It’s several years since I first met the brilliant Vaseem Khan and discovered what an erudite, charming and downright lovely man he is, but although I have had that privilege several times, even introducing him at the Deepings Literary Festival, and have carried copies of his books to on holiday to India, Sri Lanka and Croatia, I’ve never before managed to read him! It’s more than time to correct that and I’m delighted to share my review of Vaseem’s latest book, The Lost Man of Bombay today. My huge thanks to Vaseem for ensuring I received a copy and to the folk at Hodder for sending me the book in return for an honest review.
The Lost Man of Bombay is published today, 18th August 2022 by Hodder and Stoughton and is available for purchase through the links here.
The Lost Man of Bombay
When the body of a white man is found frozen in the Himalayan foothills near Dehra Dun, he is christened the Ice Man by the national media. Who is he? How long has he been there? Why was he killed?
As Inspector Persis Wadia and Metropolitan Police criminalist Archie Blackfinch investigate the case in Bombay, they uncover a trail left behind by the enigmatic Ice Man – a trail leading directly into the dark heart of conspiracy.
Meanwhile, two new murders grip the city. Is there a serial killer on the loose, targeting Europeans?
Rich in atmosphere, the thrilling third chapter in the CWA Historical Dagger-winning Malabar House series pits Persis against a mystery from beyond the grave, unfolding against the backdrop of a turbulent post-colonial India, a nation struggling to redefine itself in the shadow of the Raj.
My Review of The Lost Man of Bombay
Persis has several new cases to solve.
I must say at the outset that although The Lost Man of Bombay is the third book in the Malabar House series, it doesn’t matter at all if, like me, you haven’t read the first two; but be warned, after reading this one you’re going to want to read the others immediately. I just loved it!
In The Lost Man of Bombay there’s such a fluid and engaging style that the pages turn themselves. There’s a lightness of touch and a wry humour beneath Vaseem Khan’s writing that means he paints a vivid educational picture of India’s history, politics and geography without the reader actually realising how much they are learning at the same time as being brilliantly entertained. The Lost Man of Bombay truly transports the reader to post war India through the use of the senses, painterly descriptions and authoritative, assiduously researched, writing.
The plot is outrageously good, writhing along with dramatic pace so that it is impossible to guess the various reveals as they come, making for an exciting, ensnaring story. I loved the way Persis uncovered the truth with chapters ending on mini cliff hangers, or by her mind slipping to other events so that at the same time the plot is being revealed, Persis’ character is developed too.
And what a character Persis is. She’s fabulous. The first female Indian policewoman she is multi-faceted and layered and by no means perfect, being spikey and quick-tempered as well as occasionally immature and selfish so that she feels all the more vivid and real. Her tortured feelings about her father, her position in society and about Archie make her absolutely of the era of The Lost Man of Bombay, yet simultaneously modern and fresh, ensuring she is relatable and appealing. Vaseem Khan has so engaged me with Persis’ character that I simply have to read the first two books in the Malabar House series to discover more about her back story and cannot wait for another adventure featuring her.
Adventure is just one aspect of Vaseem Khan’s wonderful narrative. There’s police procedural crime, historical fiction, intrigue and a smattering of romance that makes The Lost Man of Bombay such delicious storytelling of the very best kind. With humour and emotional connection added too, I absolutely adored The Lost Man of Bombay. It’s gone straight on the list of my favourite reads this year. Don’t miss it!
About Vaseem Khan
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, now translated into 15 languages. The second in the series won the Shamus Award in the US. In 2018, he was awarded the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Award for Literature. Vaseem was born in England, but spent a decade working in India.
Midnight at Malabar House, the first in his historical crime series, won the CWA Historical Dagger 2021, the pre-eminent prize for historical crime fiction in the world. His book The Dying Day about the theft of one of the world’s great treasures, a 600 year old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, stored at Bombay’s Asiatic Society.