The Detective – Ajay Chowdhury

The Detective is the third entry in the Detective Kamil Rahman series (following on from the award winning The Waiter and The Chef – if you haven’t read them, you could still read this one, but really, you should check those out first; not just for narrative clarity, but because they are so good…)

We’re post pandemic – and a lot has changed since book two: and not just the fact Kamil is able to carry out his crime investigations in an official capacity in his position in the London Met  – and it’s a busy first day on the job as a tech entrepreneur is found shot dead, alongside three more bodies from a historic murder.

The Detective is a multi-layered beast of a novel: moving from the previous novels’ more personal investigation into officialdom, but also through its considerations around institutionalised racism, historical wrongs, current worries around privacy, oh – and a consideration on Israeli Palestinian conflict. All with some subtle commentary on socio-political- technology issues…

There’s a lot to take in, but it never comes at the expense of a good mystery and the polemics are expressed through three dimensional characters.

Moving from amateur sleuth to police procedural does require a few instances of belief suspension – would the police/ special branch/ parliament/ NDA wary tech companies be happy for a civilian side kick like Anjoli (Kamil’s ex-restaurant boss and will-they-won’t they-romance) to ‘tag along’: maybe not, but the pair are such an engaging detective duo and the author makes it so much fun I was happy to go along with it.

All in all this is a worthy successor to the first two books in the series that manages to balance (as unlikely as this sounds) an almost cozy crime feel with some serious matters and violent acts. That’s a balancing act I haven’t seen many authors be able to pull off.

The ending suggests there are more to come in the series and I for one look forward to whatever they author comes up with next.

(Reviewer note: I’m happy to say there is indeed a fourth book in the series, and The Spy could be the best in the series yet – but more to come on that when it comes out next year!)

Hardcover, Audio and Kindle. Paperback due January 2024 from Harvill Secker

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