The Hamilton Case by Michelle de Kretser

Sri-Lankan-born Michelle de Kretser spent her first 14 years in her native land (formerly Ceylon) before emigrating to Australia. Now 45, Ms. de Kretser sets her second novel, The Hamilton Case, in the land of her birth.

Sam Obeysekere is a Ceylonese prosecutor from a spectacularly dysfunctional family. Wanting to fit into the upper class British way of life, he takes on a scandal-ridden murder case of a white English tea-grower in the 1940s. A big fan of Agatha Christie mysteries, Sam’s attempt to emulate her method derails, and The Hamilton Case becomes something much more than a crime novel.

The French Revolution provides the backdrop for De Kretser’s first novel, The Rose Grower.