Vaseem will be talking about his latest book, Murder at the Grand Raj Palace, the fourth in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series.
Vaseem Khan first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual thing he had ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind his Baby Ganesh series of light hearted crime novels.
The fourth book in the series, Murder at the Grand Raj Palace, sees Inspector Chopra on the trail of a killer in India’s most iconic hotel. Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness…
Vaseem returned to the UK in 2006 and now works at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science where he is astonished on a daily basis by the way modern science is being employed to tackle crime. Elephants are third on his list of passions, first and second being great literature and cricket, not always in that order.
Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan
Published on May 3, 2018
Hodder & Stoughton Hardback £16.99
It is to the most iconic hotel in Mumbai that Inspector Ashwin Chopra (Rtd) is called after an American billionaire apparently commits suicide. He finds the Grand Raj Palace in a state of near panic. It is bad enough that one of their guests has died, but the mere thought of anything other than suicide is too hideous to contemplate. They are host to a huge wedding that will unite two of the old ruling houses of India, and nothing can happen to upset them, or any of their other guests.
It doesn’t take long, however, for Chopra to suspect foul play. Before he died, Hollis Burbank, has just purchased a priceless artwork from the on-going high profile auction…was that the action of a man just about to kill himself?
Chopra then meets Lisa Taylor, the auction director, who is not only dumbfounded by the death, but also spectacularly beautiful. Chopra is dazzled. Even his young elephant, Ganesha, a valued partner in Chopra’s investigations, seems bewitched. It is Taylor who talks Chopra through the twists and turns of the high octane art world and introduces him to the main players.
Meanwhile, Poppy Chopra, who is trying to make her husband focus on their forthcoming anniversary, becomes enmeshed in a developing drama concerning the huge wedding party. As luck would have it, Chopra has been able to move into the hotel temporarily – so that he is close at hand for the investigation. Poppy takes full advantage of this, and moves herself in too. It follows, then, that she is also close at hand to help with the unfolding family crises.
So in one place, two investigations are taking place, relationships are being evaluated and lives, marriage, love, greed and calamity all play out in one glorious drama. Chopra, dedicated, socially mindful and determined, must learn the importance of his wife, and Poppy must recognise the part played by her husband’s job in her life. Meantime, there is a murder to solve and two wealthy families to unite.
Vaseem Khan’s charming series goes from strength to strength and he has hit his stride, in this, the fourth Ashwin Chopra mystery. Even the young elephant seems to understand his role a bit better, although his love of chocolate remains the same!
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