NAMED ONE OF THE "TEN BOOKS WE RECOMMEND THIS WEEK"—The New York Times
NAMED ONE OF THE "BEST RECENT THRILLERS"—The Guardian
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CRIME FICTION OF 2020 BY OPEN, THE MAGAZINE
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CRIME NOVELS OF NOVEMBER BY THE TIMES UK
For fans of Knives Out, a book that embodies all the things we love about Agatha Christie—a haunted manor house, estranged relatives a will, and a murder— set in modern-day India, and the first in a series from author RV Raman.
Aging and wheelchair-bound patriarch Bhaskar Fernandez has finally reclaimed his family property after a bitter legal battle, and now wants to reunite his aggrieved relatives. So, he invites them to remote Greybrooke Manor in the misty Nilgiris —a mansion that has played host to several sudden deaths; a colonial edifice that stands alone in a valley that is said to be haunted by the ghost of an Englishman. But Bhaskar has other, more practical problems to deal with.
He knows that his family is waiting for him to die to regain the family fortune, and to safeguard himself against violence during the house party, he writes two conflicting wills. Which one of them comes into force depends on how he dies.
Into this tinderbox, he brings Harith Athreya, a seasoned investigator. When a landslide occurs, temporarily isolating them all at the mansion, and resulting in a murder, Athreya finds that murder is not the only thing the mist conceals. A WILL TO KILL is the first Harith Athreya mystery.
In this intriguing contemporary whodunit and series launch from Raman (Conspirator), private investigator Harith Athreya receives an invitation to Greybrooke Manor, a colonial-style mansion in southern India's Nilgiri Hills, from its owner, wealthy businessman Bhaskar Fernandez. Legend has it that the manor is cursed and that every owner will die violently. Though Fernandez's father, who owned Greybrooke before him, was believed to have died accidentally when he fell from a moving train, Fernandez fears he may become the victim of foul play. To guard against this possibility, he has prepared two simultaneous wills: one to go into effect if he dies of natural causes and the other in case he's murdered. Fernandez wants Athreya to get to know the possible heirs, who are guests at Greybrooke, and in the worst-case scenario investigate his death. Despite Athreya being on hand, someone's throat is slit, setting up a classic closed-circle inquiry, complete with a gathering of suspects before the final reveal. Only the ending is a bit of a letdown. Fans of golden age mysteries will look forward to the sequel.
My first book by this author. A page turner, with a truly compelling and clever plot and an interesting twist on the murder in an English country estate setting - one I know from movies and TV shows. Writing is clear and effective, but lacks a spark of inventiveness, beauty, or wordplay. Character development is average. Having not read many books in this genre in decades, perhaps my expectations were unrealistic. I enjoyed it, but do not feel compelled to read more by this author. Might make a good TV show or movie.
Atmospheric Whodunnit That Keeps You Guessing
I enjoyed this atmospheric whodunnit mystery. Set in a historic mansion in South India, among the misty hills, this story reminded me of the game Clue.
The book contains a cast of characters related to the central character, Bhaskar Fernandez, who believes someone wants to kill him to obtain his wealth. They all get together on a dark night to discuss Fernandez’s will. The guests will be staying on Fernandez’s property for a short time. One night there is a murder, and detective Athreya, who is among the guests, must solve the mystery.
There were many twists and turns that constantly kept me guessing. I also enjoyed the setting of the novel, a historic mansion in the hills rumored to be haunted. Great book for mystery lovers!