A Nest of Vipers

Pegasus. (Bangalore Detectives Club, Bk. 3). May 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781639366149. $26.95. M
The lady detective of Bangalore returns in the third “Bangalore Detectives Club” mystery (following Murder Under a Red Moon). It’s 1922 when Kaveri Murthy, her husband Ramu, and friends attend a magic show featuring the famous magician Das. During an elaborate Houdini-like escape trick involving a cage, a sword, and a basket of snakes, Das disappears. Shortly thereafter, the crowd is surrounded by thieves in masks. Pandemonium ensues, and Ramu and Kaveri are separated from their friend Anandi. Amid the chaos, Kaveri glimpses Anandi talking to her husband, who is one of the thieves and an abusive man she fled months before. Later, when Anandi’s husband’s body is discovered outside the circus, she becomes a suspect. Determined to prove her friend’s innocence, Kaveri is hurt when Anandi tells her not to get involved. Even her friend, Inspector Ismael, won’t talk to her and wants her nowhere near the case. Everyone is cautious, including the members of the Bangalore Detectives Club, due to an upcoming visit by the prince of Wales and growing unrest within the Indian independence movement.
VERDICT An interesting blend of cozy mystery and historical fiction. The real charm of this novel is found in the setting and the characters, particularly the relationship between Kaveri and Ramu.
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