When the body of a white man is found frozen in the Himalayan foothills near Dehra Dun, he is christened the Ice Man by the national media. Who is he? How long has he been there? Why was he killed?
As Inspector Persis Wadia and Metropolitan Police criminalist Archie Blackfinch investigate the case in Bombay, they uncover a trail left behind by the enigmatic Ice Man – a trail leading directly into the dark heart of conspiracy.
Meanwhile, two new murders grip the city. Is there a serial killer on the loose, targeting Europeans?
Rich in atmosphere, the thrilling third chapter in the CWA Historical Dagger-winning Malabar House series pits Persis against a mystery from beyond the grave, unfolding against the backdrop of a turbulent post-colonial India, a nation struggling to redefine itself in the shadow of the Raj.
I really enjoyed this atmospheric, intriguing novel set in 1950s India. I haven’t read others in this series, which centres on a female detective in Bombay called Persis Wadia, but I can see why they’ve been such a success.
Persis is plucky and determined and great to read about. She’s got a complicated case on her hands, regarding the murder of a white man found in the mountains which uncovers a potential serial killer. Her life has its own challenges and issues – the sexism she faces by being a female police officer during that time is just one of them – but she always rises to the occasion admirably and you can trust her to unearth what really happened!
I really enjoyed the setting – Vaseem Khan writes about 1950s post-war India with such vividity, you feel like you could actually be there. There are plenty of historical details from the time period and the struggles that faced people living there at the time which feels educational but also entertaining. It feels very well researched and manages to get the blend of fiction and historical details just right.
One thing to note is that there are a lot of characters to keep track of – this might be easier if you’ve read other novels in the series, as you may have already been introduced to many of them, but I did find myself losing track a little at times. The plot is complex at times too, but I found it really intriguing – and that coupled with the absorbing setting kept me focused. I’d definitely recommend this novel if you fancy a crime novel with a historical twist.
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.