Published by Harper Collins India
Genre- Crime Fiction
An ageing and wheelchair-bound Bhaskar Fernandez has finally reclaimed his family property after a bitter legal battle, and now wants to reunite his aggrieved relatives. So, he invites them to his remote Greybrooke Manor in the misty Nilgiris – a mansion that has played host to several sudden deaths; a colonial edifice that stands alone in a valley that is said to be haunted by the ghost of an Englishman.
But Bhaskar has other, more practical problems to deal with. He knows that his guests expect to gain by his death. To safeguard himself against violence, he writes two conflicting wills. Which one of them comes into force will depend on how he dies.
Into this tinderbox, he brings Harith Athreya, a seasoned investigator. When a landslide occurs, temporarily isolating them and resulting in a murder, Athreya finds that murder is not the only thing the mist conceals.
Told in third person and with a very Agatha Christie like feel throughout the novel, Mr. Raman wove a story of murder and deceit, set in the misty Nilgiris.
A Will to Kill is what I imagine would happen if Hercule Poirot lived in India in the current times. It was my first time reading crime fiction set in India, so at first, this setting was difficult to immerse into but once I got used to it, I couldn’t put the book down! In fact, I read most of the book in one day.
I felt like the investigation began long before the murder even happened and while it may have made sense for how the story eventually progressed, it made me impatient for the murder to happen (it sounds so wrong I when put like that).
Although it took time to set the scene, the story was very well paced once the scene had been set. I especially loved how the panoramic views had been described. I could very well imagine the mist laden Greybrook Manor with a lonesome and haunted feel to it, as if I were there myself.
The story was reflective of how disagreements between siblings over inheritance result in family feuds and lengthy court cases, a common occurrence in India.
Athreya as a character wasn’t explored very deeply in my opinion. His backstory except for the fact that he has helped the police solve a lot of cases, remains mostly unknown to the reader.
Although the book didn’t end in a very big reveal, the smaller revelations helped propel the story forward. It was written in such a way that you would not be able to guess who the killer was till the end, even with the clues out in the open. Thus the element of suspense was there throughout for me.
Also, a trigger warning- The story features an abusive relationship, though it does not form a major part of the story.
All in all, I am looking forward to more of Harith Athreya and his mysterious escapades. If you like crime fiction, A Will to Kill is a must read!
Disclaimer- A physical review copy of the book was provided to me by the publisher. This in no way influences my review and rating. Thank you Harper Collins India!