cover image Murder in Old Bombay

Murder in Old Bombay

Nev March. Minotaur, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-26954-6

Set in 1892 Bombay, March’s assured debut stars Jim Agnihotri, an Anglo-Indian army captain recuperating from an injury suffered on the frontier in Karachi. With little to distract him, he focuses on the sensational deaths of 19-year-old Bacha and 16-year-old Pilloo, members of a prominent Parsee family, who fell from a university clock tower. Rumors swirl that the pair committed suicide, but Agnihotri sees too many contradictions in reports about the deaths to believe it. When he reads an anguished letter-to-the-editor in The Chronicle of India from Bacha’s husband, he becomes determined to find out why Bacha and Pillo died. A friend also gives Agnihotri a copy of Conan Doyle’s second Sherlock Holmes novel, The Sign of the Four, from which he often draws inspiration. March fills the story with finely developed characters, particularly Agnihotri, who proves a zealous investigator. She also presents an authentic view of India under British rule while exploring the challenges faced by a character of mixed race. The heartfelt ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel. Readers won’t be surprised this won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. (Nov.)