KATHLEEN McCaul’s novel is a murder mystery set in Delhi, dominated by two foreigners: Stephen, a research scholar working for his Ph D on “Homosexual tantra in the Vedas” and a struggling journalist Ruby; they share a flat and are associated with the Ashram of Swami Shiva. When she learns that Stephen has been murdered, she tells the police that his mother had died years ago, and nobody knew about his father. On the insistence of her friend, she sends a report on his death to a newspaper in London, because Stephen is the grandson of a famous diplomat. When inspector Mukerjee visits the house of Raj, Shiva’s driver, and finds a packet of cash lying around, he follows him, shoots him in the leg because he was trying to destroy Stephen’s motorcycle, and takes him to the hospital.
Then Ruby recalls that she had gone with Stephen to old Delhi in search of his father. She goes there again with Rani and succeeds in finding that Stephen’s mother Claudia had lived there in a house with some Hindu much older than her.
Ruby’s visits to the site of murder yield results when she is able to secure a film clipping, which shows Stephen on the bridge where a part of the fence had been loosened, from where he could have fallen into the river. The boy punished for not putting the fence back murders Shiva in the Ashram.
Murder in the Ashram is well written, full of turns and twists, and quite gripping, too.
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