Murder in Paharganj is a compelling thriller, one you may well find yourself carrying around and snatching every opportunity to read during the course of the day. It opens on our crime-reporting protagonist observing the hotel room in which a woman has been found. The orderly room and the circumstances of the death are mysterious, and we continue headlong into the reporter’s investigation. The classic potboiler plot is crammed with with political intrigue, a struggling romance, inner demons, and foreign locales. The writing style with chapters from various characters’ perspective allows us to see more as events unfold, while also developing secondary plots. The supporting characters are interesting choices, but their development is limited, especially that of Tonya, Vicks’ girlfriend whose professional experience in criminal profiling complements Vicks’ investigation.
The plot is fast-paced and the leads for the resolution are sprinkled throughout the narrative without giving away the end. The climax, however, is a rushed affair helped along with coincidences and some out-of-character actions to close out the plot. The antagonists lean towards cliche in their villainous monologues, but never veer into absurdity.
Murder in Paharganj is the perfect weekend read to transport the reader from India to Bangkok via Iran, with side trips into the minds of spies and killers.