Harith Athreya

Created by RV Raman

According to Sarah Lyall over at The New York Times Book Review, Chennai, India’s HARITH ATHREYA is “a canny private detective… with a curious mind, a cool eye for the chance detail (and) a skill in synthesizing disparate threads.”

In his series debut, A Will to Kill (2021), he also displays “a talent for resisting the insults of the requisite police officer assigned to the case.” Mind you, impolite cops are the least of the detective’s worries, in what runs out to be one hell of a locked-room mystery, complete with a remote (and soon to be isolated) mansion in Nilgirisi, up in the hills of southern India. Harith has been invited, along with a dozen or so potential murder suspects, to stately (and possibly cursed) Greybrooke Manor by its owner, cranky, eccentric, wheelchair-bound Bhaskar Fernandez, who’s “crazy about crime fiction.”

Or maybe just crazy.

He’s certain one of his guests is out to kill him, and so the rich old kook has baited the trap by informing everyone that he has drawn up two distinct wills–one to take effect if he kicks the bucket due to natural causes, while the other kicks in only if he’s murdered.

Sure enough, somebody is soon knocked off. But it’s not the Lord of the Manor, after all. So… who’s next?

It’s a head-spinner, alright, and a sly update on the classic traditional mystery; one that bodes well for the series.


  • “The influence of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr on the narrative is compelling … The narrative style also shows influences of author Ngaio Marsh. Like Marsh, Raman’s prose is what really makes him stand out. It is subtle, clear, ironic, but always elegant and peppered with witty liners; his characters sharply, sometimes hilariously, drawn.”
    — Orissa Post


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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