Curse of the Cobra

The Raff Rafferty Mystery Series, Book 6

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
304 Pages
Reviewed on 09/18/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Curse of the Cobra: The Raff Rafferty Mystery Series, Book 6 is a murder mystery/thriller written by Robert Joseph. Raff, a retired police detective turned Catholic priest, has been assigned to serve at Saint Francis Xavier, a girl’s school for orphans in Brahmpur, India. His plane trip to New Delhi is uneventful and solitary; however the ensuing train ride on the famed and luxurious “Palace on Wheels” brings Raff into contact with three individuals who would become his contacts in India. Vikram, the son of the Maharajah of Brahmpur, and his girlfriend, Jenny, a young Canadian, are on the run from the Taiwanese loan-sharks he owes money to. The Muslim entrepreneur, Shabir Khan, a rival for Vikram’s father’s political position and an unscrupulous opponent, is also on board the train, and Raff wonders at Jenny’s impromptu dinner date with the man. When Raff finally arrives at the school, he’s taken aback to see an ongoing demonstration being held outside the gates of the school by local women who are demanding that the school be closed in light of the recent unsolved disappearances of two students and the headmistress, and the death by drug overdose of Raff’s predecessor, Father Saldanha. Raff’s bishop appears to have had some ulterior motives in assigning the former detective to this remote location.

Robert Joseph’s retired police detective turned priest, Raff Rafferty, finds himself embroiled in an unsolved mystery in Curse of the Cobra. I was vicariously excited as Raff boarded the plane bound for New Delhi and enjoyed exploring India and its culture through his eyes. While I too wondered at Raff’s assignment to a girl’s mission school, I appreciated how he approached his assignment, especially his ideas for establishing a sports program and a school soccer team and his thoughtful way of dealing with the thorny issue of giving Christian religious instruction to Hindu orphans. Along with the exotic locale, there’s a good solid mystery complete with clues for the discerning reader-sleuth as Raff and the local police inspector, Ravi Dass work to uncover the mastermind behind the missing students and their headmistress and work together to recover a priceless relic. Curse of the Cobra: The Raff Rafferty Mystery Series, Book 6 is a fascinating and entertaining read, and it’s highly recommended.

Melinda Hills

In Book 6 of the Raff Rafferty Mystery Series, Father Gabriel Rafferty, formerly homicide detective ‘Raff’, enters a new phase of his life as a priest in charge of a school for orphan girls in India. He left the USA behind, but not his talents as a policeman as he becomes enmeshed in a mystery before he even gets off the train in Brahmpur. Curse of the Cobra by Robert Joseph details Raff’s assistance with the efforts of local police inspector Ravi Dass to solve the case of two missing students and their headmistress. Additionally, Prince Vikram is in heavy debt from gambling and his Canadian girlfriend, Jenny Duvalier, is willing to do just about anything to save his life from assassins hired by an Asian mob. That means getting friendly with Raff and also with Shabir Khan, a local Muslim campaigning against Vik’s father, the Maharajah, for the position of leader of the state. In between tiger hunts, visits to the country club, and scuba diving in the sacred lake, Raff leads his school by teaching religion classes and forming a soccer team, providing more opportunities for the girls who are accustomed to having nothing.

Vivid descriptions and unique characters are a trademark of Robert Joseph and he doesn’t disappoint in Curse of the Cobra, Book 6 of the Raff Rafferty Mystery Series. Set in exotic India, the story is full of action, intrigue and cultural subtleties that Raff handles with skill and determination. Fortunately, you can take Raff out of the police force, but you can’t take the police instincts out of Raff as he handles another engaging mystery.

Michelle Stanley

Curse of the Cobra is Book 6 from The Raff Rafferty Mystery series by Robert Joseph. Father “Raff” Rafferty, a former police officer turned priest, takes up his new post at a girls’ orphanage in India. He learns of the puzzling disappearances of some girls prior to his arrival, and the Sister in charge disapproves of him. While attending a sacred Hindu ceremony where a holy man ritually bathes the god of Shiva statue, tragedy strikes. The holy man is murdered and Shiva’s third eye, the world’s largest ruby, is stolen. Legend states that bad luck will follow if anyone steals the religious artefacts. Raff promises the distraught Maharajah to locate the ruby, but the mystery thickens. Other girls disappear and the animosity between Muslims and Hindus increases.

I enjoyed reading this light mystery from Robert Joseph. The story takes place in India and the author nicely described its diverse culture and history with interesting characters who gave good representations of their viewpoints to ancient customs and modern changes in India. Although he is now a man of the cloth, Raff’s former training as a cop often takes over according to the events and information on his former occupation, making the story more engaging. There is sufficient suspense, action and amusement to keep readers' attention. The cover illustration for Curse of the Cobra is lovely and complements the moderately paced story. This series will be worth reading from what I read.