cover image A Dire Isle: A Harith Athreya Mystery

A Dire Isle: A Harith Athreya Mystery

RV Raman. Polis, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-951709-52-5

Raman’s enjoyable sequel to 2020’s A Will to Killtakes private investigator Harith Athreya to an archaeological dig on the banks of the River Betwa in Bundelkhand, India, at the behest of investors in the excavation concerned about financial irregularities. The site is run by the overbearing and unpopular Mrs. Markaan, who has a reputation for taking credit for work done by junior archaeologists on her team. Legend has it that a couple, forbidden to marry because one was Hindu and the other Muslim, escaped to a nearby island with a giant mastiff dog and have haunted it ever since. When Mrs. Markaan turns up dead on the island, Athreya must determine whether the death is related to the troubles with the dig’s finances, or if the island’s myths have become real. Raman does a good job weaving in the mystery with a possibility of the supernatural, all while juggling a large cast of characters. A multilayered reveal in the final pages proves satisfying as well. Armchair travelers and fans of traditional mysteries should take note. Agent: Priya Doraswamy, Lotus Lane Literary. (Dec.)