Curiosity draws bubbly British mystery writer Antonia Darcy (Assassins at Ospreys, 2008, etc.) into the middle of another baffling case, this time in far-off India.
Though married to a devoted second wife, Lord Justice Toby Leighton spends nearly every waking hour worrying about his estranged daughter Marigold, aka Ria, who’s been at odds with her father ever since the death of her mother. The beautiful young woman lives far away in southern India, where she may be a prostitute. Her latest cruel letter home triggers a fatal heart attack in the judge. Off in Goa, Ria is the mistress of dashing Roman Songhera, an extremely dangerous individual she fears will discover her flirtation with a handsome young man who won’t stop calling her. Songhera’s wife Sarla uses chicken bones and an incantation to put a spell on her rival. As gossip at a genteel garden party thrown by Songhera swirls around hapless Camillo and his doomed affair with Ria, Antonia (visiting from London) is accosted by distressed, perhaps inebriated Julian Knight, who says he was hired by Justice Leighton to spy on Ria and maintains that he’s just witnessed her murder at the hands of her lover. Knight gives Antonia his diary, goes to refresh his drink and never returns. Antonia and her wry husband, Maj. Hugh Payne, set off on a risky romp through Goa’s tenderloin in pursuit of the truth.
Raichev’s page-turner captures the tart elegance of classic cozies but adds an appealing modern edge.