Six Suspects

Vikas Swarup, Author . Minotaur $24.99 (470p) ISBN 978-0-312-60503-2

This satirical crime novel from Swarup (Q&A , the basis for Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire ) opens promisingly, but suffers from the absence of a genuine investigator. Journalist Arun Advani sets the scene by describing the circumstances of the killing of industrialist Vicky Rai, shot to death at his farmhouse near Delhi, at a party celebrating his acquittal for a particularly callous murder. In the crime's immediate aftermath, the authorities find six guests with firearms among the more than 300 in attendance. They include a Bollywood megastar, a corrupt former politician who may be possessed by the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, and Larry Page, an unbelievably stupid American constantly mistaken for his more famous namesake (the cocreator of Google). Alternating flashbacks among the six suspects build to multiple false endings. While there are some funny moments, this is likely to please neither traditional mystery fans nor readers interested in contemporary India. (July)