After a bout of reading good but rather heavy book club books, I felt like some mental time out.
But, for no particular reason, I wanted Indian mental time out, and so it was with a feeling of great relaxation that I re-read H.R.F Keating’s “The Sheriff of Bombay.”
I have long been a fan of the delightful Inspector Ghote novels, and this book does not disappoint.
Can there be a more likeable detective than the slightly put upon, scrupulously honest, solidly middle-class Ganesh Ghote? Inspector Ghote strides his way through the crowded noisy streets of Bombay, circa early-1980s, solving crimes in his own low-key intuitive way.
This is Bombay before it became Mumbai. Before mobile technology. When victorias could still be seen on the streets.
This is exactly the same time when I got to know and love the city, incidentally, which is why (I suspect) I have always had a weakness for these books.
In “The Sheriff of Bombay”, Inspector Ghote must solve a series of murders. A prostitute from the notorious Falkland Road “cages” has been murdered, and Inspector Ghote suspects the murderer to be none other than the high-profile, popular, likeable Sheriff of Bombay.
As we follow the twists and turns in the plot, and meet an aging film star, the Svashbuckler (sic), we plunge with Inspector Ghote into the sordid underbelly of Bombay in pursuit of a serial killer.
Lovely writing, bringing to life one of the world’s most fabulous cities, before it became 21st-century-fied.
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