THE BIKINI MURDERS Farrukh Dhondy
Move over, Frederick Forsyth. With The Bikini Murders, Farrukh Dhondy abandons his genteel Poona Company and Bombay Duck persona to produce a novel dealing with a half-Vietnamese, half-Indian serial killer, one who preys on tourists in South-east Asia, spends time in Tihar Jail before masterminding an escape, is apprehended in Goa and who, after serving his sentence, moves to France.
No cigar, then, for guessing that this is yet another recreation of the life of Charles Sobhraj – called Johnson Thhat in the novel. Dhondy begins with Thhat being apprehended in
Dhondy’s prose is casual and brisk in its depiction of amorality, dealing with surfaces and not venturing within. At one point, he airily has Thhat speak of existential themes, linking his account with those of others such as Camus and Gide – and gilding the lily by going on to speak of the Gita’s maya. If this, indeed, is what the novel sets out to do, it’s implausible, not to mention ill-conceived.
Towards the end, The Bikini Murders places Thhat at the periphery of recent events, from the