Four more adventures, not so much linked as pureed, for Ravi Chandra Singh and his mates at London’s Golden Sentinels Private Investigations and Security Agency (Her Nightly Embrace, 2016).
Ravi sees gods. Shiva, Kali, Vishnu, Ganesha—they’re as close to him as members of his cheerfully dysfunctional family, even though his friends have to take his word for their presence. Sometimes their otherworldly counsel is wise and welcome; sometimes it’s a distraction from the logistical challenges of his job, which are considerable. Not so much perhaps in “The Hustle of the Gods,” a curtain raiser in which Golden Sentinels, hired by the shareholders of Advance Drone Defence Technologies to get the goods on their swindling founder, Tarquin Gaskell-Bridger, wrap up the case before you’ve settled properly into your favorite reading chair, but a lot more in “The True Price of London Properties,” which plops the gang into the middle of an inheritance slugfest between the vanished first wife and son of the late Russian oligarch Lev Sergeyevich Mayakovsky and the family of his aristocratic bride, Cecily Harkingdale—a slog whose length is almost justified by its disturbingly strong finish. The plot thickens further in “Black Bag LA,” in which Ravi and Julia, his colleague and lover, supposedly on a busman’s holiday to assess the effectiveness of the Golden Sentinels branch in La-La Land, tag along on a routine call to retrieve an antique pistol stolen from filmmaker Gossamer Rand Ross’ Hollywood palace during a party his assistant, Keith Doyle, threw in his absence and end up having kinky sex in Ross’ panic room while armed militants ransack the place for a cache of much more recent and powerful weapons—a mess so complicated that it requires an even more chaotic fourth story, “The Reluctant Despot,” to straighten it out, or at least explain how it got so messy. Back home, the machinations of family friend Mrs. Dhewan, the sharpie whose neighborhood food bank turns out to be just as problematic as the CIA, provides the closest thing to a common thread.
Once again, Tantimedh ebulliently spins out a world in which pandemonium doesn’t reign; it pours.