An Indian-American photographer solves the murder of an American tourist who disappeared from her aunt’s hotel.
Tourists come and go at the South India resort town of Kovalam, regularly getting lost in the maze of lanes as they wander up the Lighthouse Road to the Balabhadrakali Temple. Anita Ray, who’s come from the United States to help her Auntie Meena ride herd on her guests at the eight-room Hotel Delite, is on hand when Jean, a middle-aged American nurse, vanishes from the resort the same night her traveling companion Marge is taken to the Anandabudhi Hospital. How could she have fallen ill when she and Jean ate that night at the same Bamboo Village restaurant as Anita and her Brahmin boyfriend Anand? The other guests soon return to their business. Adventurous Pam plans an excursion to the Suchindram Temple farther south. Garrulous Candy babbles about her trip to modern Trivandrum. Emily becomes more and more drawn to the image of Kali. But Anita focuses on the missing nurse, who was on her way to bring forbidden medical supplies into Burma. Leaving her photography shop in the capable hands of her preadolescent assistant Peeru, she walks the old rice paddies until she spots Jean’s bright-green kerchief floating in the canal. Now that she knows Jean’s fate, Anita is more determined than ever to find her killer, even at the risk of her own life.
Oleksiw (A Murderous Innocence, 2006, etc.) deftly draws short-story heroine Anita into a full-length adventure.