This first novel, billed as a mystery, contains no puzzle worthy of the name but, rather, lots of high-flown prose about finding oneself--preferably through some exotic diety. Nebbishy p.i. Alex Baily, whose only expertise is in cult-member deprogramming, is hired by Edna Harrison to go to India-in order to find and bring back to L.A. her daughter, now called Shantih, who's been gone ten years. Then cut to Shantih, now a disciple of ancient Sikh holy man Kishan: she's living in his house, taking care of him, and arousing fierce jealousy in chief disciple Hat Mukand--an arrogant old man, self-proclaimed poet, and keeper of the household. When Kishan's priceless, hand-printed holy book called Granth Sahib disappears, Hat Mukand has a long-sought reason to send Shantih from the house in disgrace. She decides to find the holy book--despite the dangers of the ongoing civil war between the Sikhs and their enemies--and when Bally finds her, they continue to search together. The upshot is predictable, as is the fate of the Granth Sahib. The author's rich evocation of an exotic, sad, and exciting land and its people is, unfortunately, overshadowed by the attention paid to Shantih's high-strung sensibilities and Baily's irresolute personality. They truly deserve each other.