The second brilliant novel in the highly acclaimed Malabar House series featuring Persis Wadia, India's first female police detective. Book one, Midnight at Malabar House, has been shortlisted for the CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger.
A priceless manuscript. A missing scholar. A trail of riddles.
For over a century, one of the world's great treasures, a six-hundred-year-old copy of Dante's The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay's Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia's desk.
Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis - together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch - is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body.
As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it . . .
Harking back to an era of darkness, this second thriller in the Malabar House series pits Persis, once again, against her peers, a changing India, and an evil of limitless intent.
Gripping, immersive, and full of Vaseem Khan's trademark wit, this is historical fiction at its finest.
This is a crime novel for everyone; for those who love traditional mysteries there are clues, codes and ciphers, but it also had a harder edge and a post-war darkness. A brilliant second outing for Persis Wadia - Ann Cleeves
The Da Vinci Code meets post-Independence India. I'd be surprised if I read a better book this year - M.W. Craven
Persis is brave, admirable, complicated and maddening, and is one of the few superlative and original characters emerging from modern literature - On-Magazine
Vaseem Khan is the author of two crime series set in India: the Baby Ganesh Agency series, and the Malabar House historical crime novels. His first book, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Times bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages.
In 2018, he was awarded the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Award for Literature. Vaseem was born in Newham, but spent a decade working in India as a management consultant.