A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao Paperback Book

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A Disappearance in Fiji

by Nilima Rao

A charming debut historical mystery set in 1914 Fiji.

FORMAT Paperback CONDITION Brand New

Publisher Description

1914, Fiji: Akal Singh, 25, would rather be anywhere but this tropical paradise - or, as he calls it, 'this godforsaken island'. After a promising start to his police career in Hong Kong, Akal has been sent to the farflung colony of Fiji as punishment for a humiliating professional mistake. Lonely and grumpy, Akal plods through his work and dreams of a return to Hong Kong, or even his native India.

An indentured Indian woman goes missing from a sugarcane plantation and Fiji's newspapers scream 'kidnapping', just as the Indian indentured servitude program is being scrutinised for alleged abuses. Fiji's inspector-general reluctantly assigns Akal the case, as the senior Indian police officer available. Akal, eager to achieve redemption, agrees - but soon finds himself far more invested than he could ever have expected.

When he arrives at the plantation to investigate, Akal must confront the brutal realities of the indentured workers' existence and the racism of the British colonisers in Fiji - along with his own thorny notions of identity and class. His interrogations of the white plantation owners, Indian indentured labourers and local Fijians yield only one conclusion: there is far more to this case than meets the eye.

Nilima Rao's sparkling debut mystery offers an unflinching look at the impact of colonialism, even as it brims with wit, vibrant characters and fascinating historical detail.

Author Biography

Nilima Rao is a Fijian Indian Australian who has always referred to herself as 'culturally confused'. She has since learned that we are all confused in some way (and has been published on the topic by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service as part of the SBS Emerging Writers Competition, so now feels better about the whole thing). When she isn't writing, Nilima can be found wrangling data (the dreaded day job) or wandering around Melbourne laneways in search of the next new wine bar. A Disappearance in Fiji is her first novel, and she is currently working on the second in the series.


"This is an utterly charming novel. The setting is exotic and the characters are intriguing. Nilima Rao is an author well worth discovering." -Alexander McCall Smith, bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series

"Meet Sergeant Akal Singh, the complex and charming hero of a thoroughly original mystery set in 1914 Fiji. Fans of Golden Age mysteries will relish this debut novel by a compelling new talent, Nilima Rao. More, please!" -Sujata Massey, Agatha Award-winning author of A Murder at Malabar Hill

"A poignant and entertaining read . . . Sergeant Akal Singh is a charmingly imperfect and captivating protagonist. I love Akal and hope we'll be seeing a lot more of him!" -Ovidia Yu, author of the Aunty Lee Singaporean Mysteries

"A marvelous debut that beautifully paints life in a part of the world that few of us have a chance to visit. The highlight of Nilima Rao's well-crafted novel set in Fiji in the days of British colonial rule is the collision of cultures and class and how one man is charged with the task of unlocking the mysteries they create. A pleasure to read." -Colin Cotterill, author of the Dr. Siri Paiboun Mysteries

"A gripping, authentic and brilliantly told mystery story that brings to life colonial era Fiji with a wealth of intriguing characters and underlying tensions. I have found a new favorite mystery series!"
-A.M. Stuart, author of the Harriet Gordon Mysteries

Details ISBN1760688274 Author Nilima Rao Format Paperback Year 2023 ISBN-13 9781760688271 Publication Date 2023-06-06 Imprint Echo Publishing Country of Publication Australia AU Release Date 2023-06-06 Publisher Allen & Unwin Audience General NZ Release Date 2023-06-05

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  • Condition: Brand New
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9781760688271
  • Author: Nilima Rao
  • Book Title: A Disappearance in Fiji

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