Inspector Ghote’s First Case
Inspector Ghote has been with us for over forty years, solving crimes in newly independent India since it was contemporary and not historical fiction. This installment returns us to the moment when Ghote has just been advanced to the rank of inspector and posted to the Crime Branch in Bombay. His wife is expecting their first child, he wants to move to a new flat corresponding to his new status – but is called by Sir Rustom Engineer to investigate the suicide of the wife of an old British acquaintance – coincidentally also pregnant.
Self-doubts plague the novice inspector in a maddening fashion, resonating the words from the Sir Lawrence Olivier Hamlet which duty compels Ghote to miss attending with his wife: “a man who couldn’t make up his mind.” Of course, in Ghote’s case, the doubts bring him back again and again to probe the life of the dead woman that was more than it seemed, even to her husband. To my ears, pitch-perfect Indian English, even in Ghote’s tortured thoughts, keeps the story going at a clip. Excellent reading for those who couldn’t get enough of Slumdog Millionaire.