Friday 31 December 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

Becker is a British traveler in trouble. Madhurima is a rising star police officer. In these three explosive tales, the two join forces to investigate the city’s crooked high society.

On the way, they take on deluded would-be messiahs in search of Mother Teresa’s stolen millions, encounter fanatics, circus freaks and cannibals, fall in and out of love and pay homage to one of the world’s most beautiful and toughest cities.

Amidst passion, murder and mayhem, is there room for two lovers driven by justice and compassion?

Tom Vater's 'Kolkata Noir' is a riveting crime fiction cycle of three novellas set in the past, the present and the future.

Kolkata Noir was a really enjoyable outing for me, not least because of its setting of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). With the exception of a couple of Brian Stoddart books (A Madras Miasma and The Pallampur Predicament) read years ago I haven't visited India at all in my reading. More fool me.

Vater provides three separate tales, linked by the two main protagonists - Becker, a tourist, a photographer and sort of busy body, poke-your-nose-in-when-asked investigator and a female police officer, Madhurina. 

In addition to three different problems that need attention, there is an obvious deep, enduring relationship between the two characters which transcends time and despite the lack of physical fulfillment nevertheless convinced me of its validity. It provoked a kind of sliding doors, what-if musing regarding the pair and different paths and outcomes and alternate futures they could have enjoyed together. As someone who believes in love at first sight and can actually cite a long-standing marriage (33 years and counting) off the back of such an encounter (well it was love for me initially. She took a bit of persuading) the romantic in me loved and also rued the dynamics of Becker and Madhu's encounters. 
Regarding the plot. I liked the three tales, with the future set, climate damaged world one best of all.

1999 .... murder, marital disharmony, money and scheming.

2019 ... grifters, gangs, kidnap and a recovery mission.

2039 ... a flooded city, an uncertain future, re-location.

Really enjoyable overall. I loved the portrayals of Kolkata, a city and environment far-removed from my own .... the street life, the hotels, trains, the culture, the values, the mores, the professional woman operating in a male dominated world, 
4 from 5

I've enjoyed Tom Vater's work before - The Monsoon Ghost Image back in 2018. 

Read - December, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 208
Source - review copy from author
Format - Kindle


  1. This looks really appealing, Col. The setting, of course, got my attention right away. And these sound like solid, well-paced stories. I may have to look this one up!