When four-year-old Tara disappears from her own home in Calcutta one night in 2002, the ensuing media circus zeroes in on the private life of Drishti Sengupta, a singer of note and a single, unapologetic mother. Far less attention is paid to the investigation into the incident, which occurred in an upmarket neighbourhood, in a secure apartment complex. The police seem to have no real clue as to what happened – is it a real crime or fake? Is it a kidnapping or murder? Told in two timelines – one in 2002, and one a contemporary ‘true crime’ book-within-the-book written by Ahana, a young journalist who is thrust into the heart of this case, Dirty Women is also the story of two tragedies: that of a missing child, and that of a city that joins hands to bring down a woman who wishes to live life on her own terms. Hope wears thin as everyone obsesses over who Tara’s father is, and police make no effort to even try to find her, concentrating on a rotating cast of suspects – culminating with Drishti herself.
Madhumita Bhattacharyya is the author of four crime thrillers. The Reema Ray series – The Masala Murder; Dead in a Mumbai Minute; Goa Undercover; and Murder at the Temple. Prior to her fiction career, she was a journalist at The Telegraph, Kolkata. She lives in Bangalore with her husband, daughter, and their dog.