The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra
This is the first in a planned series of historical crime fiction books set in the 1920s in India. It is an India that is still under British rule, but protests against that rule are beginning to grow. This is very much the state of things during that period in the busy city of Bangalore in the state of Mysore.
We see it all through the eyes of Kaveri, a young bride who has recently moved to Bangalore to be with her husband who is a doctor there. He is Dr. Ramu Murthy and he works at the Bowring Hospital run by Dr. Charles Roberts.
Kaveri is obsessed with mathematics and is apprehensive about how her interest will be perceived by her new husband, but fortunately, he is quite progressive and has an ego capable of withstanding his wife's other passions. Her mother-in-law is not nearly so progressive in her outlook and she demands that her daughter-in-law adhere to the strict societal expectations of women in that period, to forego education and center their lives around a man and the children that they have together.
As Kaveri becomes settled in her new life, she continues studying mathematics on her own and hopes to attend college and study formally. At the same time, she is establishing a circle of friends that cross all barriers of caste and class. This is a thing almost unheard of in an India that is strictly ruled socially by stringent adherence to caste.
Kaveri's insatiable curiosity and sense of community lead her to investigate the murder of a local pimp called Ponnuswamy. The murder occurred at a dinner that she attended at the local Century Club. She is certain that the wrong person is being accused of the murder and is determined to prove it. The police investigation is led by Detective Inspector Ismail who actually seems open to Kaveri's inquiries. Perhaps the two can work together to see that justice is served.
I very much liked the characters introduced in this book by Harini Nagendra. Kaveri, in particular, I found very relatable and someone that I might enjoy having as a friend. It's just that kind of feeling that one would want for the main character in a cozy mystery. Though this book definitely falls in the cozy mystery category, it also has quite a lot of information about that fraught period in Indian history. I suppose it might best be called "cozy historical fiction."
Kaveri does sound like a very fun character; I love that she's obsessed with mathematics. And the cover of this book is amazing! Another one to add to my crowded TBR list. :DReplyDelete
Kaveri is definitely an appealing character. It will be interesting to see how she develops in future entries in this series.Delete
I haven't heard of this one. But 1920s India seems a ripe setting for mysteries right?ReplyDelete
1920s India was a place in flux and that offers plenty of material for mysteries.Delete
I really enjoyed reading this first book and can't wait to dive into the next one.ReplyDelete
I enjoy cozy mysteries and historical fiction!! I'll add this book to my reading wishlist.ReplyDelete
I think you might enjoy this one. Kaveri is a wonderful character.Delete