I received Death in Colaba Bay by Ambica Subramanium as a review copy from Rupa Publications and I am thankful to them for the same.
Death in Colaba Bay is a thrilling tale of Victorian Bombay, a city where dreams are realized, and nightmares are lived. Bombay 1898. In the bustling and modern port city of Bombay—home to great wealth and great deprivation is ever present. Three young girls go missing from a prominent ‘native’ school in the city. Their families are frantic with worry. Tara Bai, a young widow and heiress, with strong social connection, is an alumnus of the school. Intrigued and alarmed by the case, at the behest of the school founder and principal, she agrees to help the grieving parents. Arun Rao, a young and promising police officer, is assigned to the case. His track record of solving complex crimes has led to his transfer to the Bombay police, from Poona. Soon, one of the missing girls is found dead on the shores of Colaba. The current crime has uncanny similarities to older cases from central India involving the royal family of Jaiwar. A chance encounter at the home of one of the victims brings Tara and Arun together and they join hands to unmask a murderer who has already struck once and will not hesitate to kill again.
When three girls of a school go missing in Bombay in the late 1890s, Inspector Arun Rao is transferred to Bombay from Poona to solve the case.
At the same time, a rich widow, Tara Bai, an ex-student of the school, decides to help the school.
The story is set in the late 1890s in Bombay and the author has done well by creating that feel, with tongas, messengers and even the attire of the characters and the way they are addressed. There are many characters and initially, I was a bit confused with the names, but as the story moved on, I was fully involved. The characters have been etched well and heir descriptions are such that they could be easily visualised. The story also talks about the construction of many buildings which are now a part of Colaba in Mumbai.
The way the inspector correlates the case to another old one, and how in those times, they would collect the data from the libraries, adds an interesting feature in the story. The story is fast paced, only one week long, and is well written. I loved the twists and the turns.
A must, must read with a warning that this book is unputdownable.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.