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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 December 2012
I have read all of Barbara Cleverley's Joe Sandilands novels with great pleasure and this, her latest, is far and away the best so far. The writing is, as usual superb, clear and beautifuly precise, the plot is complex and the undertone very dark, but it is not without flashes of humour. We learn more about Joe's earlier life in India and we meet his sister Lydia and the delightful Dorcas again.
The premise behind the mystery is dark indeed and has some resonance with modern developments in certain medical procedures as well as leading us nearer to the future perverted heart of Nazi ideology.
Though at the end of the book Joe appears to be at the start of a relationship I do hope that this does not mean that there will be no more Sandiland books, indeed perhaps this may lead to a broadening of his work , we are certainly left with a cliff -hanger as, in solving the mystery, Joe has stepped on some VIP toes and is awaiting the outcome of an enquiry into his future at Scotland Yard.
Please Ms Cleverley more of Joe Sandiland please and as soon as possible !!!
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on 23 August 2012
A joy to have a new Joe Sandilands!A joy to find, as hoped, Cleverly's classic, clever plotting; it's twisty right up to the end, and as ever, Ms Cleverly's love of language, her knack for just the right word, and her intriguing, layered characters bring her tale to life. I've read all the Sandilands novels over the years, and found that Ms Cleverly doesn't just set her tales in a particular period but engages with it; here we are in the thirties and questions are asked of that time which are fascinating and uncomfortable. The research is impeccable (scenes lit with telling detail) and Cleverly plainly knows how to bring dark corners of our history alive.I don't want to say too much and give anything away. I think, though, I'm not risking the plot to say it's a real pleasure to spend time not only with Joe but with other old friends, echoes from earlier books. We feel the texture of Joe's life as the years pass: a great central character. I highly, highly recommend this.
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on 3 October 2012
Not My Blood (Joe Sandilands)

Barbara Cleverly's latest book featuring Joe Sandilands is a winner. If you are already a fan it will send you straight back to re-read the earlier ones and if you aren't already one, what a treat to come! The characters leap from the page and stay with you as do the venues...we were left guessing the outcome till near the end and when it came it chilled the blood. Could it happen like that I asked myself?
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 September 2012
First Sentence: Carrying more than a hint of snow, a southwesterly wind gusted up from the Channel, spattering the school's plate glass windows with sleety drops.

A phone call from Jackie Drummond, a young boy claiming to be his nephew has Joe Sandilands travelling to a boarding school in Sussex where a teacher has been murdered. The case raises a number of questions for Joe. Is the boy actually his illegitimate son? Why has Dorcus, the daughter of close friends, who had recently been avoiding Joe, suddenly insistent on helping him with this case? However, the main question is what has happened to a surprising number of missing boys, each from a wealthy family. With Dorcus to aid him, Sandilands is headed to school, looking for answers.

Barbara Cleverly really knows how to captivate her readers from the very first page. Her excellent descriptions of period, place and weather create the atmosphere and bring us straight into the story. It is fascinating to see this period of history between the wars where there are women police and the beginnings of education reform in public schools.

The characters are charismatic and real; Joe, his sister Lydia, his expected Jackie, ever-clever aide des camp Alfred and Dorcus who is now grown and has a degree in psychology. These are people you come to know by Cleverly providing enough history that new readers don't feel lost and with whom fans of the series have become friends. Not normally a fan of relationships between two principle characters, Ms. Cleverly makes it work and faithful readers will see things progress as they may have hoped it would so do.

Dialogue makes such a difference and here, it is excellent and reflective of the period and class. Ms. Cleverly's writing is wonderfully literate and she expects the reader to be the same while not trying to embarrass or be over the head of the reader as the meaning is always clear from the context..."If anyone's been setting himself up as some sort of a psychopompos, a guide to the souls to the Land of the Dead--a Hermes, or even a playful Peter Pan--we'll have him."

The intrigue and subterfuge is masterfully created, yet clever plotting and occasional humor keep things from becoming overly grim. This is a time when science is evolving. The motive is horrific but not inconceivable, and that makes it the more terrible still.

"Not My Blood" is an excellent traditional police procedural driven by intelligent dialogue and charismatic characters and where the case is solved by following the clues and having a good working relationship with the other branches involved. It also has a wonderful, lovely ending. This is also a very good series which should be read in order.

NOT MY BLOOD (Hist/Pol Proc-Det. Joe Sandilands-England-1933) - VG+
Cleverly, Barbara - 10th in series
Soho Crime, 2012
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on 6 September 2015
Even when not on absolutely peak form, Ms Cleverly is always worth reading. In this case the mainspring of the plot is a bit too creaky to be credible, but watching Joe unwind it is still engrossing. The real mystery, however, is what he can possibly see in the charmless Dorcas? The Captain deserves better.
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on 21 October 2013
I've read all of Cleverly's Sandilands novels - I would definitely class myself as an addict. This is one of my favourite though as it manages to create a gripping new story featuring characters from the previous books whilst expanding on what we already know about the hero of the series.
Cleverly managed to make me wish the book would never end and at the same time feel desperate to know the conclusion. I am rarely satisfied by endings, particularly when I know it means I've reached the end of a well loved series, however I could not have felt more satisfied than by this one. Indeed I'm torn between wanting more of the same and wanting to leave it at such a perfect ending!
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on 21 October 2012
I've enjoyed every one of Barbara Cleverly's Joe Sandilands stories, so I was predisposed to enjoy this - which I did. I have to confess, though, that I wish some way could be found to return Joe to India. Barbara C. Seems to have a particular relationship with India.
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on 18 June 2013
Have read all of the Joe Sandilands books and have enjoyed everyone of them, always a good story and the ending is not always has you expect
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on 20 May 2013
I love all these novels with the Joe Sandilands character, I have to say though, that I particularly like the earlier ones set in India. Wonderful easy and engrossing reads all of them.
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on 2 April 2016
Cannot recommend this writer and books enough. Picked one of her books from a library on a cruise ship,
am now going trough them all... eventually !
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