SEASON OF SACRIFICE by Bharti Kirchner is the first in a new Seattle-based mystery series introducing feisty PI Maya Mallick. During a morning stroll, Maya is horrified to see two women set themselves ablaze in front of the temporary residence of the visiting Chinese foreign minister. She’s even more shocked to recognize one of them: Sylvie Burton, a brilliant Tibetan-American scientist, who is the adopted sister of Maya’s best friend. An onlooker says that the two women are martyrs, protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Yet, with so much to live for, why would Sylvie end her life in this horrific way? Here, Bharti Kirchner tells us a little about the background to the book…
Season of Sacrifice started with a “what if” scenario. A news item about a Tibetan activist in India also sparked my interest. A young Tibetan planned to self-immolate in New Delhi to protest against the visit of a high-ranking Chinese official. For one reason or another, this didn’t happen. But I remember thinking: what if it did, as it has many times in the past in Tibet or elsewhere, with activists sacrificing their lives? What if such an event took place in the USA?
I had in mind also to have a young female scientist as one of the players in this new novel. I wasn’t exactly sure what this scientist did. Something to do with medical research was all I knew. Then I happened to be listening to a scientist friend of mine talk about the kind of malaria research she was doing and it clicked immediately. I learned much about the cutting edge of vaccine research and it fit perfectly with the plot line.
I wanted to put a young, female Indian-American private detective, Maya Mallick, who’s just getting started, in the driver’s seat. There are too few such sleuths, if any, in American mystery novels right now. Maya’s late father Subir Mallick was a legendary police detective in India. She’d studied criminology in college in the US and though petite and has the look of a “grad student,” she’s learned an awful lot about solving criminal matters from her former police boyfriend.
Praise for Bharti Kirchner’s previous book, Goddess of Fire
“A sweeping historical novel … What shines the brightest is Kirchner’s rich portrayal of the Indians who toil for British colonialists” Booklist
“Kirchner’s background as a cookbook writer and novelist shines through in her luscious descriptions of food and the mores of the time… This tale is best read for its historical detail” Kirkus Reviews
SEASON OF SACRIFICE by Bharti Kirchner is out now in the UK, and will be published in eBook, and in hardback in the USA, on 1 September. Please visit our website here for further information.