Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan

Today Mandie gets to meet Persis Wadia, the lead character in Vaseem Khan’s Malabar House series. I loved Midnight at Malabar House and you can read my review here. Persis is a fabulous character, and Vaseem Khan has done a brilliant job in bring her to life. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 20 August 2020
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

About the Book

Bombay, New Year’s Eve, 1949

As India celebrates the arrival of a momentous new decade, Inspector Persis Wadia stands vigil in the basement of Malabar House, home to the city’s most unwanted unit of police officers. Six months after joining the force she remains India’s first female police detective, mistrusted, sidelined and now consigned to the midnight shift.

And so, when the phone rings to report the murder of prominent English diplomat Sir James Herriot, the country’s most sensational case falls into her lap.

As 1950 dawns and India prepares to become the world’s largest republic, Persis, accompanied by Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch, finds herself investigating a case that is becoming more political by the second. Navigating a country and society in turmoil, Persis, smart, stubborn and untested in the crucible of male hostility that surrounds her, must find a way to solve the murder – whatever the cost.

Mandie’s Thoughts

After my sister said that I would really love this series and with book 4 due to be published later this year I thought it was high time I brought it to the top of my TBR pile. I am glad that I did as it really taps into my love of historical fiction with a bit of murder thrown in and I love books like this that give me a bit more of an insight into periods of history that I am not overly familiar with

Inspector Persis Wadia is on duty at Malabar House on New Year’s Eve when she receives a call to go to the residence of Sir James Herriot who has been found murdered. When she arrives she finds that she has to work along side Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch to try to work out who wanted to see him dead when no one is willing to say a bad word against him. With a whole house of suspects to contend with Persis is determined to find the killer despite the case being a bit of a poison chalice as if she fails then it may end her career.

Persis has definitely been thrown in the deep end with this case and she is determined to solve it and prove all those who doubt that she should even be a police officer wrong. As the first and only female officer she is met with prejudice and distrust and the more she digs the more she realises that things just don’t add up and that not everyone is being truthful with her. She is certainly a very strong-willed person but at times her frustration boils over into anger that can actually be a hindrance to her investigations.

Her relationship with Archie Blackfinch whilst starting out as one of distrust and resentment on her part does eventually shift to one that enables them to work well together. Her family are not always supportive of her actions, and I think at times this contributes to her responses to situations. I can only hope that she manages to prove everyone wrong, and I am looking forward to finding out.

There were quite a few suspects who definitely had reason to want the victim dead and even with a confession you can’t be sure who the killer was right up to the end. With the backdrop of India on the cusp of total independence there is so much distrust that you can feel the frustration as Persis searches for the truth. The politics of the time give the reader a real sense of the brutality and uncertainty as new ways are forged and add yet another dimension to the story and has made me glad that I can dive into the next book without having to wait.

About the Author

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 series of crime novels. He 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.

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