Not that you’d know it from a casual glance, but Book I of the Ravi P.I. series is actually a cycle of four interlinked stories about a high school teacher–turned–unlicensed private eye working for a London agency where some crisis is always just around the corner.
In the title story, the first and best of the four, supermodel Louise Fowler visits her boyfriend, Rupert Holcomb, the Conservative MP for Haddock West, an average of one night a week for a sexual interlude—something that would bother the up-and-coming politico, who’s being groomed for higher things, a lot less if he hadn’t buried her seven months ago. Roger Golden, owner of the Golden Sentinels Private Investigations Agency, puts newcomer Ravi Chandra Singh on the case, and Ravi’s almost buried under the skeletons that come tumbling out of the couple’s closet. Talk show host Delia McCarthy engages Golden Sentinels to find out who’s trashing her new book and her personal life online in War of the Sock Puppets. Ravi and his colorful colleagues take on a more traditional and considerably less mystifying assignment in The Hideaway Bride when Shazia Ibrahim runs away from home shortly before a marriage her father has arranged with Pakistani arms dealer Nabeel Langhani’s playboy son, Samir. “The Leaky Banker” gets underway when investment banker Jack Higglesworth overcomes his fear of heights long enough to leap from his high-rise office window, sending Sandra Rodriguez, his recently fired colleague, and Golden Sentinels into an escalating series of setups and double crosses. Long before the fade-out, you can see why Ravi, whose home life is equally chaotic, compares himself to Kali, one of several gods he regularly sees in times of stress: “I think I blow up people’s lives.”
Tantimedh’s bright dialogue and breakneck pacing tend to obscure the difference between legitimate and bogus surprises and even between developments that do and don’t make sense.