanka. Hope my train is late again tomorrow


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 06/11/2017 at 7:55 pm

      Oh, hope you don’t get stuck in the cold! But enjoy the read nevertheless!


  18. User: Janine Phillips

    Posted on: 06/11/2017 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for my copy, I’m starting this tonight x