A travel writer is drawn into a strange criminal case, and an even stranger romantic affair, in a novel that brings India “brilliantly, blazingly to life” (The Washington Post).
When Jerry Delfont, an aimless, blocked travel writer, receives a letter from an American philanthropist, Mrs. Merrill Unger, he is intrigued. She informs him about a scandal, involving an Indian friend of her son’s. Who is the dead boy, found on the floor of a cheap hotel room? How and why did he die? And what is Jerry to make of a patch of carpet, and a package containing a human hand?
Jerry is swiftly captivated by the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. Unger—and revived by her tantric massages—but the circumstances surrounding the dead boy cause him increasingly to doubt the woman’s motives and the exact nature of her philanthropy. Without much to go on, Jerry pursues answers from the teeming streets of Calcutta to Uttar Pradesh. It is a dark and twisted trail of obsession and need.
From the author of The Great Railway Bazaar, A Dead Hand is offers “an abundance of richly drawn characters . . . Theroux has used his travel writer’s eye and ear and his novelist’s imagination to craft a tense, disturbing, funny and horrifying book around all of them” (San Francisco Chronicle).
“The real pleasure is Theroux’s talent for rendering place and his irreverent comments on everything from the British royals to pop culture, aging, and yes, the venerable Mother Teresa.” —Publishers Weekly