Today Mandie continues her series catch up with a review of book two in the Persis Wadia series by Vaseem Khan, The Dying Day. I love this series and you can find my review here. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
A priceless manuscript. A missing scholar. A trail of riddles.
For over a century, one of the world’s great treasures, a six-hundred-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay’s Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia’s desk.
Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis – together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch – is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body.
As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it . . .
Harking back to an era of darkness, this second thriller in the Malabar House series pits Persis, once again, against her peers, a changing India, and an evil of limitless intent.
Gripping, immersive, and full of Vaseem Khan’s trademark wit, this is historical fiction at its finest. Book one in this series, Midnight at Malabar House, won the CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger and is an international ebook bestseller.
I am back to my Malabar House series catch up with book 2 The Dying Day. I loved getting to know Persis Wadia in Midnight at the Malabar House and so I have been waiting for the time to get stuck into book 2 to see what investigation she will find herself in the middle of this time. When she is called to the Bombay Royal Asiatic Society to investigate the theft of a priceless copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy and the disappearance of the head curator it looks like it should be a straightforward case, find the curator, find the manuscript. Added to this she is directed to oversee the investigation of a woman whose severed body was found on train tracks. Neither case is easy, and the pressure is on Persis to get to the bottom of it all.
Persis is still clearly fighting prejudice in her role as the first female police officer and her determination to prove she is as good as if not better than her male counterparts does sometimes lead her to make rash decisions or make her appear to be very standoffish. Some of that is down to events in her past that also come more to the front as someone she had hoped to never see again make a reappearance in her life. The chemistry between Persis and Archie Blackfinch is such that you can’t help but hope that they can overcome the obvious problems they would encounter and also that Persis could let her guard down once more and trust someone not to hurt her. I love the interactions between Persis and her aunt as they come at things from different perspectives and clash quite often but in doing so makes the characters seem so much more human and real.
I loved this book as it not only delves into the past history of India but also as we learn more about the life of John Healey, the missing curator, it links to the atrocities of WWII and what people did and suffered through in order to survive. Following the clues along side Persis I can honestly say I had no idea who was behind what as there were so many secrets and lies that I was left wondering if the crimes would ever be solved. For me that was the best part, the not knowing, the feeling that you just couldn’t put the book down as you wanted to know the ending. With a rich blend of characters, history and setting I am lucky in the fact that I don’t have to wait for ages before being able to read book 3 and it is already waiting for me.
About the Author
Vaseem Khan is the author of two crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series set in modern Mumbai, and the Malabar House historical crime novels set in 1950s Bombay. His first book, The UNEXPECTED INHERITANCE OF INSPECTOR CHOPRA, was a Times bestseller and an Amazon Best Debut, now translated into 15 languages. The second in the series THE PERPLEXING THEFT OF THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN won the 2017 Shamus Award for Best Original Private Investigator Paperback. The first novel in his new historical crime series, MIDNIGHT AT MALABAR HOUSE, features India’s first female police detective, and is currently longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Historical Dagger. The second, THE DYING DAY, is out in July 2021 and follows the theft of a 600-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy from Bombay’s Asiatic Society.
Vaseem’s aim with his books is to take readers on a journey to the heart of India, showcasing both the colour and darker aspects of this incredible country. Vaseem was born in England, but spent a decade working in India as a management consultant. When he’s not writing, he works at the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London. In 2018, he was awarded the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Award for Literature.
For more information about the world of his books please visit vaseemkhan.com where you can also keep abreast of Vaseem’s latest goings-on, competitions, events, and extracts from upcoming books via his newsletter.
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