The Astral Alibi / Stellar Signs

Kiriyama Prize 2007, honored The Astral Alibi as a notable book.

Village Books in Historic Fairhaven :

One reviewer likened this book to Poe and Doyle but I think it is more akin to Christie and McCall Smith. And, like McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, we are once again on foreign soil among foreign customs trying to solve altogether familiar crimes of passion and deceit. Have you ever before read of a detective who reads astrological signs for clues to the drumming beat of the Beatles? Sonia Samarth is a unique detective who does get results though, like Poirot, she sometimes has to resort to theatrics to catch the culprit. Taking place in Pune, India (the actual home of the author), The Astral Alibi isn't just one mystery but several mysteries presenting themselves to our original detective over the course of a year during which time Hindu festivals come and go. Sonia has to travel to several other cities in her role as detective and some very interesting cultural details are revealed in the telling of her stories. You can enjoy this book on several levels, as an armchair traveler, as a crime aficionado and as an astrological revelation.

Publishers Weekly

Two years after her solid puzzler,The Cosmic Clues , introduced astrologist PI Sonia Samarth, Prabhu returns to Pune, India, for an interlocking series of mysteries that sees Sonia's sleuthing career picking up, her love life getting complicated and her pet cat in danger. After a slow start, this cozy gathers speed, delving into the day-to-day business of Stellar Investigations, the firm Sonia runs with her gung-ho assistant, Jatin. Using the stars, Indian wisdom and Sherlockian logic, Sonia tackles cases involving a pair of onstage deaths, a murdered bride, a famous musician whose fatal heart attack leaves his wife suspicious, and a pair of missing antiques. Meanwhile, Sonia has to deal with threatening notes ("Stop the astrological nonsense or you will never see your cat again!"), a mysterious figure in white and the romantic advances of both a reporter and a notorious thief. Prabhu's breathless tone propels and charms, and the depiction of contemporary Indian culture keeps even mundane scenes interesting. With her smart, stand-tough heroine, Prabhu should secure new fans with this series entry.
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