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Under the Coconut Tree

Author(s): Marissa de Luna

Location(s): Goa

Genre(s): Mystery

Era(s): Modern



In the early hours of November 11th the body of Sandeep Shah is discovered, nestled amongst a pile of coconut husks. Detective Arthur Chupplejeep and Police Officer Pankaj are called to investigate. From their experience this should be a straightforward case, but in a small village like Utol, everybody has something to hide.

Suspects soon start coming out of the woodwork. Bala, the pau wallah, has a history with the deceased that he has taken great care to conceal. Then there is Sandeep Shah’s lover and her jealous partner. Even the victim’s family seem to have a good enough motive to kill. To top it all, the telephone number of local moneylender, Sanjog Viraj, is found tucked under the victim’s bed. He looks like a key suspect, but everybody knows Sanjog is more like a Pomfret than a shark.

Detective Chupplejeep and Pankaj have their work cut out, sifting through village life, rumour and gossip to get to the truth. But along with solving the case, Detective Chupplejeep has his own problems. His girlfriend, Christabel, is growing impatient with his failure to put a ring on her finger and with his fortieth birthday fast approaching and a recent black mark against his name from the Inspector General of Police, Chupplejeep is having doubts about his professional competence. His dream of being Goa’s answer to Poirot is far from becoming a reality.

As the mystery of the body deepens, and the pressures at home begin to weigh on the Detective’s mind, will Chupplejeep be able to solve the case and return peace to the sleepy village of Utol once again?

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Lead Review

An enjoyable detection novel set in rural Goa. I was right there with the characters!

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