Before she met and married Inspector Ganesh Ghote of the Bombay Crime Branch, Protima was a Calcutta Bengali, and now that she's inherited an estate from her "cousin-uncle" Amit Chattopadhyay, she has every intention of rounding off her life in the land of her childhood. There are only three problems. One, Inspector Ghote isn't quite ready to retire and become plain Mr. Ghote; he doesn't even like being treated as a civilian by the likes of the decedent's smiling lawyer, A.K. Dutt-Dastar. Two, the estate turns out to be a tumbledown house that's been occupied by squatters for the years Protima's cousin-uncle has been languishing in the hospital. Three, an anonymous purchaser has expressed an interest in buying the house, and he won't take no for an answer. When Protima—determined to evict the squatters, refurbish the, house, and move in'sets her face against the mysterious buyer, Inspector Ghote (Asking Questions, 1997, etc.) feels himself trapped uncomfortably between two fearsome opponents, neither of whom he truly wants to win. His attempts to find out the identity and motives of the purchaser, and to take arms against him despite the marsh of local intrigue he's sinking into, form the backbone of this leisurely, shaggy tale, whose final revelation may be too subtle for all but Ghote's most devoted followers. Despite Protima's demurrals, though, it's reassuring to find Calcutta just as corrupt as Ghote's beat back in Bombay.
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