Death in the Air

Ram Murali

Death in the Air
Allen & Unwin
18 June 2024

Death in the Air

Ram Murali

Murder. It's terrible for your karma.

Even worse for your holiday.

Welcome to Samsara, a world-class spa nestled in the Indian Himalayas where all your wishes are only a gilded notecard away. Ro Krishna has just checked in. With his rakish charm, Oxford education, and perfect hair, he had it all - well, until he left his job under mysterious circumstances. It was super hectic, and Ro decides it's time for some much-needed R&R. At Samsara, he's free to explore the innumerable yoga classes, wellness treatments and guided meditation sessions on offer alongside the rest of the exclusive hotel's guests.

Until one of the guests - gorgeous, charismatic, well-connected, like most of them - is found dead. As everyone scrambles to figure out what happened, Ro is pulled into an investigation that endangers them all and threatens to spiral beyond the hotel walls. Because it turns out it's not just heiresses and Bollywood stars-to-be that have checked in: cocktail hour is over, and death is on the prowl . . .

Bursting with wit, glamour and smarts, Death in the Air is a murder mystery like no other: at once a love letter to Agatha Christie and a razor-sharp exploration of colonialism and class.


Knives Out meets Crazy Rich Asians in this entertaining and witty whodunnit where murder has never been so glamorous. Everyone who’s anyone goes to Samsara, a luxurious and extravagant spa at the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. When Ro Krishna, a lawyer in training and expert in living the most opulent lifestyle possible, goes for some much-needed R&R during the Christmas period, he is fully prepared to undergo the true meaning of ‘samsara’, which is Sanskrit for the cycle of death and rebirth. However, there is more death than he was bargaining for when he stumbles across the dead body of a woman. As more and more people are found dead, the guests of the spa become suspicious of each other and of Samsara, and what secrets lurk beneath its glittering exterior.

With the familiar features of the classics such as those by Agatha Christie and Richard Osman, yet contemporary and sparklingly unique, Ram Murali’s debut offers something new to the crime genre. With commentaries on race and class, he explores discussions surrounding greed, cultural appropriation, and the horrors of Partition. Death in the Air is a tale of cultural identity; of the difficulty of feeling disconnected from one’s roots after moving to a new country with a different language and customs, and of ultimately finding oneself again. In this story, Ro is not only solving the murders of the upper elite, but he is also figuring out who he is and what it means to be an American son of Indian parents.

Peppered with dark humour, charm and cleverness, Death in the Air will make you laugh, think, and struggle between bingeing it all in one go or savouring every juicy detail. This is the perfect book to read between friends, for a book club, or for one’s own enjoyment!

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