First Line: The visitor was ill at ease, fidgeting with his watch's metal strap, locking and releasing the clasp repeatedly.
Wheelchair-bound Bhaskar Fernandez invites his feuding relatives to Greybrooke Manor, a remote estate with a deadly past in the misty Nilgiris hills of southern India. One of Fernandez's objectives is to explain the two wills he has had written. One will in the event of his natural death; the second will if he dies any other way. Into this tinderbox, he has invited seasoned investigator Harith Athreya.
On the day of Athreya's arrival, a landslide isolates all of the guests at the estate, and a murder rapidly follows. Almost immediately, Athreya learns that a killer is not the only thing that the mist conceals.
A Will to Kill is perfect for Agatha Christie lovers. Raman has crafted an intricate plot that keeps all a reader's little grey cells working at high speed in order to deduce everything that's going on (and there's quite a lot). For those who love to concentrate on puzzles and plots, I highly recommend this book.
However, if-- like me-- you're a character-driven reader who also likes a rich, vivid setting, you're not going to enjoy A Will to Kill as much. Although it is very atmospheric, I was hoping that the setting would be more vibrantly Indian as I've come to expect and love in mysteries written by Tarquin Hall and Vaseem Khan, for instance. In the case of this book, it would appear that the British Raj had never ended. That in itself is a setting to be reckoned with, but it's a bit bland. (But it doesn't detract from that plot, eh?)
Yes, A Will to Kill is all about the plot. None of the characters really stood out in my mind, although the compassionate way Athreya deals with a bored, silly woman is quite touching and does say a great deal about the type of person he is. If I'm in the mood for a Christie-esque, plot-driven mystery, I'll pick up the next Harith Athreya mystery. If not...
For you, the choice will be an interesting one.