6 journalers for this copy...
What happens when the glitzy world of moviemaking Bombay meets the gritty conventions of film noir? With luck, something like this dazzlingly ambitious novel from Canadian journalist Leslie Forbes. "I haven't seen the eunuch in almost four weeks. Ignore what I wrote you before. No need to come here and rescue me," Miranda Sharma writes her sister from Bombay, in a disconcertingly "schizophrenic" postcard that sends Rosalind Bengal across continents and deep into a world where nothing is what it seems. Part Scottish, part Indian, Roz is a crime journalist who can't help following a good lead when it appears, especially when her sister's welfare is at stake. Miranda recently married one of the Indian film industry's most prominent directors, Prosper Sharma, a man who's spent 20 years working on a movie version of The Tempest and who is rumored to have murdered his first wife. After her postcard, four hijra--eunuchs or transvestites--are found drowned in an eight week period, one of them with alleged connections to the film industry. Coincidence or not, Roz feels compelled to investigate.
What follows is a most unusual thriller, and not just by virtue of its setting. Crackling with wordplay and allusion, and set against a city that resembles nothing so much as a stage set under construction, the hyper-literate Bombay Ice sports influences ranging from Shakespeare to Sunset Boulevard, chaos theory to Raymond Chandler. In between meditations on alchemy, entropy, and the science of weather, Forbes constructs an intricate story charged with all the tension of the coming monsoon. The result is never less than interesting, even when, as occasionally happens, the book's intellectual concerns threaten to overpower its plot. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A dazzling novel of murder and monsoons, of poison and seduction, of long-buried secrets and lethal betrayals...
Rosalind Benegal is a BBC correspondent who has spent years distancing herself from surreal memories of a childhood spent in India. But lately, her long-lost sister, Miranda, has taken to sending Rosalind cryptic postcards all the way from Bombay. In swirling script, Miranda claims she's being followed by a eunuch. She alludes to her childhood fear of water. She hints that her husband may have murdered his first wife. Miranda's dizzying missives compel Rosalind to do what she would never do on her own...return to the land of her birth, to the country that still haunts her after twenty years abroad.
Part literary thriller, part eloquent meditation on everything from the secret art of alchemy to the hidden lives of gangsters, artists, con men, transvestites, and serial killers, Bombay Ice is rich with the heady atmosphere of India. It is an extraordinarily intelligent debut that captures the very essence of an exotic and fabled land.
I got this through a virtual bookbox, intrigued by the blurb.
This is not your typical mystery. Roz heads to India after receiving a distressing letter from her estranged sister. It seems that Miranda's new husband, Prosper, is mixed up in the death of his first wife, along with a hijra (eunuchs dressed as women). She arrives in Bombay with her BBC presscard, something which gives her almost unquestioned access.
Roz is a prickly woman, caught between two worlds, connected to India through her parents, and Scotland through her mother, she now lives in London, not quite fitting in anywhere. There is a lot of tension between her and her younger half-sister, who is legitimate, not a product of a long-running and destructive affair as she is herself. Roz runs in, like a bull in a china shop, determined to uncover the connections between the dead hijras, Prosper's first wife, even when it puts people, including herself, in danger.
Roz has invaluable help from her highly educated taxi driver, one who likes to quote literature and saves her neck more than once. She has connections from the world of broadcasting, which help her get closer to Prosper's own filmset. India itself is as much of a character as Roz, with the storm clouds collecting, everyone waiting for the monsoon rains to finally fall. While they bring destruction, washing away the informal settlements, they also bring renewal.
The tension in the first half of the novel starts to lose its bite. The author brings in many sub-threads, which in coming together, actually drag the narrative down. This is not to say that Forbes is a bad writer, rather that she has tried to throw to many ingredients into the pot, such as Bollywood films, mental illness, art and the forgery of works of art, disfunctional families and the weather. Taken as a whole, the reader becomes distracted.
I would still recommend Bombay Ice for a read, the mystery in itself is well-constructed.
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