Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Little Victim-R.T. Raichev

The Little Victim
R.T. Raichev
Soho, Jun 2009, $25.00
ISBN 9781569475751

Mystery writer Antonia Darcy and her husband Major Hugh Payne travel to India where they stay at at Coconut Grove in Goa, home of Indian gangster Roman Songhera. However, the felon is upset with his mistress Ria, daughter of Lord Justice Toby Leighton; in fact she is driving him insane with her out of control scandalous behavior as she has done with her estranged concerned dad.

At a lavish garden party hosted by Songhera, a drunken Englishman Julian Knight makes two startling claims to Antonia. First he swears he works for Leighton and second he insists he saw Songhera kill Ria. The man fears that Songhera will kill him next to make sure there are no witnesses to testify. Antonia informs Hugh, and the married couple investigate the apparent homicide of Ria; neither expected there were so many suspects wanting the English mistress dead.

The latest Darcy-Payne amateur sleuth (see ASSASSINS AT OSPREYS) is an excellent whodunit filled with twists, red herrings, plenty of suspects, a local atmospheric flavor and clever spins while also paying homage to the classic mysteries (including brilliant chapter titles). The story line is fast-paced from the moment the lead couple arrives in Goa and never slows down. THE LITTLE VICTIM is a super one sitting whodunit as nothing is quite like it seems.

Harriet Klausner