Flesh and Blood: Elder in love

If you love mysteries, read Flesh and Blood. The ending is an absolute stunner. The author, John Harvey, is probably better known for his Charlie Resnick novels. But here the detective is Frank Elder. Divorced and retired from the police force, he follows up an old case when one of the two men convicted is […]

Paul Theroux on Kali and Calcutta

In A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta, Paul Theroux describes an animal sacrifice at the Kali temple in Kalighat. A goat, garlanded with flowers, is led bleating into a walled enclosure to the beat of drums. Once inside, the terrified creature is thrust between two upright stakes and caressed by a barefoot priest, who […]

Social inequality and sense of place in crime fiction

Ian Rankin fans will enjoy reading his conversation with the Indian communist leader Prakash Karat, who has read all his 17 Inspector Rebus novels and did his Master's in politics at the University of Edinburgh, in Rankin's hometown. Rankin talks about his working-class parents, his being the first from his family to go to university […]

PD James’ leisurely murder mystery

The Private Patient by PD James This is an Adam Dalgliesh mystery where the Scotland Yard detective enters late into the story. And even then Commander Dalgliesh hardly occupies centrestage. The focus keeps shifting from one character to another. His subordinates, Kate Miskin and Francis Benton-Smith, duly get their turn in the spotlight as do […]

Death of a Writer: A mystery deep with poetry

I was floored by this Michael Collins mystery, captivated by its lyricism and intrigued by its plot. A novel nominated for the National Book Award turns out to be eerily similar to the real-life murder of a teenager. But it was written before her death. Suspicion naturally falls on the writer. But he is  lying […]