Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Pages: 352, hardcover
Captain Jim Agnihotri and his new bride, Diana Framji, return in Nev March’s Peril at the Exposition, the follow up to March’s award-winning, Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay.
1893: Newlyweds Captain Jim Agnihotri and Diana Framji are settling into their new home in Boston, Massachusetts, having fled the strict social rules of British Bombay. It’s a different life than what they left behind, but theirs is no ordinary marriage: Jim, now a detective at the Dupree Agency, is teaching Diana the art of deduction he’s learned from his idol, Sherlock Holmes.
Everyone is talking about the preparations for the World’s Fair in Chicago: the grandeur, the speculation, the trickery. Captain Jim will experience it first-hand: he’s being sent to Chicago to investigate the murder of a man named Thomas Grewe. As Jim probes the underbelly of Chicago’s docks, warehouses, and taverns, he discovers deep social unrest and some deadly ambitions.
When Jim goes missing, young Diana must venture to Chicago’s treacherous streets to learn what happened. But who can she trust, when a single misstep could mean disaster?
Award-winning author Nev March mesmerized readers with her Edgar finalist debut, Murder in Old Bombay. Now, in Peril at the Exposition, she wields her craft against the glittering landscape of the Gilded Age with spectacular results.
Peril at the Exposition is the follow-up to Nev March’s first novel, Murder in Old Bombay, featuring Captain Jim Agnihotri. Jim and his new bride, Diana, have moved from India to America. Jim has started work as a private investigator, and is sent to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair. After weeks of not hearing from Jim, Diana takes matters into her own hands and follows him from Boston to Chicago, where she finds danger and deceit.
I loved the first book, which was from Jim’s POV. This novel is told alternately by Jim and Diana, which allows the reader to have more of the facts and background. Jim has, perhaps understandably, become a bit harder since his move to the States and embarking on a new career. While I applaud Diana’s bravery and her ability to care for the less fortunate around her, I found her part of the investigation to be clumsy. I had difficulty believing that Jim couldn’t get a message to her for all that time, and didn’t feel like the story really needed her intervention. Her naivety imperiled those around her, as well as herself and Jim.
Still, the read was mostly enjoyable, for the story and the name-dropping of the like of Tesla. It also provided a window on the Expo and late 19th-century Chicago.