Late one November night, the mutilated corpse of a young Finnish tourist is found in a public garden in Pune. It looks like a case of brutal rape and murder, but Senior Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar find themselves probing further….delving deeper.
Standing virtually clueless, except for a single white sandal found on the scene of the crime, the policemen duo start looking for suspects.
Things get murkier when Saralkar’s old friend and colleague, Inspector Patange, seeks his help to establish the identity of another murder victim – an old man found by a wooded hillside on the outskirts of Pune. Not only do the old man’s injuries match the wounds inflicted on the Finnish girl, but he is also found wearing the other white sandal.
As Saralkar and Motkar struggle to find the link that connects the two murders, nothing is what it seems.
~ Synopsis from goodreads
The title of this book very forcibly reminded me of that old classic The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, which is one of my all-time favorite murder classics. I wondered when I went into this book whether the resemblance was solely restricted to the title, or whether some plot elements were introduced as well (the revelation of the murderer that totally blindsided me). Turned out that though the plot isn’t similar at all, I still ended by being very surprised by the murderer’s identity and motives.
This is the second book in the Inspector Saralkar series. I read and reviewed the first one here. I quite liked the first one, although I was a bit disappointed in myself that I peeked at the end, ended up knowing the killer well in advance and spoiling my reading experience.
This time I didn’t make that same mistake, and I enjoyed the book much more. It also helped that almost everyone in the book had a motive for the murder.
The policemen are also realistically drawn. They are not super-Sherlocks, and they make some errors in judgement, however, Inspector Saralkar is conscientious and sincere and works sincerely to find the culprit.
Apart from the murder itself, the relationship between Saralkar and his wife is brought out very nicely, and I love how well their personal life meshed nicely with the main murder mystery. The other inspector Motkar character isn’t developed as much in this story, which is a bit disappointing as I really enjoyed him in Killing Ashish Karve. Instead we have Salunkhe, who is another interesting and well-developed character who displays interesting shades of grey. In short, I love the police procedural angle of these books, and I look forward to more such interesting characters and plots developing in the later books.
If Salil Desai continues this way, we could just have an Ed McBain style of the 87th Precinct series set in India – something I have wanted for a long time.
Huge thanks to Fingerprint Publications for sending me this book to me for review consideration.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon