Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's


Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$2.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Mystery- A to Z

Six Suspects

by

Six Suspects Cover

ISBN13: 9780312605032
ISBN10: 031260503x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $2.50!

 

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The Bare Truth

Arun Advanis column, 25 March

SIX GUNS AND A MURDER

Not all deaths are equal. Theres a caste system even in murder. The stabbing of an impoverished rickshaw-puller is nothing more than a statistic, buried in the inside pages of the newspaper. But the murder of a celebrity instantly becomes headline news. Because the rich and famous rarely get murdered. They lead five-star lives and, unless they overdose on cocaine or meet with a freak accident, generally die a five-star death at a nice grey age, having augmented both lineage and lucre.

That is why the murder of Vivek ‘Vicky Rai, the thirty-two-year-old owner of the Rai Group of Industries and son of the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has been dominating the news for the past two days.

In my long and chequered career as an investigative journalist I have carried out many exposés, from corruption in high places to pesticides in cola bottles. My revelations have brought down governments and closed down multinationals. In the process, I have seen human greed, malice and depravity at very close quarters. But nothing has revolted me more than the saga of Vicky Rai. He was the poster boy for sleaze in this country. For over a decade I tracked his life and crimes, like a moth drawn irresistibly to the flame. It was a morbid fascination, akin to watching a horror film. You know something terrible is going to transpire, and so you sit transfixed, holding your breath, waiting for the inevitable to happen. I received dire warnings and death threats. Attempts were made to get me fired from this paper. I survived. Vicky Rai didnt.

By now the facts of his murder are as well known as the latest twists in the soap operas on TV. He was shot dead last Sunday at 12.05 a.m. by an unknown assailant at his farmhouse in Mehrauli, on the outskirts of Delhi. According to the forensic report, he died of a single lacerating wound to his heart made by a bullet fired at point-blank range. The bullet pierced his chest, passed cleanly through his heart, exited from his back and became lodged in the wooden bar. Death is believed to have been instantaneous.

Vicky Rai had enemies, for sure. There were many who hated his arrogance, his playboy lifestyle, his utter contempt for the law. He built an industrial empire from scratch. And no one can build an industrial empire in India without cutting corners. Readers of this column will recall my reports detailing how Vicky Rai engaged in insider trading at the stock market, defrauded investors of their dividends, bribed officials and cheated on his corporate tax. Still, he didnt get caught, always managing to exploit some loophole or other to stay out of reach of the law.

It was an art he had perfected at a very young age. He was only seventeen the first time he was hauled up in court. A friend of his father had given him a swanky new BMW, the five series, on his birthday. He took it out for a spin with three of his buddies. They had a noisy and boisterous celebration at a hip pub. While driving back at three a.m. through thick fog, Vicky Rai mowed down six homeless vagrants who were sleeping on a pavement. He was stopped at a police checkpoint and found to be completely sozzled. A case of rash and negligent driving was lodged against him. But by the time the case came to trial, all family members of the deceased had been purchased. No witnesses could recall seeing a BMW that night. All they could remember was a truck, with Gujarat licence plates. Vicky Rai received a lecture from the judge on the dangers of drink-driving and a full acquittal.

Three years later, he was in court again charged with hunting and killing two black bucks in a wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan. He professed he didnt know they were a protected species. He thought it funny that a country that could not protect brides from being burnt for dowry and young girls from being picked up for prostitution should prosecute people for killing deer. But the law is the law. So he was arrested and had to stay in jail for two weeks before he managed to obtain bail. We all know what happened next. The only eye witness, Kishore - the forest ranger who was driving the open jeep - died six months later in mysterious circumstances. The case dragged on for a couple of years but ended, predictably, in Vicky Rais acquittal.

Given these antecedents, it was surely only a matter of time before he graduated to open murder. It happened seven years ago, on a hot summer night, at Mango, the trendy restaurant on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, where he was throwing a big bash to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. The party began at nine p.m. and carried on well past midnight. A live band was belting out the latest hits, imported liquor was flowing and Vicky Rais guests - an assortment of senior government officials, socialites, current and former girlfriends, a few people from the film industry and a couple of sports celebrities - were having a good time. Vicky had a drink too many. At around two a.m. he staggered to the bar and asked for another shot of tequila from the bartender, a pretty young woman dressed in a white T-shirt and denim jeans. She was Ruby Gill, a doctoral student at Delhi University who worked part-time at Mango to support her family.

‘Im sorry, I cant give you another drink, Sir. The bar is now closed, she told him.

‘I know, sweetie. He flashed his best smile. ‘But I want just one last drink and then we can all go home.

‘I am sorry, Sir. The bar is closed. We have to follow regulations, she said, rather firmly this time.

‘F**k your regulations, Vicky snarled at her. ‘Dont you know who I am?

‘No, Sir, and I dont care. The rules are the same for everyone. You will not get another drink.

Vicky Rai flew into a rage. ‘You bloody bitch! he screamed and whipped out a revolver from his suit pocket. ‘This will teach you a lesson! He fired at her twice, shooting her in the face and the neck, in the presence of at least fifty guests. Ruby Gill dropped dead and Mango descended into bedlam. A friend of Vickys reportedly grabbed his arm, led him out to his Mercedes and drove him away from the restaurant. Fifteen days later, Vicky Rai was arrested in Lucknow, brought before a magistrate, and managed yet again to obtain bail.

A murder over the mere refusal of a drink shook the conscience of the nation. The combination of Vicky Rais notoriety and Ruby Gills beauty ensured that the case stayed in the headlines for weeks to come. Then summer passed into autumn, and we moved on to new stories. When the case finally came to trial, the ballistics report said that the two bullets had been fired from two different guns. The murder weapon had inexplicably ‘disappeared from the police strong-room where it was being stored. Six witnesses, who claimed they had seen Vicky Rai pull the gun, retracted their statements. After a trial lasting five years, Vicky Rai received a full acquittal just over a month ago, on 15 February. To celebrate the verdict he threw a party at his Mehrauli farmhouse. And that is where he met his end.

Some will call this poetic justice. But the police call it an IPC Section 302 crime - culpable homicide amounting to murder - and have launched a nationwide search for the killer. The Police Commissioner is personally supervising the investigation, spurred, no doubt, by anxiety that the promised sinecure of the Lieutenant Governorship of Delhi (reported six weeks ago in this column) will vanish into thin air should he fail to crack this case.

His diligence has yielded good results. My sources tell me that six suspects are being held on suspicion of murdering Vicky Rai. Apparently Sub-Inspector Vijay Yadav was on traffic-control duty at the farmhouse when the killing occurred. He immediately sealed off the premises and ordered the frisking of each and every one of the three-hundred-odd guests, waiters, gate-crashers and hangers-on there at the time. The place was practically bristling with weaponry. During the search, six individuals were discovered to have guns in their possession, and were detained. I am sure they must have protested. After all, simply carrying a gun is not an offence, provided you have an arms licence. But when you take a gun to a party at which the host gets shot, you automatically become a suspect.

The suspects are a motley lot, a curious mélange of the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. There is Mohan Kumar, the former Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, whose reputation for corruption and womanizing is unparalleled in the annals of the Indian Administrative Service. The second is a dim-witted American who claims to be a Hollywood producer. Spicing up the mix is the well-known actress Shabnam Saxena, with whom Vicky Rai was infatuated, if the gossip in the film magazines is to be believed. There is even a jet-black, five-footnothing tribal from some dusty village in Jharkhand who is being interrogated at arms length for fear that he might be one of the dreaded Naxalites who infest that state. Suspect number five is an unemployed graduate named Munna with a lucrative sideline as a mobile-phone thief. And completing the line-up is Mr Jagannath Rai himself, the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Vicky Rais dad. Could a father stoop any lower?

The six guns recovered are equally assorted. There is a British Webley & Scott, an Austrian Glock, a German Walther PPK, an Italian Beretta, a Chinese Black Star pistol and a locally made improvised revolver known as a katta. The police appear to be convinced that the murder weapon is one of these six and are awaiting the ballistics report to match bullet to gun and pinpoint the culprit.

Barkha Das interviewed me yesterday on her TV show. ‘You devoted much of your career to exposing the misdeeds of Vicky Rai and castigating him in your column. What do you plan to do now that he is dead? she asked me.

‘Find his killer, I replied.

‘What for? she wanted to know. ‘Arent you happy Vicky Rai is dead?

‘No, I said, ‘because my crusade was never against Vicky Rai. It was against the system which permits the rich and powerful to believe that they are above the law. Vicky Rai was only a visible symptom of the malaise that has infected our society. If justice is really blind, then Vicky Rais killer deserves to be brought to account just as much as Vicky Rai did.

And I say this again to my readers. I am going to track down Vicky Rais murderer. A true investigative journalist cannot be swayed by his personal prejudices. He must follow the cold logic of reason till the very end, no matter where and who it leads to. He must remain an impartial professional seeking only the bare truth.

Murder may be messy, but truth is messier. Tying up loose ends will be difficult, I know. The life histories of all six suspects will need to be combed. Motives will have to be established. Evidence will need to be collated. And only then will we discover the real culprit.

Which of these six will it be? The bureaucrat or the bimbo? The foreigner or the tribal? The big fish or the small fry?

All I can tell my readers at this point in time is - watch this space.

 

Excerpted from Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

Copyright © 2008 by Vikas Swarup

Published in 2008 by St. Martins Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

MaryAlice, April 26, 2010 (view all comments by MaryAlice)
Six Suspects is a big, chewy mystery. Vikas Swarup whose "Q and A" became the academy award winning, "Slumdog Millionaire," weaves the individual stories of a Bollywood movie star, a hapless, gullible Texan, a sweet stone-age tribesman, a wily bureaucrat, a handsome young thief and a cunning government official around a murder. The victim, Vivek "Vicky" Rai, dies during a party he throws to celebrate his acquittal of the murder of a bartender who refused to serve him a final drink. Each character brings a world of other interesting and moving characters that held me throughout the two-day read of the 479 pages. I would recommend keeping a list of characters' names and who they are, like a playbill. I got a bit lost sometimes as to who was who since the story moves back and forth among the characters but I couldn't bring myself to stop long enough to do that. Didn't matter. By the last page, I could smell the curry. It was great.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312605032
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Swarup, Vikas
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
India
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Mystery & Detective/International Mystery & Crime
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100817
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

Other books you might like

  1. With Wings Like Eagles: A History of... Used Book Club Hardcover $8.95
  2. Dark Dreams Used Trade Paper $6.95
  3. Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie...
    Used Mass Market $4.50
  4. Girl in a Blue Dress: A Novel... Used Hardcover $4.95
  5. The Day We Found the Universe
    New Hardcover $25.75
  6. Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing... Used Hardcover $5.96

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Six Suspects Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Minotaur Books - English 9780312605032 Reviews:
"Review" by , Reviled playboy, industrialist, son of India's home minister, and recently acquitted murderer Vicky Rai is shot in cold blood at his own celebration bash, and six suspects are rounded up, all carrying guns. If Agatha Christie wrote a mystery about modern India, it might be something like this, as each of the six suspects is profiled by an investigative journalist. How did they end up at Vicky's party? Why does each one have a motive to kill him? Why are they all carrying guns? Swarup, author of Q&A (2005), the novel on which Slumdog Millionaire was based, gradually reveals the answers to each of these questions through lengthy and detailed case studies of the suspects: a Bollywood actress, an American tourist from Texas, a tribal member from the Andaman Islands, a corrupt bureaucrat who claims to be Gandhi, a mobile-phone thief from the slums, and Vicky's own father, an ambitious and ruthless politician. Charming, atmospheric, and driven equally by character and plot, Six Suspects is bound to be popular with traditional mystery fans and readers of international crime fiction, as well as the legion of Slumdog devotees. Highly recommended. (Starred Review)
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the international bestseller Slumdog Millionaire comes a richly textured tale of murder, corruption, and redemption. Audaciously and astutely plotted, Six Suspects is the work of a master storyteller.
"Synopsis" by ,

Theres a caste system--even in murder

 

From the author of the international bestseller Slumdog Millionaire comes a richly-textured tale of murder, corruption, and opportunity.

 

Seven years ago, Vivek “Vicky” Rai, the playboy son of the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, murdered bartender Ruby Gill at a trendy restaurant in New Delhi, simply because she refused to serve him a drink.

 

Now Vicky Rai has been killed at the party he was throwing to celebrate his acquittal. The police recover six guests with guns in their possession: a corrupt bureaucrat who claims to have become Mahatma Gandhi overnight; an American tourist infatuated with an Indian actress; a stone-age tribesman on a quest to recover a sacred stone; a Bollywood sex-symbol with a guilty secret; a mobile-phone thief who dreams big; and an ambitious politician prepared to stoop low.

 

Swarup unravels the lives and motives of the six suspects, offering both a riveting page-turner and an insightful peek into the heart of contemporary India. Audaciously and astutely plotted, with a panoramic imaginative sweep, Six Suspects is the work of a master storyteller.

"Synopsis" by ,

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Slumdog Millionaire comes a richly textured social thriller.

Seven years ago, Vivek “Vicky” Rai, the playboy son of the home minister of Uttar Pradesh, murdered bartender Ruby Gill at a trendy restaurant in New Delhi, simply because she refused to serve him a drink. Now Vicky Rai has been killed at the party he was throwing to celebrate his acquittal. The police arrest six guests with guns in their possession: a corrupt bureaucrat who claims to have become Mahatma Gandhi; an American tourist infatuated with an Indian actress; a Stone Age tribesman on a quest; a Bollywood sex symbol with a guilty secret; a mobile-phone thief who dreams big; and an ambitious politician prepared to stoop low.

Swarup unravels the lives and motives of the six suspects, offering both a riveting page-turner and an insightful look into the heart of contemporary India.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.