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Mumbai Noir edited by Altaf Tyrewala
Indian writers are among the best writing in English. This new anthology describes the ventral side of the huge, rich city formerly known as Bombay.
Delhi Noir edited by Hirsh Sawhney
Publisher’s Weekly says: “Few books can alter one's perception about the state of a society, but this does, while delivering noir that's first-class in any light.”
A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta by Paul Theroux
Theroux, always a terrific story-teller, spins a tale which involves a travel writer with writer’s block, tantric massage and sex, the goddess Kali, and obsession with a beautiful woman. Theroux himself appears in a cameo.
The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: From the Files of Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator by Tarquin Hall The sequel to The Case of the missing Servant (see below). A well-known “Guru Buster” is struck dead while at a meeting of his Laughter Club, and P.I. Vish Puri consults some of India’s best magicians to figure out how the deed was done.
The Case of the Missing Servant: From the Files of Vish Puri, India's "Most Private Investigator" by Tarquin Hall
In this first appearance of Puri, you learn a lot about life in contemporary India while being entertained by a light read. (I was especially interested to find that the servant in the title was a member of a minority group who have been affected by toxic contamination in the mines, just as happens in the US.)
The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga
It’s no spoiler to reveal, as the narrator does at the beginning of the book, that he is a murderer. In this mystery novel he recounts his rise from the “Darkness” (what he calls the poverty of rural India, where he comes from), as he becomes the driver of a rich man in Delhi and then a successful entrepreneur himself, losing his moral scruples in the process.
Inspector Ghote's First Case by H.R.F. Keating
This is not the first but the latest in a charming series which began appearing in 1965 and supposedly ended in 2001. In this prequel, Inspector Ghote is on leave while his wife is expecting their child, but he ends up working anyway when he’s asked to look into the suicide of a pregnant young English woman at the hill station of Mahabaleshwar.
Breaking and Entering by H.R.F. Keating
Inspector Ghote’s last case (so far). Ghote is told he cannot work on a high-profile murder, the locked-mansion case of a dead millionaire, but instead is assigned to try to catch a cat burglar. Don’t worry – there’s more!
The Palace Tiger by Barbara Cleverly
I like this series about Joe Sandilands a lot. Sandilands is a WWI veteran and Scotland Yard detective who, in the first few books, has been sent to India. These stories are full of historical detail from the British Raj, as well as modern attitudes. In this one, Joe has to try to get rid of a man-eating tiger at the palace of a maharajah.
The Damascened Blade by Barbara Cleverly
This book takes place in 1922 on the Afghan frontier, but it has echoes of an incident in 1910 when a wounded British officer was left behind in a dark ravine.
Vaughn Harrison works at Half Moon Bay Library and on the Bookmobile. She just saw the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."