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.)
ONE OF POPSUGAR'S 10 CHILLING THRILLER AND MYSTERY BOOKS OF THE MONTH
ONE OF WE ARE BOOKISH'S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE MONTH
ONE OF CRIMEREADS' BEST TRADITIONAL MYSTERIES OF THE YEAR
ONE OF MYSTERY SCENE'S FAVE RAVES OF THE YEAR
ONE OF AUTH AGATHA'S TOP TEN OF THE YEAR
"[Protagonist] Jim [Agnihotri] is an instantly likeable character whose good heart and endearing ways make him an ideal narrator.... His sleuthing takes him on an utterly enjoyable and picaresque journey through India on which he encounters beggars and brigands, adventure and danger – and finds romance." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Murder in Old Bombay delivers a gripping look at India’s history, resplendent with meticulous research and depicting its social structure enhanced with realistic characters who put the past in context with modern times.” South Florida Sun Sentinel
"[E]xciting, romantic, and emotional, and evokes the vivid colors, sounds, and smells of India during British rule.... Murder in Old Bombay is a beautifully written novel that will be difficult to forget." Ellery Queen Magazine
"[A] beautifully told, exciting, adventure/romance with a well-crafted mystery at its center." Mystery Scene Magazine, One of the Fave Raves of the Year
“Based on true events, March’s crisply written debut combines fascinating historic details with a clever puzzle.” Kirkus Reviews
“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.” Publishers Weekly
"Bravo to Nev March for capturing late 19th century Indian history so beautifully in Murder in Old Bombay. Compelling characters, striking settings and the intricacies of social stratification shine in this talented author’s hands. I eagerly await more historic Bombay adventures narrated by sharp-eyed, open-hearted Jim Agnihotri." Sujata Massey
“Nev March’s Murder in Old Bombay is a tale of intrigue, duplicity and, as the title suggests, murder. . . . March deftly uses James’ biracial background to depict the societal structure of India during the British Raj and, by extrapolation, to indict other societies in which race and caste are sources of discrimination.” BookPage
“A lively adventure through colonial-era Bombay . . . March has an uncanny talent for conjuring up the hidden corners and personalities of late 19th century Bombay. CrimeReads
“Based on an actual event, the story paints a wonderful revealing background of colonial India with all its environments and visual beauty. Nev March does a fine job with the background as well as the characters which she portrays against the lushness, the beauty, riches, but also the sordid parts of India of the 1890s.” Mystery and Suspense Magazine
“This award-winning lyrical narrative is a delightful multilayered treat.” India Currents
“Riveting. . . A fascinating story of intrigue, love, despair, hope and murder that we sincerely hope will turn into a mystery series with Captain Agnihotri at the helm.” Khaas Baat
“An insightful account of life in India on the cusp of the 20th century. Highly recommended.” Historical Novel Society
“March has created a likable, honorable sleuth whose humble origins and instinctive kindness make spending time with him a pleasure.” Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads, for Shelf Awareness
In Out of Hounds, Brown's latest "Sister Jane Arnold" mystery, the good sister deals with local tensions—and murder—when town newbies threaten her crowd's foxhunting ways. In Chow's Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines, second in the "Sassy Cat Mysteries," Mimi Lee must rely on her debonair talking cat, Marshmallow, when her sister is accused of murdering a teaching colleague. In Ellis's The Diabolical Bones, which follows up the film-optioned The Vanished Bride, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë find their writing interrupted by a new case: bones have been discovered bricked up in a chimney at moldering Scar Top House. Eriksson's The Night of the Fire brings back popular Swedish police inspector Ann Lindell, who's retired to the country but not for long—someone has set fire to the old schoolhouse, now housing asylum seekers, and three people are dead (35,000-copy first printing). Fletcher/Land's Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Season joins the holiday mystery lineup as Jessica Fletcher acknowledges that despite her work on the annual Christmas pageant, she can't ignore two sets of bones (one old, one new) found on her property. Sulari Gentill follows up her LJ-starred, Ned Kelly Award-winning After She Wrote Him with A House Divided, set in 1931 Sydney, Australia, and starring gentleman bohemian Rowland Sinclair, who insinuates himself into a high-stepping (and sometimes conservative) crowd to discover who murdered his beloved Uncle Rowly. Ready to retire, former FBI agent and police consultant Gregor Demarkian takes on his last case in Haddam's One of Our Own, trying to figure out how elderly Marta Warkowski ended up in a coma—and in a big plastic garbage bag—and why her dead super is locked in her apartment (30,000-copy first printing). With The Turning Tide, McPherson, whose Dandy Gilver mysteries have received CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and Historical Macavity Award nominations, gives Dandy the task of figuring out why the local ferrywoman seems to have gone mad—and whether she has committed murder, as she claims. Finally, March's Murder in Old Bombay, winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award, captures Capt. Jim Agnihotri's efforts to find out what really happened when two Parsee women plunge from the university tower in 1892 Bombay (30,000-copy first printing).
In colonial India, a fledgling sleuth probes the inexplicable deaths of two young women.
While recuperating in hospital from battle injuries in 1892 Poona, Capt. James Agnihotri, of the 14th Light Cavalry Regiment, becomes interested in the case of two young women who fell to their deaths from a university clock tower. A lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, Jim is moved by a letter published in the local newspaper from Adi Framji, the husband of one victim and brother of the other, pleading for justice. Maneck Fitter stood accused of causing the deaths, but the young man was released for lack of evidence. Leaving the army behind, Jim gets a job as a reporter for The Chronicle of India and soon finds Adi, who quickly becomes Watson to his Holmes. The eldest of six children, Adi lost his unworldly wife, Bacha, and secretive sister, Pilloo, to the killer. The investigative duo becomes a trio with the arrival from Liverpool of Adi’s sister, Diana, who adds feminine insight and a romantic interest for Jim. The investigation begins at the library near the tower, where the librarian verifies the story of Maneck arguing loudly with two black-clad men shortly before the tragedy. Like the last page of the medical examiner’s report on the victims, garments found under a library table have mysteriously disappeared. A pair of attacks convinces Jim that he’s closing in on the killer. When Jim finally talks to Maneck, who stayed mute during his trial, he expresses fears for his own safety and suggests that Jim dig deeper into the Framji family.
Based on true events, March’s crisply written debut combines fascinating historic details with a clever puzzle.