BREAKING AND ENTERING by H. R. F. Keating
AN INSPECTOR GHOTE MYSTERY
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Minotaur, November 2001
Inspector Ganesh Ghote is assigned Bombay's second most important case. While the rest of the elite Crime Bureau pursues the murder of one of Bombay's influential and well-protected millionaires, Ghote is supposed to track a mysterious jewel thief. This thief climbs high buildings, entering through open windows, and steals only a single item--always the most expensive and precious. Unfortunately, the police have already investigated and Ghote is stuck with looking into aging evidence and interviewing the rich and influential women whose jewels were stolen.
To Ghote's consternation, he runs into Swede Axel Svensson, formerly with UNESCO and now a tourist in India who insists on being included in Ghote's work. While the huge European provides strong backup, he can also be counted on to wallow through the sensibilities of the upper class victims of the burgular.
Author H. R. F. Keating (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of mysteries by Keating) offers an interesting look into policework in India. Ghote seems to be a different person when he deals with the wealthy and influential, and when he meets with their servants and the lower classes. Svensson is alternately disappointed by Ghote's reluctance to press his rich witnesses, and shocked by his harsh treatment of the lower classes.
The relationship between the two men is odd and somewhat disturbing. Ghote seems to hold Svensson in contempt, growing angry with the Swede's repeated failures to correctly pronounce Indian names and susceptability to Indian beggars, yet repeatedly calling on Svensson for aid. Svennson thinks of Ghote as his friend despite the way Ghote mistreates him.
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