UNDER A MONSOON CLOUD by H.R.F. Keating

UNDER A MONSOON CLOUD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Something very different, and uncommonly somber, this time for Keating's Inspector Ghote of Bombay: he commits a crime, for high-minded reasons, finds himself caught in a web of lies--and is cruelly torn by conflicting moral/practical priorities as he faces a disciplinary hearing. The crime? Well, while serving at an outlying police-station with legendary Chief Inspector ""Tiger"" Kelkar, Ghote is the sole witness of Tiger's accidental killing of a lazy sergeant. And, knowing that Tiger (despite his temper) is one of India's great policemen, Ghote eagerly conspires with his longtime idol to cover up the killing, faking evidence of accidental drowning during the ongoing monsoon. All well and good--until, months later, when circumstantial evidence of the cover-up surfaces, Tiger commits suicide. . .and Ghote is left to face hostile prosecutors and investigators at a departmental hearing. Should he confess? Or steadfastly maintain his innocence, baldly lying in order to protect his career, his wife, his son's future? ""Was he worth it? Was he, pale though he was, enough of Tiger's shadow to justify that lie?"" There's no mystery here, then. As a character study, Ghote's shifting feelings (influenced by wife, guru, et al.) don't always quite sustain interest or credibility. And the windup, after Ghote does indeed 'fess up, is a somewhat irritating cop-out. But the ups and downs of the hearing are suspenseful nonetheless; the supporting cast (especially Ghote's dignified female lawyer) is memorable; and this offbeat series entry--must reading for Ghote fans, of course--is intriguing and involving almost all the way through.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking