Harith Athreya Mysteries: whodunits set in picturesque corners of India

This new series, which features the gentleman sleuth Harith Athreya, is set in remote and picturesque locations in the vast Indian countryside. From the misty Nilgiris to the lofty Himalayas, from serene backwaters to a wooded riverbank in Central India, these books take readers on a virtual tour of the Indian hinterland. With murder and intrigue as accompaniments.

A WILL TO KILL is the New York Times Editor’s Choice (January 2021). NYT recommends this book.

A WILL TO KILL named one of the best traditional mysteries of 2020. By Crimereads.

The New York Times: “… a modern-day take on the classic locked-room murder mystery, transported to a remote mansion high in the hills of southern India.”  …  “Athreya is a fine detective with a curious mind, a cool eye for the chance detail, a skill in synthesising disparate threads and a talent for resisting the insults of the requisite police officer assigned to the case.”

The Sunday Times (UK): “RV Raman’s hugely engaging novel A Will to Kill is set in modern-day India, but its origins lie in the golden age of crime fiction. . . Raman makes the most of his version of a locked-room mystery, endowing Athreya with an omniscience rarely seen in today’s jaded detectives.”

The Guardian (UK): “A Will to Kill is a slice of sheer pleasure: a locked-room mystery that blends the feel of classic crime with the modern world, while presenting a proper, thorny puzzle. There are Cluedo-esque maps of the manor and family trees to enjoy, as well as Athreya himself, the sort of brilliant detective who is a joy to watch piecing together the answers.”

“In this kickoff to a new series, Raman brilliantly evokes Agatha Christie’s classic country estate mysteries for modern-day India. When a patriarch emerges from a legal battle victorious and with his estate again free to dispense, he summons his family to a mansion in the Nilgiris valley. Knowing he’s at risk of coming to an untimely end at his relatives’ hands, he draws up two wills, in sharp conflict with one another, with one set to prevail depending on the exact manner of his death. It’s an ingenious plot, and Raman takes obvious delight in teasing out the suspense to great effect.CrimeReads

“… a whodunnit modelled on the lines of classic mysteries with an old world charm …” The Hindu

“… the influence of Agatha Christie on the author’s writing is unmissable. Enjoy a nostalgic trip back to your teenage years when crisp crime thrillers kept us awake for long nights.” The Telegraph

“… the narrative tradition of Christie and Doyle has found a worthy successor in RV Raman.” National Herald

“This is no regular whodunnit though! It is pacey, clean and doesn’t have a single dull moment.” … “What might feel like a simple plot is dealt with beautifully.”  Hindustan Times

“The influence of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr on the narrative is compelling … The narrative style also shows influences of author Ngaio Marsh. Like Marsh, Raman’s prose is what really makes him stand out. It is subtle, clear, ironic, but always elegant and peppered with witty liners; his characters sharply, sometimes hilariously, drawn.” Orissa Post

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Watch a short video about the book.

Read a recent article on Crimereads

“RV Raman knows how to take the simplest of subjects (which are relevant, too) and turn them into novels that you wouldn’t want to put down.” The Hindustan Times

“Raman goes the Christie way in this excellent closed-room mystery that keeps us guessing till the very end even when the clues are out in the open.” The Statesman

“While comparisons to veteran thriller writer John Grisham are inevitable, Raman’s writing is more inspired by the older canon of  crime writing.” The New Indian Express

“Raman stays true to his reputation of delivering an intricate plot with characters of substance, the right dose of suspense and bind it all together by keeping the narrative pacy. The corporate setup is easy to understand even for those with no business background.” The Hindustan Times

“RV Raman picks a crime fiction to make a debut and weaves a tight plot and a clear narrative to keep you engrossed.” The Hindustan Times
“Every reader will be compelled to treat the case at hand as if they are the person solving it, because Raman’s narrative (which at times will remind you of Agatha Christie’s work) allows you to speculate and theorise quite often” The Hindustan Times

“Fraudster (Hachette) is an amusing work by first-time author, RV Raman, challenging some of the stereotypes in the genre of thrillers. The way the book is pieced together is remarkable, in that it looks nicely webbed.” The New Indian Express
“If art imitates life, then we all need to be very worried. RV Raman’s novel, Fraudster, is an insider’s account of the less than salubrious side of the corporate world.” Deccan Chronicle

“Red herrings galore, there is never a dull moment in the book. The writing is crisp and self-assured and the author’s confidence shows in the way the story unfolds and in the way the motives and secrets of characters are revealed. The cliffhanger chapter-ends and solutions have readers slapping their foreheads. The denouement is crisp and impactful and doesn’t draw out over pages.” Orissa Post

Corporate Thrillers


The spectacular growth India has enjoyed in the past decade has driven the stakes higher than ever before, and has had an unintended casualty – ethics.

The growth that brought a flood of opportunities and created entrepreneurs has also enabled scam artists. Businessmen who had nothing to do with power generation, for instance, try to set up power projects. Colleges sprout on vast acreages in the middle of nowhere, with few students and fewer teachers. Warehouses and retail space sometimes serve as facades for real estate plays.

In this occasionally unholy dash, aspiration sometimes outpaces ability, and men resort to murky means. Access to funds and approvals become the tallest hurdles to profiteering, but some enterprising ones find ingenious ways around these obstacles.

In this, they are abetted by another consequence of our dramatic growth – greed. Men who held staid jobs for years suddenly find themselves as gatekeepers, controlling the flow of money and approvals. Some fall to temptation.

These are stories of the black sheep of corporate India. How far are they from reality? Gentle Reader, you be the judge.


  1. Damodar baliga

    Dear sri Raman,
    I had happened to buy your first book “fraudster” on the first day of realease and had completed the entire book overnight. I am an avid fan of corporate thriller and I read only Indian authors.
    It is my previlege to have been able to read your books. I was keenly awaiting for your second book, which I had the opportunity to buy it today as soon as it hit the book store in Mangalore.
    It is Indeed a blessing to have such great writers in India.
    Thank you for the wonderful books. Pray to almighty to Contineously enlighten you with many such spine chilling books.
    I remain .
    With regards
    Damodar Baliga

    • Dear Mr Baliga

      Thank you very much for writing in with such encouraging words. I am, of course, delighted that you liked FRAUDSTER. I hope you like INSIDER too.

      Wish you happy reading.


      RV Raman

  2. Good stuff! Looking forward to the next book.

  3. Nice website… saw it just now.

  4. Saikumar C Krishna

    Have read your Fraudster and Saboteur. The latter was completed in 5 days flat. So absorbing and surely unputdownable. Fast paced. I couldn’t bring myself to the truth that sabotage can be ruthlessly perpetrated from the sources one can least expect. Brilliant book.
    I somehow missed out on Insider which I am going to lay my hands on soon.

  5. Saikumar C Krishna

    Started reading Conspirator, belatedly though but ensured buying “will to kill” for my travel reading.
    Awesome, gripping narration seems to be your hallmark.

  6. Manohar Prabhu

    Just started to read A will for Kill, it is really fantastic, it feels like a Agatha Christie novel with new age.

  7. Very interesting! This is the first mystery set in India that I’ve read. The setting is similar to rural England and the book is reminiscent of Agatha Christie. I’ll try some more in Indian detective fiction.

  8. Dear Sir, I have just finished reading The Conspirator. I have already read The Insider and The Fraudster. Every time I finish a books of yours, I’m in awe of how you have managed to keep us on the edge of our seats till the last chapter. Your books are surely a Page Tuner and I tend to always imagine your stories while reading as if I’m watching a nail biting thriller movie. I’m looking forward to start reading your other books soon.

  9. Sir… I have completed your “FRAUDSTER” recently..!
    Nd loved it like anything else! I haven’t known much more about corporate world..but I like thriller! Nd honestly I liked it so much.. it’s my previlege to have been able to read your book..!
    Hope.. I would be able to read all of your books!😊
    It’s a blessing to have such Indian Authors!!🙏🏻

    Akankshya Jena

  10. Hi Sir,

    This is Adithya From Chennai. I’ve Read the Praveen Ranade Series of Yours and Truly Impressed By Your Narration & Plot that You’ve Set Around the Corporate World. Infact I’ve Already Bought All of Your Books and Now Starting with the Inspector Dhruvi Series. Really The Amount of Information that I Gained after Reading the Fraudster & Insider Have Ignited My Passion Towards Doing a Self Study & Research on Stock Trades along with Process to be Followed by Banks in Lending Loans for Business. Clearly We Common People Should Know More About the White Collar Crime & it’s Adverse Effect on a Economy.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Adithya S

    • Thank you, Aditya. Truly appreciate your support. Happy that you found my books instructive. One of the reasons for my writing about white collar crime is to shed some light on what happens in some parts of the corporate world. Happy reading!

  11. Hello Raman sir,I haven’t read any of your works as I m really in influence of Carr novels ,so I’m completing his works but finding him in India is really very very hard,but I will surely read your works,thanks for starting writing detective novels,India really need more writers.

  12. Hi Sir,

    I’ve Completed Your Dhruvi Series as well(Saboteur & Conspirator) Really Informative. After Saboteur I Partly Understood How a E-Commerce Organization Functions and What is the Valuation Game Played in the Corporate World. Conspirator is Set Around Media Channels That is what which made me Read the Book in 2 Days So Many Similarities which can be found in our World like how the News Media Houses Functions and How Political Parties around the World Use them. But the Ultimate Twist was Share Price Rigging which i did not Expect to Pop Out at the Later Chapters Once Daniel Character Started Playing it’s part in the Story. Hope You’ll Continue the Corporate Espionage Series in Future as Well.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Adithya S

  13. Stanley Heginbotham

    In our Agora paperback copy of A Will to Kill, page 278 is completely missing

  14. Just finished reading A Will to Kill and was simply blown over by its intricate plotting and denouement. Very rare in Indian mysteries. Harith ATHREYA is an investigator worth following. Looking for to his next adventure A Dire Isle. Keep writing.

  15. Hello, I just finished reading A Will to Kill after hearing about it through the Shedunnit podcast. I enjoyed the story very much! I look forward to future novels in the series.

  16. Hello RV Raman

    I read A Will to Kill and was intrigued the way you have written this murder mystery, I would like to get in touch with you to know if you will be interested to see this is in a screenplay form

    • Thank for the offer. I appreciate it.

      The film rights for the book have already been taken, and the screenplay written.

      Thanks for you interest in the book.


      On Thu, 2 Feb, 2023, 4:20 pm Detective fiction set in India – corporate &

  17. Hi sir, I started reading your first cozy mystery yesterday, a will to kill, and I finished it this morning. What an nice mystery novel, I really enjoyed reading jt and I can’t wait to read your next books.

    As an avid reader of the golden age murder mystery and Shin Honkakus, reading “a will to kill” was pure joy.

    However, on the edition that I bought(Pushkin vertigo), it was written on the cover that it is “a modern take on the classic locked-room murder mystery” (a quote of the new York times)

    I was kind of thrown off during my reading, because there is no locked room murder in “a will to kill”. It was unfortunately a source of disappointment, since I was expecting to read a locked room murder mystery.

    The mystery is still a great one, and I like your take on the cozy murder mystery. But I wonder why Pushkin Vertigo has put this Quote right next to the title, it is pretty misleading.

    Still can’t wait to read your next work.

  18. Hi Sir,

    Huge fan of all your books, awaiting May 25 for Praying Mantis.

    When is The Last Resort releasing ?

    Hope you treat us with a white collar thriller also soom.

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