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Death at the Durbar (Maharajah Mystery #2)
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Death at the Durbar

(Maharajah Mystery #2)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  28 reviews
December, 1911. All of India is in a tizzy. A vast tent city has sprung up outside the old walled enclave of Mughal Delhi, where the British are hosting a grand durbar to celebrate the coronation of the new King, George V. From across India, all the Maharajas and Nawabs have gathered at the Viceroy's command to pay homage and swear loyalty to the King Emperor, the first mo ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Poisoned Pen Press
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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 ·  81 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Death at the Durbar is the second in a trilogy (the third book hasn’t been published) of historical fiction novels by Arjun Raj Gaind, one of India’s best-known comic book writers and also creator and author of several graphic novels. It takes place in 1911 in India, and features Sikander Singh, the Maharaja of Rajpore (a fictitious kingdom), an amateur detective by interest and choice, and in this novel strong-armed into investigating a crime on behalf of the British Raj. I didn’t read the firs ...more
I was captivated by the fact that this was a historical mystery set in the waning days of the British Colonial era in India and the detective is a maharajah.

Death at the Durbar is the second book in the series and I didn't realize until after I read this one which worked just fine as a standalone or out of order.

Sikander Singh is the maharajah of the fictitious Indian kingdom of Rajpore. His is one of the less powerful and smaller, but nonetheless he is expected by the Brits to be a
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This excellent mystery is set in 1911 in Delhi, India. The British are presenting the new king, George V, in a durbar that will be attended by all the Maharajas and Nawabs. The Delhi Durbar in 1911 was organized by the British to honor the coronation of the new king. It is a historical fact that George V was the only actual British king to attend a durbar. Maharaja Sikander Singh of Rajpore is summoned by the British to help solve the murder of a nautch-girl. (A nautch girl was a highly skilled ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story reminded me of bagatelle or pinball, where the ball bounces mindlessly from pin to pin until it eventually settles somewhere. Similarly, the investigator in this story bounces (or is booted) from suspect to suspect until, voila, he finds the killer. The story is largely devoid of clues and detection, and instead provides a series of disjointed interviews. There is no real thread of investigation where the reader sees a story developing. Instead, you begin with a list of suspects (each ...more
A murder mystery set in 1911 Delhi. It's the sequel to A Very Pukka Murder , but you could easily read this without having read that one. Our main character is Sikander Singh, the maharaja of a small state in northwest India. He's a fairly typical hero of the mystery genre: rich, privileged, intelligent, and oh so very bored with life. Thus he turns to solving mysteries. In this case he's been summoned to Delhi for the British Empire's Durbar: an enormous celebration crowned by the arrival of King Ge ...more
Brian Williams
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of the book to review.

This is a historical murder mystery set during the time of the Raj when the British were in control of India.

The King of England, George V, who is also Emperor of India, is visiting India. He is the first British king to do so. Huge celebrations have been scheduled to mark the visit and all the Indian maharajas have come to Delhi to pay homage to the king. The Durbar is a lavish tent city which has b
Karla Huebner
This is the second of the author's mysteries featuring the aristocratic fin-de-siecle sleuth Sikander Singh, the Maharaja of a small state in British India. I was pleased to be able, for once, to read two library mysteries in a series in the correct order and close together. On the other hand, this also made me more aware of things that I wasn't as fond of. In addition to not being as fond of the sleuth as I might like (which is perfectly okay--obviously one does not have to love every protagoni ...more
Anna Bergmark
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story kicks off straight away, swooping us up into activity and mystery at the Durbar (a strange, luxurious large scale scout camp!) and then...

Finally! What the first installment sorely lacked; a sidekick! Race and rank separates them and our grumpy and arrogant maharajah sure doesn’t want a helping hand with anything, but on page 88 Captain Campbell has already grown on him, just as the maharajah grows on the captain and both of them grows on us. Ah, male friendship! Ain’t it marvellously
Simrita Dhir
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Arjun Raj Gaind's Death at the Durbar, which is the second of the Maharaja mysteries, is a riveting saga set against the backdrop of King George V's 1911 visit to the Delhi Durbar. Gaind presents the social, cultural and political history of the time with accuracy and finesse, transporting the reader to enchanting British India. The sleuth, the charismatic Maharaja Sikander Singh of Rajpore with his extraordinary ingenuity, affability and resolve makes for an unforgettable protagonist. Caught be ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
King George V, Emperor of India, is about to arrive in Delhi for his very public coronation. The who's who of Indian society, Maharajahs and princes, and members of the British Raj, have arrived in their thousands. The Maharajahs and princes have set up pavilions and courts, all designed to show how rich and influential they are.

And in the middle of it all, in the King's own pavilion, an Indian dancer is found murdered. The King is due to arrive within 48 hours and Sikander Singh, Ma
Jane Irish Nelson
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
It is 1911, and all of India is preparing for the Great Durbar to welcome King George V, the first King-Emperor to visit. But when the body of a nautch girl is found in the Durbar grounds, the mystery must be cleared up before the king arrives, in less than two days. Tasked with that job is Sikander Singh, Maharaja of Rajpore. As he seeks out interviews with the various Indian potentates who may have had motives, Sikander is also fighting the clock. The story includes fascinating background info ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this as much as I did the first in the series ("A Very Pukka Murder"), but unfortunately...Sikander Singh, the Maharaja of Rajpore, is one of the many Indian rulers attending the Durbar, a ceremonial gathering, celebrating George V's ascension to the throne, and the first visit of a British monarch to India. While preparations are still under way, officials find a dead body in the king's quarters. Since Sikander is known as an amateur detective, he's asked to find the mur ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great mystery series set in colonial India before WWI. The stories revolve around the Maharaja of Rajpore who has studied modern detective techniques and enjoys putting those skills to work.

This book is set in Delhi at the Durbar for King George V. This is a gathering of all the princes of India to celebrate and acknowledge the King Emperor. Days before the King is set to arrive a dead body is discovered in the Kings own private quarters. Sikander is brought in to solve the
Deepika Anand
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book a lot of historical insights and some Sherlock's level of reasoning but unfortunately either I knew those facts already so maybe I skipped or may there weren't any "historical insight". The climax of this book was very predictable if you have seen even a single episode of CID or Crime patrol. Although I liked the fact that the protagonist could actually see why the British Rule was not beneficial for Indians in the long run. I have met people who think British Rule did some ...more
Kathleen Gray
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This historical mystery might make you work to keep track of what's going on and who's who but that's a good thing. India in 1911 was a very different place than it is today and if you aren't familiar with the real life players, well, you'll learn as you follow Sikander as he tries to determine who killed a dancing girl before King George V arrives in Delhi. The British give him a partner- Captain Campbell. There's good interplay between them as they work through the very lengthy list of suspect ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was enjoyable and I did learn a lot of quirky things I never knew about India before, but at times it really bogged. Most particularly when the author embarked on the "begats" as it were of each of the suspected Maharajas family lifelines. Not that they were not interesting and based primarily on anecdotes of the real flesh and blood ones, but it did sort of go on and on just a bit too long. Other than that, the plot was a good one, the twists and turns unexpected and the eventual iden ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
An intriguing beginning quickly degenerates into a "then we talked to this man, and then this guy, and this other woman, and then her brother" with little to no actual detecting and a laughable ending. An editor should have gripped the author by the shoulder and firmly told him to write the novel about the durbar and stop trying to fool everyone with this mystery nonsense. Anyway, super repetitive and wastes a potentially interesting setting - a pass for me.

I received an ecopy from t
Anil Dhingra
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2018
The book is a whodunnit based in Delhi of 1911. A durbar was held in Delhi to celebrate the appointment of George 5 as Head of the Indian empire. It was attended by all the Kings of various states, big and small, of India in all their splendour.
The book outlines actual facts and anecdotes of various Kings from Scindia of Gwalior to Patiala, Kashmir and other states. The only fiction is the murder at the durbar before the arrival of the Chief guest and it's investigation by a sleuth King.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
This was awful. Gaind is at pains to point out that Sikander Singh isn't a misogynist but the entire damn book is steeped in misogyny. The narrative is weighed down with too much 'telling' and the diction is painfully, earnestly posh British. Save yourself.
Doug Murphy
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
My favorite Maharaja detective solves a murder at King George V’s Durbar.
L.V. Krish
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
The story was pretty thin. The language felt a bit pretentious to me. The grand, wordy descriptions are likely to impress non-Indians, I guess, but I found it tiresome.
Susan Pola Staples
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-review
really fun and good.

Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
too much atmospheric color made the plot development too slow for me. I didn't finish it
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Not as good as his first but still a decent mystery.
Colored Ink
rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2018
nikkia neil
rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2018
Wytzia Raspe
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In 1911 the new British king is about to visit India. It is the first time that a British king and Indian emperor will visit his jewel in the crown. For the occasion a durbar is set up. For me as a European it sounds a bit like the World Expo I once visited: a huge area where every Indian kingdom has a piece of land to erect a pavilion and other tents on where they can present themselves combined with an area for the British.

Just a few days before the monarch will arrive a dead dancing girl is
rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2018
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Other books in the series

Maharajah Mystery (3 books)
  • A Very Pukka Murder (Maharajah Mystery #1)
  • The Missing Memsahib (Maharajah Mystery #3)