Death at the Durbar

Written by Arjun Raj Gaind
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In December 1911, the British are preparing to host a grand Durbar while awaiting the arrival of King George V in India. A tent city has been set up outside Mughal Delhi as the location for the coronation. A beautiful young girl is discovered dead in one of the tents. Maharaja Sikander Singh of Rajpore is called in to investigate the matter and is sworn to secrecy. He has only a few days to discover if the girl was murdered and then who committed the crime. They don’t want the death to ruin the celebration of the coronation. As the investigation moves forward, the list of suspects grows as time continues to run out.

Because of the number of characters and the Indian names among those identified as suspects, it became confusing at times matching the suspects with their reasons for attempting the murder. This is a minor problem, because as Maharaja Singh closed in on the murderer, I was able to bring it together.

This is the second Maharaja mystery. The author is familiar with the culture and politics of the era, and he paints a rich, thorough picture of India during the Raj period. It’s enjoyable as an historical novel as well as a well-written mystery.