Sleepy Ceylon

  • Book: Trouble in Nuala. The Inspector de Silva Mysteries #1
  • Location: Sri Lanka
  • Author: Harriet Steel

Review Author: JustRetiring



I hope the author of Trouble in Nuala – Harriet Steel – doesn’t mind this analogy, but reading this book reminded me of TV dramas in that cosy Sunday evening slot.

Monarch of the Glen. Death in Paradise. Call the Midwife. Draw the curtains on a cold autumnal evening, stoke the fire and put the kettle on, in readiness for some gentle, well-plotted escapist drama….preferably taking place in a suitably exotic location.

Harriet introduces us to Inspector de Silva in Trouble in Nuala, based in 1930s colonial Ceylon and in the tea plantation town of Nuala. The Inspector has moved from Colombo to the cooler, quieter central highlands with his English wife, Jane, but ends up having to unravel a mysterious death in the community.

The story is engaging, but the real star of the book is the location. Harriet fell in love with Sri Lanka during her own research visits there, and that shines through in her prose. Enjoy the story’s plot and and vivid characters, but lap up the vision of the Inspector spicing up his breakfast with fiery sambal, the descriptions of lush landscape and the natural beauty of this teardrop island.

The essence of TripFiction!

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021