cover image Death in the Air

Death in the Air

Ram Murali. Harper, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-331930-1

Attorney Murali debuts with a clever closed-circle whodunit about a disgruntled lawyer’s vacation from hell. Ro Krishna has left his job at a London tech firm after a disagreement with his racist boss over the design of a company-funded cultural center in Prague. After Ro complained to higher-ups about the incident, he received a lucrative settlement. He takes his money and decamps for Samsara, a Himalayan spa where the Beatles studied meditation. There, he meets an eclectic group of fellow guests, including a film star, his CIA-connected wife, a bumbling meditation instructor, and an Indian politician. Shortly after Ro arrives, someone is killed, and several other deaths follow. Mrs. Banerjee, the resort’s owner and a family acquaintance of Ro’s, asks him to investigate discreetly on account of his legal expertise. As he does so, Murali gradually reveals more of Ro’s own history, which intersects with the investigation in unexpected ways. The ending, while juicy, doesn’t completely satisfy, but there’s enough originality and atmosphere on offer to keep readers on tenterhooks for Murali’s sophomore effort. This is a nerve-jangling good time. Agent: Jennifer Joel, CAA. (June)