Murder at the Maharajah’s Dinner Party, by Susann Kayser, serves intrigue, in the grand tradition of the great murder mysteries, as the main course: murder. When Martin Weller is inconveniently found murdered during cocktail hour in the Maharajah’s palace, each of the houseguests look to the others as potential murderers. Possible motives abound. Is the murderer Weller’s beautiful young wife, who stands to gain a substantial fortune with her husband’s death? Or is it Jim Garland, the novelist whose brother had been killed while in the employ of Martin Weller? Miriam Sheldon-Hertzel, the kind of woman everyone loves to hate, certainly has her own ideas.
Equal parts hilarity and suspense, Murder at the Maharajah’s Dinner Party is a true page turner with a surprising finish.
“Having met Agatha Christie, I am sure she would approve of this book”. – Eddie Chapman, best-selling author of Triple Cross.
“Susi Kayser’s led that kind of life that so many of us yearn for. She knows the Maharajahs and their palace guests. So when Susi tells us a story it is so utterly believable because we can feel the interface of East and West coming off the page. Now she’s brought back a tale which has this writer intrigued.
I’m an investigator. I have tracked the mafia and the cocaine smugglers, the CIA secrets behind the Iran Contra scandal, and the down side of Scotland Yard.
So I knew for sure, after twenty pages, “who’d dunnit.” I spotted the murderer. I should do, I’m a professional.
Now, I have a confession to make. I was wrong. Susi fooled me – and that’s because she’s born to tell stories. She’s crafted a tale for us here that took me back to the classics – Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh.
Until the last page, I was sure the murderer – whoever it was – would get away with it. But that’s because her web of cross-plots is such a delicate deception. Take the Susi challenge – and I bet you won’t guess either. Bravo, Susi.” Andrew Jennings, best-selling author of Scotland Yard’s Cocaine Connection
“Forget the plot in this exotic setting….. by Maureen Owen, Daily Mail, U.K. Oct. 22, 1992
“However brilliant modern crime fiction may have been for some of us, things have never been the same since the disappearance of the the house party murder.
In this highly original version of the well-loved formula, Susanne Kayser updates Agatha Christie with more than an outrageous twist or two. Here, instead of the traditional damp country house, we have the magnificent setting of a maharajah’s palace.
And instead of telling us that all the characters are imaginary, Mrs. Kayser assures us that everything is authentic. Except, of course the murder itself which, as her host the Maharajah of Jodphur is moved to say in his introduction, is hardly the subject of which friendships are made.
Take 10 people and a butler at a house party where one is murdered and one is the killer, and you have the perfect plot. Put them in an exotic palace with a group of eccentrics who bring out a pet cobra called Granny to frighten away boring guests, and I can hardly put it down.
Among the assembled are the host, his Highness the Maharajah, the poisonous Mrs. Sheldon-Hertzel who would like to murder the flirtatious Mrs. Vanessa Weller, and the Maharani who departs from a room in ‘a whirl of swinging silk and French perfume’.
There is also uncle Rudi, who takes a sadistic pleasure in organizing various tricks and practical jokes.
The general atmosphere of intrigue and hilarity is brought up short by the murder (with a jeweled dagger) of flirtatious Vanessa’s elderly husband.
Carried away by the unmistakable authenticity of the proceedings, I clean forgot to try to work our who actually did it. I don’t think it mattered. When Mrs. Kayser decided to write this story, the Maharajah said he found it made a refreshing change.
So did I. The day of the British Raj may be long gone, but if this is the sort of life that is still preserved in a maharajah’s palace, I look forward to hearing more from Mrs. Kayser.”