Evans, Geraldine - 'Up in Flames'
DCI Will Casey and his sergeant Thomas Catt are called to a fire at a flat and find the bodies of a mother and small baby. Chandri Basi had been living in the flat with her young baby girl, Leela. She had been made a widow when her husband died suddenly in a car accident. Her mother-in-law had blamed her and thrown her and their grandchild out. The parents and parents-in-laws are very traditional but Chandri was a young woman with modern ideas, who loved her husband very much even though her marriage had been arranged.
The fire seemed to be the third in a series of fires targeted at the Asian community but whereas the other targets had been businesses, this was the first in a residential area and where lives had been lost. Casey's superintendent is convinced that the attacks are racist in their intent and wants the culprits caught as a matter of urgency. Although Casey is not convinced that this latest incident is by the same hand, he has no option but to take the confessions of two local skinheads seriously, while feeling that Chandri and Leela's deaths are due to reasons closer to their home.
Casey's life is made more complicated by the unexpected arrival of his parents - aged hippies who need his financial help yet again. However, he finds that the years he spent trailing in their wake around India and his mother's extensive knowledge of the country and its customs are invaluable in teasing out the information that he needs to solve the deaths.
This is the first novel in the series featuring Casey and Thomas although the author is well established with other popular series. I enjoyed reading the book. I felt that the author had done her research both in terms of Indian customs and also the issues facing British-born second generation Indians, particularly women, in this country. It was a good read and I am looking forward to reading more.
Susan White, England