Set in 1921 Bangalore, Nagendra’s superb sequel to 2022’s
The Bangalore Detectives Club plunges amateur sleuth Kaveri Murthy, a student of mathematics and admirer of Sherlock Holmes, into a case involving the family of her physician husband, Ramu. Kaveri’s mother-in-law, Bhargavi, beseeches her to use her skills to help a cousin of Bhargavi’s, Shanthi Sharma. Shanthi’s husband’s factory, Sampangi Mills, is facing unexpected financial problems, and Shanthi suspects her daughter’s fiancé of embezzling from the business. Kaveri reluctantly agrees to review the accounts to see if she can validate Shanthi’s suspicion, only to wind up probing the shooting murder of a person connected with Sampangi Mills, on whose corpse is mysteriously found Kaveri’s magnifying glass chain that went missing earlier. Ramu assists in the digging, along with a motley group of allies, including a Muslim policeman’s wife. Assured pacing matches equally assured prose, and Nagendra brings the political tensions of India’s colonial period to life without overwhelming the crafty whodunit plot. Fans of Abir Mukherjee’s Wyndham and Banerjee novels will find much to like. Agent: Priya Doraswamy, Lotus Literary. (Mar.)
"I'm pleased to report that
Murder Under a Red Moon exceeds all my expectations. Against a roiling political backdrop — the women’s suffrage movement is growing, as is anti-British sentiment — Kaveri and Bhargavi come to a deeper understanding of each other."
"Set in colonial India in 1921, this debut mystery makes full use of the oppressive British rule of the time, matched by the oppressive treatment of women, to highlight the ingenuity and bravery of a young woman determined to solve a murder. A fine start to a promising series."
"Should you be on the market for a new literary detective, you’d be hard pressed to find one more charming than Kaveri Murthy, the main character of Harini Nagendra’s mystery series set in 1920s India. It’s a pleasure to enter Kaveri’s clever mind, and Nagendra wraps the story in a message of women’s empowerment."
"Here’s an amateur detective to cheer for: Kaveri Murthy, 19 and newly married, an Indian woman living in India in the early twentieth century under the restrictive rule of the British Raj. The real feat here is that Murthy’s sleuthing is both excruciatingly exciting and entirely believable. Splendid."
A classic whodunnit with the added appeal of a female sleuth in colonial India. For the Western reader, a fascinating glimpse into customs and a mindset very different from our own.
Praise for The Bangalore Detectives Club:
"The first in an effervescent new mystery series by the ecology professor Harini Nagendra,
The Bangalore Detectives Club turns the clock back a century. This is a treat for historical mystery lovers looking for a new series to savor (or devour).
The New York Times Book Review Sarah Weinman
"Told with real warmth and wit, in
The Bangalore Detective Club, Harini Nagendra has created an intricate and fiendish mystery with a wonderful duo of amateur sleuths Kaveri and Ramu at its heart, and capturing the atmosphere and intensity of Bangalore in the roaring twenties. A perfect read for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Vaseem Khan.
"For historical mystery and cozy mystery fans, armchair travel to 1920s Bangalore, where newly married Kaveri ends up at a party that instead turns into a murder mystery. Soon she’s investigating the case herself."
"From page one we plunge into the exuberant cacophony of 1920s Bangalore, right there beside Kaveri Murthy in her adopted city: the drawing-rooms and dirt lanes, the gardens and brothels, the temples and jails. Nagendra's depiction of an awkward but tender new marriage is a delight, and who couldn't help but cheer for Kaveri as she swims in her sari, studies in secret, and commits herself to the pursuit of justice?
"I absolutely adored
The Bangalore Detectives Club, a beautifully painted picture of a woman's life in 1920s India. Kaveri is a compelling character, headstrong, clever and dogged, and not at all deterred by the constraints of her position and gender. A fantastic book.
"Harini takes us on an enjoyable trip back in time with a spunky young woman for company. When the resourceful Kaveri surreptitiously plays amateur sleuth, we find that Bangalore of the 1920s is as full of deceit as it is of prejudices. Kaveri's insatiable curiosity is matched only by her determination as she throws off the shackles that fettered women a hundred years ago.
"Tantalizing and intriguing,
The Bangalore Detective Club evokes the Golden Age of detective fiction with a romantic flair. Throughout, Nagendra beautifully captures Bangalore in 1921, a city of contrasts, combining evocative period detail with insights into the social and political complexity of the region. A wonderful start to an enchanting new series!
"Harini Nagendra takes us to wonderfully unfamiliar world in this delightful debut mystery. Colonial India is on the verge of gaining its independence from the British, and new bride Kaveri Murthy is also looking to gain her independence from the strict culture in which she was raised. You will love watching her blossom as she makes new friends and strives to save an innocent woman from a charge of murder. I couldn’t put it down.
The Bangalore Detective Club is a gorgeous debut mystery that introduces Kaveri Murthy, a young wife living a conservative household who applies her prodigious intelligence to solve a murder that threatens to tear apart genteel 1920s colonial Bangalore. Nagendra brilliantly shares the landscape, social customs and history of South India in this spellbinding novel. I eagerly await the next Kaveri mystery.
The Bangalore Detectives Club is the latest entry into the recent flowering of India-based crime fiction. Nagendra’s novel introduces us to Raj-era 1920s Bangalore and her calculus-loving amateur sleuth Kaveri Murthy. A cosy mystery that warmly illuminates a time and place not often examined in fiction.
Set only months after the series debut, Nagendra's next "Bangalore Detectives Club" mystery is a fast paced and engaging story. Amidst a backdrop of 1920s colonial British rule and the exploitation of women, plucky 19-year-old Kaveri Murthy has gained notoriety as a woman detective. While attending the Bangalore Horse, Dog and Animal Show, she is introduced to her mother-in-law's cousin, Shanthi Sharma, who hires Kaveri to investigate embezzlement at her husband's manufacturing company. Kaveri makes plans to meet Shanthi at the factory's back entrance later that night, but a mysterious note compels her to go an hour early. Upon her arrival at the mill, Kaveri hears a gunshot and discovers the industrialist dead in his office, her missing gold chain clutched in his hand. Though the local police are investigating the murder, both Shanthi and her daughter-in-law try to convince Kaveri of the other's guilt. Stymied, and frustrated that her inquiry is going nowhere, she rallies her women's club, and they don't disappoint, quickly formulating a plan to uncover the truth.
VERDICT Offering this one to fans of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a no-brainer, but cozy mystery readers will also find much to love in the adventures of the indomitable detective. —Vicki Briner