by Nev March
Murder in Old Bombay won the Minotaur book award for a first mystery recently. The winners’ books are always worth taking a look at in my opinion.
This story is a leisurely one (though that does not mean that there is a lack of action), coming in at close to 400 pages. It is an historical mystery set in the late 19th century when India was ruled by the British. The protagonist, Jim Agnihotri, is of mixed Indian and British parentage which makes him a bit of an outsider in both worlds and cultures. He was wounded and is out of the Army when he becomes known to the Framji family.
Two young women in that family fell to their deaths from a university tower. It appears to be murder and Jim becomes the Holmes aficionado who wants to solve the case using his idol’s methods. During the course of the story, Jim and readers get to know the Framjis very well. Jim is especially close to the beautiful Diana and to Adi who is the young widower of one of the victims.
As Jim works on the case he has a series of adventures, many disguises and clues to work through. He also takes on an unofficial parenting role to a number of children who are victims. He is a protagonist who tries to do what is right and is not afraid to fight for it.
Readers learn about Jim’s growing up, his military years and the church figure to whom he felt close. Readers are also immersed in some of the history and culture of the period. A most helpful glossary is even included.
This is a novel that those who enjoy the recent India based mysteries of Sujata Massey are sure to want to read. I recommend it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.