Ajay Chowdhury

Kolkata Police Headquarters at Lalbazar where Kamil works in The Waiter

I’d had the idea of a disgraced Kolkata cop working in an Indian restaurant for over a decade but it took the Harvill Secker/Bloody Scotland competition for new crime writers for me to start typing. Much to my delight and amazement I won the competition and finished the book. It is the first of a series which shows Kamil, initially a fish out of water in London, slowly regaining his confidence in his detection skills till he becomes a cop in the Met Police, going back to doing what he loves and is great at – solving crimes.

The book is a fun mix of humour and mystery with some great recipes for Indian food thrown in and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it and I am honoured that it has been optioned by the BBC to potentially make it into a TV series.

So, what’s the book about?

Kamil Rahman is a young detective in the Kolkata police force, working boring crimes and seeing a long, dull future ahead of him as he climbs the greasy pole. Then with one phone call – his fortune changes. He is put in charge of a high profile murder investigation – a Bollywood superstar has been found battered to death in his luxurious hotel room.

Excited by this chance to make his mark, Kamil soon finds out that things are not as straightforward as they seem. Why does the actor’s wife seem unconcerned her husband was having sex before he died? Why has the hotel’s CCTV stopped recording just before the crime? Why has the hotel manager’s niece been kidnapped? As Kamil digs deeper, he finds his own life is in danger – he is beaten up and told to lay off the case and his boss advises him to do the same. But his integrity keeps him going until, after a shootout in a warehouse, he pushes a little too hard and is thrown out of the police force in disgrace.

Looking for a new start, Kamil moves to London where he gets a job as a waiter in a small restaurant in the East End. He starts to get close to Anjoli, the daughter of the owner and the wounds of Kolkata slowly begin to heal as he settles into his new role. But then he is abruptly confronted by another death. The host of a party he is catering – a millionaire Indian industrialist – is murdered in his swimming pool. Against his will, Kamil is asked to investigate and he and Anjoli start to ask questions. There is no dearth of suspects – the millionaire’s new wife, thirty years younger, who stands to inherit everything. His jealous ex-wife and son. The Bollywood actress he was flirting with at the party.

As the case unfolds, Kamil discovers strange links to the murder he was working on in Kolkata. To his horror, he discovers he is being targeted again by the man who beat him up. Why has this stranger followed Kamil to London? Is Anjoli in danger as well? The murder races to a shocking denouement where Kamil and Anjoli have to decide between doing what is right and what is expedient.




One of my favourite recipes is Madhur Jaffrey’s Lamb Biryani

I made Lamb Biryani to celebrate New Year’s Eve, 2020

This delicious lamb biryani is a special dish taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s TV series, Curry Nation. With powerful ingredients cassia leaves and green cardamom pods, this biryani is bursting with classic Indian flavours and is a great Saturday night takeaway alternative.