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Cromartie vs the God Shiva by Rumer Godden

Cromartie vs the God Shiva (1997)

by Rumer Godden

Series: Patna Hall

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1004120,775 (3.53)18



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Read during Summer 2003

Not a sequel to Coromandel Sea Change but about the same people and place. Although as detective fiction it is a bit light, I don't think that is really the point. Much more about Micheal, a London barrister born in India, finding this magical place again. I couldn't put it down.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
In a niche above a side door that opened onto the veranda steps to the sea, the Nataraja danced, a votive light burning before him with offerings of flowers, fruit and rice

A statue of Shiva, stolen from an old-fashioned hotel in India and replaced by a duplicate, turns up in London, where a Canadian dealer called Cromartie is trying to sell it. When the statue is impounded by the police, Cromartie sues the Indian government to try and get it returned to him. A young English barrister called Michael Dean who was brought up in India, is retained by the Indian government to represent them in court, and is goes to stay at the hotel to prepare the case for the defence.

I liked the story's setting amidst the old-fashioned charms of the Patna Hall hotel, and the story of the statue was interesting, but it was disappointingly easy to guess what had happened and who was responsible.

I'd give it four for charm but only two for thrills, so that's an average of three stars. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 26, 2011 |
art theft, based on a real case. The passing of remnants of British India. Good read - definitely recommended. Quick read, vivid characters. Rumer Godden crafts stories worth reading. First learned of her through a book club, selection was "Greengage Summer". ( )
  pascoejm | Jan 11, 2011 |
This basic plot of this little mystery/romance struck me as quite unique: a Canadian art dealer, Mr. Cromartie, is suing the God Shiva. Cromartie wants to sell a statue of Shiva he obtained under questionably circumstances. The Indian government takes the position that Shiva is a living god who is jealous of his statues and therefore, they act in his interest.

From there the story becomes a bit of a mystery as the barrister assigned to the case, Michael, tries to figure out how the statue came to be in Cromartie's possession. It is also a bit of a romance as Michael becomes interested in a tour guide he meets, Artemis.

Despite the intriguing premise, this wasn't my favorite of Rumer Godden's stories. It all felt a little abrupt and under-developed, particularly the romance aspect. The mystery portion of the story wasn't very mysterious.

I continue to find Godden's writing style pleasant and will read more of her works, hoping for more like In This House of Brede, An Episode of Sparrows or The Dark Horse, but this one was just mildly entertaining. ( )
1 vote TadAD | Jun 11, 2009 |
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Book description
A revered effigy of the god Shiva is missing from the Patna Hall Hotel on south India's exquisite Coromandel coast. Was it stolen, and to whom does it belong? Young lawyer Michael Dean, sent from London to argue the case for the defence, falls under the spell of Artemis, a graceful archaeologist who is staying at the hotel; but she proves as elusive as the mystery of the theft he is working on. Rumer Godden's classic novel is a magical, evocative exploration of art, love, class and greed in her beloved India.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688155502, Hardcover)

Veteran British novelist Rumer Godden returns to India, the country that has inspired many of her greatest works, in a magical, moving story about art, religion, love, class, race, and greed. The story is based on a real case ten years ago, when issue over the ownership of a priceless statue resulted in the God Shiva actually being the plaintiff in a lawsuit. Major review coverage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:33 -0400)

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Lawyer Michael Dean is sent from London to India, the land of his birth to investigate the theft of an 11th century statue of the Hindu god Shiva. The assignment leads him into a romance with a woman archeologist. A look at Hindu culture.

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