Today it is my pleasure to welcome Vicky Newham to my blog to talk about her lead character Maya Rahman. Her debut novel Turn A Blind Eye was published on Thursday 5th April. I loved this novel and my review is here
Introducing DI Maya Rahman
In crime fiction, it’s often difficult to come up with a ‘fresh’ cop protagonist. The cliché is that many are socially awkward, cannot hold down a relationship and drink too much. In addition, many are white males. I’ve been fortunate with my main character, as she evolved in my mind naturally and subverts many of these stereotypes.
Back in 2002, when I was teaching in East London, many of my students, colleagues and neighbours were from Bangladeshi backgrounds. I went out of my way to make friends with many of them and learnt about the aspects of their lives that were different from mine. As a result, I always wanted the main character in Turn a Blind Eye to be a Bangladeshi female. Maya Rahman was born in Sylhet and came to the UK with her family in 1982. She was four, with an older sister (Jasmina) and brother (Sabbir). The family lived in two rooms in a top-floor flat in Brick Lane, where many of their compatriots settled.
When the book begins, Maya is a detective inspector in the Met and she’s faced racism and sexism to reach her rank. When she arrived in London, she was an outsider. For many, she was too ‘different’. Having lived in Tower Hamlets ever since, she’s inevitably absorbed some ‘Britishness’. For some in her community, Maya’s forgotten her roots. They have mixed feelings about her education, relationship status and cultural identity. In the novel, Maya is single-minded, caring and empathic. Her mother struggled to adapt to life in the UK whereas her father thrived. There are family secrets and sadnesses which affect Maya still, but she’s in a happy, long-term relationship and we see her drawing on these aspects of her life to solve the crimes she’s investigating.
About the Book
A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.
A headmistress is found strangled in an East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:
I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.
At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.
Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.