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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.