Praying Mantis (Hardcover)
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A castle in the Himalayas. Five guests. One dead body.The idyllic Peter Dann Castle is a picture of tranquility as summer blooms in the Himalayan foothills. The heritage hotel has a reputation of being blessed - whatever happens here is said to happen for the good. Harith Athreya is invited here by his friend Javed, a retired police psychologist, to solve what appears to be an ominous riddle. Five friends have checked into the hotel, pretending to be mutual strangers. All other guests who were to check in have inexplicably cancel their bookings at the last moment, leaving the five as the only guests at the hotel. Suspicious, Athreya and Javed investigate and find that all the other bookings were spurious. What devious plot are the five guests hatching? But all five seem to be typical millennials in their late twenties: an angel investor (Sarosh), an interior designer (Ipshita), a popular singer (Dhavak), a religious girl (Linda) and a freelancer (Purbhi). Would such a group really be plotting something nefarious? Meanwhile, marks of a bloodied hand appear overnight. A woman staying in a nearby homestay (Mrinal) is seen secretly burning papers. And to top it all, Javed's daughter (Asma) is attacked by a knife-wielding man. When one of them plummets to their death off the rooftop terrace, Athreya and Javed investigate. Evidence and lies quickly pile up, and it becomes apparent that all the five guests had known Mrinal despite their claims to the contrary. Will Athreya be able to unmask the killer before the hotel claims another victim?
RV Raman is the author of the Harith Athreya mysteries, a series Agatha Christie-esque whodunits, published by Agora Books, as well as the Inspector Ranade and Inspector Dhruvi thrillers, published in India. Having travelled extensively in India and abroad, Raman takes his readers to real-life locations through his mysteries - each is set in a different picturesque location in the vast Indian countryside. The first Harith Athreya mystery, A Will to Kill, was named a New York Times Editor's Pick. Find him at www.rvraman.com and on Twitter @RVRaman_