Monday, March 27, 2023

Murder Under a Red Moon by Harini Nagendra


First Line: Mrs Kaveri Murthy's emerald green velvet blouse showed off her strong shoulders, developed through hours of swimming in the Century Club pool.
Kaveri Murthy is astounded when her domineering and very traditional mother-in-law asks her to investigate a minor crime-- especially during a very inauspicious blood moon eclipse. Unfortunately, she stumbles over a body at the very beginning of her investigation.
Political upheavals mean that Bangalore is no longer a safe place to be a detective, even with the help of Kaveri's Bangalore Detectives Club, a group of friends comprised of nosy neighbors, an ex-prostitute, and a policeman's wife as well as street urchins who give Kaveri her own "Baker Street Irregulars". 

When her own life comes in danger, she knows she must work even faster to find the killer before she becomes the next victim.


It's amazing how much atmosphere author Harini Nagendra can add to her charming Bangalore Detectives Club mysteries with the occasional description of sari fabric, adding some flowers, and a mouth-watering meal or two. After being captivated by The Bangalore Detectives Club last year, I was happy to see no evidence of a sophomore slump in Murder Under a Red Moon
Along with Hindu customs and religious practices, Nagendra's characters show us life in a country with burgeoning resistance to British colonial rule and a growing women's rights movement. Kaveri's Dictionary and Kaveri's Adventures in the Kitchen at the back of the book are icing on the cake. The author effortlessly pulled me into this young woman's time and place, and I loved it.

Kaveri Murthy and her husband, Ramu, a doctor, are progressive thinkers, and it's a pleasure to be in their company even though it's merely as fly-on-the-wall status. They look for ways to help others. Kaveri's "detectives club" comprises women from all walks of life, from nosy neighbors whom she's teaching to read and write to a policeman's wife and an ex-prostitute. She's even wound up with a couple of street urchins who insist on helping her. And it's no wonder because, although Kaveri does love a good mystery to solve, she's even more determined to help those around her. When she sees someone in need, she immediately wants to help (and not in just a short-term way).

Kaveri's mother-in-law, Bhargavi, was a caricature in the first book in this series, but she's not in Murder Under a Red Moon. Nagendra fleshes her out and makes her three-dimensional. The author can also write a scene that makes the hair stand on the back of my neck. (I don't think I'll be sleuthing during a red moon eclipse any time soon.) If I have any quibble at all with Kaveri's second investigation, it's that the whodunit part was much too easy to deduce, but guess what? I don't care. It gave me more time to don a fresh sari and jump into Kaveri's Ford with her to gather clues... and hope that there would be some tasty rewards when we arrived back home. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this series!
Murder Under a Red Moon by Harini Nagendra
eISBN: 9781639363735
Pegasus Books © 2023
eBook, 300 pages
Historical Mystery, #2 Bangalore Detectives Club mystery
Rating: A-
Source: the publisher


  1. Great review, Sounds so good, especially interesting about the political backdrop.

    1. She's also bringing in leaders in the fight for women's rights in India, Kathy. I know that will interest you.

    2. You know me well. A fascinating documentary about women in China tells of their study of Nushu, a secret language among women, titled Hidden Letters is at Independent Lens website. It also shows women talking about their dilemmas today, jobs, marriage, children. Hope you see it. I'm going to see it a second time, just love the women.

    3. I've read a little something about that, so I'll have to look that documentary up. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. I remember when you reviewed the first one in this series, Cathy, and I thought at the time I ought to read it. I still haven't *sigh.* Thanks for the reminder; both of those books get bumped up on my wish list...

  3. Glad this second book is every bit as good as the first one. It's a series I really want to read.

  4. I, too, enjoyed the first book in this series so I'm adding this one to my list.


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