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Hot Stage Reviews

“Anita Nair's novel could hardly be more topical. The book is set in 2012 against the background of a rise in Hindu nationalism in India, and it opens with the murder of a well-known secularist in Bangalore. The authorities fear that the elderly Professor Mudgood is the victim of a political assassination, but Borei Gowda, the assistant commissioner of police, is reluctant to jump to conclusions, especially when he learns about the dead man's spiteful character. Nair is one of India's foremost writers and she has an almost Dickensian ability to handle a huge cast of characters.”---Sunday Times, Picks of the Month


“Professor Mudgood, the murder victim in Anita Nair's Hot Stage (Bitter Lemon Press, £9.99), was much respected in life, though not much loved. The book takes place in 2012, and the professor was also a leading critic of India’s growing Hindu nationalist, ultra-right politics. All the same, Assistant Commissioner Gowda of the Bangalore police doesn’t think this one has the feel of a political crime. Too many of the dead man’s relatives and associates are hiding things, any of which might have provided a reason for killing him. Gowda’s team must descend into the violent underworld of a city undergoing rapid change as the rampant capitalism of “New India” fractures old communities and the democratic assumptions of the post-independence era. Any police procedural with such a setting is sure to be an interesting read, and when written by someone as accomplished as Nair it is immersive and irresistible”---The Morning Star 


"Hot Stage" is the third book in novelist Anita Nair's 'The Inspector Gowda Mystery Series and is 'vivid with detail and taut with suspense'. With the author's distinctive use of a narrative driven style of storytelling, "Hot Stage" will have a particular interest to fans of police procedural crime novels, international mystery novels, and contemporary novels set in the culture and milieu of India. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Anita Nair is one of India's most acclaimed authors. Her oeuvre ranges from literary fiction to noir to children's literature. Her books have been translated into thirty-two languages around the world. Anita is the recipient of several prizes and honours, including the Indian National Film Award in 2013 and the Central Sahitya Akademi award. Her novel Ladies Coupe, first published in the US ten years ago, is a feminist classic. The other two novels in the Inspector Gowda series are Cut-Like Wound and Chain of Custody. ---Wisconsin Book Watch


“A third and welcome volume in Anita Nair’s Inspector Gowda’s India-set police procedural series. Yet again, Nair immerses the reader in the squalor and colourful splendour of modern-day India, in all its teeming and atmospheric diversity where the balance between rich and poor and good and evil is sometimes measured by a single inch. When his daughter stumbles across the murdered body of a well-known critic of the right-wing government in Bangalore, Gowda is called on to investigate. Although all the evidence points to a politically-inspired assassination, he has serious doubts, not realising the price he will have to personally pay  for taking the path less-trodden and unveiling a Pandora’s box of simmering vice in a city and country in constant turmoil.  Set a couple of years following the previous novel in the series, this instalment sees the troubled Gowda now Assistant Commissioner of Police with a decidedly complicated private life involving a girlfriend, his estranged wife and son and Bhuvana, an amorous tenant whose intentions are somewhat ambiguous. Nair juggles a palette of fascinating and well-delineated characters, both within Gowda’s team and the path of his tortuous investigation, not unlike the way the great Ed McBain made the 87th Precinct gang a multi-faceted team, each member distinct and becoming familiar to the reader, albeit in this instance because of the Indian setting, exotic and moving between comic and earnest in turn, all rich in humanity. With twists a ‘plenty and taut dynamics the story races along despite its many diversions and make for an impeccable procedural with the added delight of social insights and nuances that are so particular of Indian society and its denizens. A first-rate series.”--CrimeTime




  • Author avatar
    Francois Von Hurter
  • Anita NairHot Stage