The Dominic Felse Omnibus: Piper on the Mountain/Mourning Raga/Death to the Landlords

The Dominic Felse Omnibus: Piper on the Mountain/Mourning Raga/Death to the Landlords - Ellis Peters Comprises The Piper on the Mountain (1966); Mourning Raga (1969); Death to the Landlords (1972). The protagonist of these three novels is not Inspector Felse of Peters' other modern detective stories, but his son Dominic, who as a young man without a settled career has the advantage of being able to be transported to exotic settings without improbability. The setting of Piper is iron-curtain Czechoslovakia, the other two India, and all three bear marks in their detailed descriptions, visual and sensual, of actual travel by the author. In fact, those descriptions are as interesting, I think, as the plots themselves. I also found the political themes interesting - all three are essentially anti-violence (tho' Peters stands on no soap-boxes), and the first is essentially a protest against the Cold War spying mentality, while the Indian ones are in reaction against terrorism. Dominic is joined, in the Indian novels, by a co-protagonist Swami, who is at once mystical, highly principled and intensely practical - and completely non-violent (an interesting quirk in resolving violent plots). In Piper, Dominic joins a group of young people holidaying in Europe, a holiday quickly directed by one girl (Tossa) to a particular region of Czechoslovakia, where she is secretly trying to uncover the mystery of her stepfather's death. A British SS agent she contacts is murdered, and it is the Czech authorities (with Dominic's help, of course) who eventually discover that the murder of the agent was accomplished by one of his British superiors. Dominic & Tossa have a bonding experience... Mourning Raga takes Dominic & Tossa to India as chaperones for a 14-year-old who is half-Indian, half-American, and who is kidnapped by a film director hoping to extort money from her American filmstar mother. The twist here is that the director is the confidante of the young people through much of the novel. The Swami does some deus ex machina manoeuvring. Death to the Landlords introduces modern terrorism in both its naive & cynical forms - the naive get killed off, of course. A subsidiary romance between two unconventional young Indian people ensues. Good fun.