ExtractRead chapter 1 of the novel

        She asked me this bluntly, matter-of-factly, and I wondered why she had asked it at all. I wanted to think of it as a show of support - I know it wasn't you, she was saying, but do you know who? - and yet somehow, I sensed it wasn't that at all. Was it you? she was asking. Her look was still hard, unemotional, as if personally, she didn't care one way or the other. Our relationship had been a stuttering thing, awkward to say the least, and I wondered suddenly if she did care. Perhaps I had been right, in that bleak moment before Carol had arrived in Mahaban: perhaps there really was no one I belonged with any more, not even her. But I didn't want it to be true.
        I said, "Wyndham was involved in things he shouldn't have been involved in. I'm not surprised that he's dead."
        "That doesn't answer my question."
        "What was the question?"
        "You know what the question was."
        I smiled. I liked this, the friction, the argument building. I found it reassuring somehow.
        The officer by the entrance was looking our way, smiling his knowing smile. His cheek bulged where his tongue was pressing from the inside, as if the secret he had - if he had a secret - was bursting to get out. I wasn't sure what he made of Carol and me, exchanging these words. Could he sense the subtext? Did our actions betray us?
        "You know," Carol said, "Wyndham was being investigated, before he died."
        "Was he? By whom?"
        "A government department, I'm not sure which. I've a note of it somewhere. The embassy made representations to the Indian government, on his behalf, something to do with irregularities with imported medicines. And something about guns, although that might be wrong. The information wasn't very clear. I thought you might know."
        "Yes, I knew. Wyndham mentioned it. A mix-up, he said."
        "You told Inspector Prabash that Wyndham had some involvement with R. K. Kumar?"
        "Yes," I said, "I told him that. I told him a lot of things, I don't know if they were important. Kumar had made donations to Wyndham's project, that was all."
        She frowned moodily. Her nostrils flared as she exhaled. She said, "Why are you so stubborn?"
        "I don't know. Am I being stubborn?"
        "If I'm going to help, I need to know you're being honest with me at least."
        "I've been honest."
        "But not very open."
        The officer at the doorway flapped his umbrella to catch my attention, jerked his head towards the door. It was a ridiculous sight - the umbrella looked like a big black bird that he was struggling to control.
        I said, "I don't know who killed Wyndham."
        "But you know why he was killed?"
        "No. I don't know why. I don't want to know."
        And for all our intimacy, I realized how little I knew her. Because I hadn't the least idea whether she believed me or not.

[End of Chapter 1]

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