Book House

“The Bangalore Detectives Club”: This mystery thriller is set in 1920s Bangalore

Author Harini Nagendra
  • The book “The Bangalore Detectives Club” by Harini Nagendra is the book one in The Bangalore Detectives Club series.

  • The book features the amateur detective Kaveri. When she moves to Bangalore to marry doctor Ramu, she’s resigned herself to a quiet life. But that all changes when she attends a party at the Century Club, and the party turns into a murder scene.

  • When a vulnerable woman is connected to the crime, Kaveri becomes determined to save her and launches a private investigation to find the killer. She soon finds that sleuthing in a sari isn’t as hard as it seems when you have a talent for maths, a head for logic and a doctor for a husband.

  • Read an excerpt from the book below.

Mrs Kaveri Murthy pulled out her oldest sari, nine yards of checked cotton in dark brown. She felt so excited that she wanted to scream, but that would not do, so she resorted to her usual method for calming herself down, which was to make a mental list of all the objective facts at hand. Which were, at this very moment:

She was about to go swimming.

She had not gone swimming in three years.

Back at the Maharani Girls’ School, she used to swim all the time, doing laps of the shaded marble pool in the courtyard. That had all stopped once she was married. Her mother had refused to let her entertain the notion, saying it would not do for the wife of a respected doctor to be seen in a wet clinging sari. Kaveri began to realise there were a lot of things that a good married woman did not do.

But she was in a new city now, her mother miles away in Mysore. She remembered herself three months back, an anxiety-ridden bride, travelling north to Bangalore to begin life with her new husband. She had bitten her nails in the carriage and worried that he would find her too tall. Their formal marriage ceremony had taken place three years earlier – a loud explosion of a ceremony with drums and gongs which had left her with tinnitus – but this would be the first time she could call him ‘husband’ in the true sense of the word. To be able to pad barefoot into the kitchen, still wearing her housecoat, and say, ‘Good morning, husband!’ Her husband, Doctor Rama Murthy, Ramu to his friends and family.

Her first day in Bangalore she had been unable to rest and did not fancy sitting in silence with her new mother-in-law, nervously drinking cardamom tea and praying she wouldn’t accidentally let out a burp or say the wrong thing. Leaving her unpacked bags at the house, she had visited the hospital where Ramu worked and encountered kind, ample-bosomed Mrs Reddy – the wife of another doctor – who had taken her under her wing and told her about the swimming pool at the Century Club.

They had been standing in the shaded verandah of the hospital, fanning themselves.

‘What I would give for a dip in a pool!’ Kaveri had sighed. ‘Do you swim?’ Mrs Reddy had turned towards Kaveri, her pencilled eyebrows raised.

‘Oh, I used to! My home—’ she paused, ‘my parents’ home, in Mysore, used to have a large open well. My father gave us swimming lessons in it. He used to say that I must have been a water-sprite in an earlier life. I used to float in the well for hours when I was a little girl.’

‘My dear! I also swam when I was young. Our male servants kept guard around the pond when we went for a swim, keeping their backs to us. Brandishing large bamboo lathis, they would swat away anyone who came too close!’

‘At the Maharani Girls’ School, the Maharani – the Queen – gave us access to the palace swimming pool. She strongly believed in the importance of exercise for young women.’ Kaveri’s face lit up as she remembered those days when she swam and studied and did whatever she pleased, unhindered by rules about married women knowing their ‘proper place’.

That seemed to give Mrs Reddy an idea. ‘My daughter goes for a swim each Sunday at the Century Club, with the Iyengar girls,’ she said. The Iyengar girls were the daughters of another well-respected doctor in town. ‘In the mornings, from seven to eight, the pool is reserved exclusively for the use of women.’

‘Really?’ This all sounded very modern and avant-garde to Kaveri – who was only nineteen, and the daughter of a conservative family.

‘Of course,’ Mrs Reddy said. ‘You’re in cosmopolitan Bangalore now, and we’re in the 1920s, not some provincial backwater of centuries past. You must ask your husband to bring you next Sunday, and join us.’

Excerpted with permission from The Bangalore Detectives Club, Harini Nagendra, Hachette India. Read more about the book here and buy it here.


The Dispatch is present across a number of social media platforms. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for exciting videos; join us on Facebook, Intagram and Twitter for quick updates and discussions. We are also available on the Telegram. Follow us on Pinterest for thousands of pictures and graphics. We care to respond to text messages on WhatsApp at 8082480136 [No calls accepted]. To contribute an article or pitch a story idea, write to us at [email protected] |Click to know more about The Dispatch, our standards and policies