Cromartie v. The God Shiva by Rumer Godden

Cromartie v. the God Shiva cover

Or to give it its full title: Cromartie versus the God Shiva acting through the Government of India. This was a very recent purchase from an Edinburgh charity shop and it jumped swiftly to the top of the queue mainly because it’s only 170 pages long so it’s a quick read.

This book was Rumer Godden‘s last one and was published the year before she died. She had a long life, born in 1907 and died in 1998. She spent the last 20 years of her life in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, but she lived in India for a long time and a lot of her books have an Indian setting.

This one is set in India’s Coromandel coast. A beautiful and ancient statue of Shiva has disappeared from the Patna Hall Hotel and has been replaced by a fake. Who stole it and who made the fake? How did Cromartie, a Canadian dealer end up with the statue? Michael Dean is a young lawyer from London who has been given the case for the defence.

This was quite an enjoyable light read and I find it amazing that it was written when Rumer was 89. I had only read her earlier books before. Black Narcissus and In This House of Brede were both made into films but the books are worth reading too, even if like me you have no interest in the RC church.

Her writing career stretched from 1936 until 1998 so there are quite a few to work through.