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Published by Lost Button
Publishing, 21 December 2018, ISBN: 978-1-79170123-9 (PB)
Summer in Goa and Detective Arthur Chupplejeep is on
holiday with his on-off fiancée Christabel in spite of the fact that he cried
off the wedding a month before it was due to take place. She has not quite
forgiven him, although she does admit to herself that she loves him. They are
now staying in the little lakeside house that had belonged to Chupplejeep’s
adoptive mother and expecting to have a quiet and peaceful time together. Of
course, that doesn’t happen.
Just as they arrive
Chupplejeep’s childhood friend Dilip Mendoca informs him that a body has been
found in a boat and as a detective with a formidable reputation Chupplejeep
should be involved. The dead man is Ranjit Bhobe, a boatwalla who rowed visitors
around the lake. Although the local detective Vitek Kumar is reluctant to admit
there could be anything suspicious about Ranjit’s death and would prefer a
finding that the death was caused by Ranjit’s drunkenness, as is his widow
Talika whom Chupplejeep thinks is not quite as grief-stricken as she first
appears to be although his daughter Roshi is distraught and determined that the
killer be unmasked. Talika is also comforted by Sneha Dhanjeet who runs the
local retreat. Christabel signs up for sessions at the retreat and there
encounters several people who have possible connections to Ranjit. And there is
Vadish, a local gangster who is under instructions from his boss to eliminate
someone . . . But murder is perhaps a step too far for Vadish.
A number of lively
and interesting characters appear in this third contribution to the Chupplejeep
series in which the author portrays Goa which, although nowadays an integral
part of India, has its own distinct culture and cuisine (particularly important
for Chupplejeep and Christabel), arising from the lengthy Portuguese
colonisation, where members of different religions live in harmony.
de Lunais an up-and-coming
young author with a passion for writing, travel and adventure. Marissa grew up
in Goa before she moved to Oxford but her time spent in Goa has always been an
inspiration to her. On a recent trip there, in awe of the tranquility and charm
of the rural villages, she conceived the idea of Detective Chupplejeep. Under
the Coconut Tree is her third novel. It is the first book in the
lighthearted Detective Chupplejeep series
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.