How it begins: "The call came in the deepest part of the night, the telephone's lusty urgency shattering the basement silence. Persis paused, pen poised above the blank white page of the duty log she had been attempting to complete for the past hour. There was little to report."
Genre: Historical crime fiction
Setting: Bombay, India. 1950.
Mystery: Sir James Herriot's murder...at his own New Year's Eve party.
The main character: Inspector Persis Wadia, India's first...and only...female police officer. An idealist, she joined the police force because she believes in truth and justice. She's determined, serious, headstrong, and has a quick temper. She also has no sense of humor. And flirting with men? Not in her vocabulary.
My thoughts: Set in a turbulent India two years after Partition, this book is rich in historical detail. I found it all very fascinating. And Persis's studied investigation into Herriot's murder reminded me of some of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. I liked her, flaws and all. And I like Scotland Yard criminalist, Archie Blackfinch, who aided in the investigation; he has some endearing quirks of his own. Interesting settings and plot-lines often make me want to read a mystery, but it's well-layered and complex (and likable) characters like Persis who keep me coming back for more. And I'm definitely looking forward to checking out the next book in this series.