When June Warner arrives in India to visit her sister Thalia, a trip to take her mind off her jilted engagement, she is greeted by the bright hot chaos of Mumbai but not her sister. She goes to the YMCA where Thalia is staying, only to find that she is not there.
Convinced that Thalia is in danger, June begins a desperate search for her younger sister.
Police Commissioner Oscar D’Costa, scarred by the tragedies of his past, swears he will never again ignore his gut instinct when it comes to a missing girl. And with more and more dead foreign women being found in his precinct, he becomes convinced a conspiracy is at play.
Through the 2 worlds (chaos and beauty) of India, they must find the girl who went missing.
“Look at the facts. Your sister is a student attached to the University of Mumbai. Her friends have told you that she often went away on trips. So yes, I think the logical explanation is that she went on a trip and has got delayed because of the train strike. It isn’t an uncommon occurrence in India. Now, if there was a boyfriend involved, something like that, I would be worried. Those types of disagreements can sometimes end badly. But I wouldn’t worry too much about a student who is trying to finish her work.” He smiled kindly at June, but she wasn’t appeased.
“I don’t think she has a boyfriend, but apparently she was having some trouble with her professor.”
June suddenly felt foolish. Meena hadn’t told her why Thalia was angry with the professor. But the commissioner was looking at her, so June said, “Her friend just said that Professor Pillai wanted to tell her how to do her work— ” June started, only to have the commissioner interrupt her.
“Professor Pillai? Your sister is a very lucky student to be studying with him. Professor Pillai is a famous man in these parts. Just last year he received our country’s highest honor, the Padma Bhushan. I am sure the professor has been giving her every help. After all, your sister has come all the way from America to study with him. Here in India we take such matters very seriously.”
June recalled all the glowing things Thalia had written about the professor. She had teased her, saying she seemed to have a crush on the man. And Thalia had said yes, she had an intellectual crush on him, he was so brilliant. He was also diligent, making every meeting, unlike some of the famous Berkeley professors who dutifully put up their office hours, but never seemed to keep them. But Thalia had long stopped her eulogic emails about the professor and June had just come from seeing a grumpy, ill-mannered man who had shown no sign of kindness.
She wanted to tell this to the commissioner, but the man who had shown her in knocked on the door and said the driver was waiting.
“I’m sure your sister is fine and that whatever disagreement she had with the professor would not cause him to harm her. But do give the relevant information about your sister to my secretary. And please, don’t worry. It is just routine. You must let me know when she returns, okay?”
I adore travel and adventure and have lived, for years at a time, in both India and America, as well as other countries. I always wanted to be a writer, and was inspired by Helen MacInnes, who wrote spy thrillers set in various European countries. It sounded like such a marvelous life; travel during the summer to a new country, then spend the year writing about an adventure set in that country. I decided to use my knowledge of India to create stories filled with the colors and sounds of that magical country. But I also wanted my writing to have meaning, and so I decided to write a mystery series featuring Commissioner Oscar D’Costa, with each novel highlighting a pressing social issue. I want my readers to enjoy the read, but I also want them to learn something new.