Ever since 1971, when he arrived in Glasgow as an eleven-year-old fresh off the plane from India, Rabinder (call me Rab) Singh has struggled to fit in.

When we join him in 1993, Rab is a plain-clothes Detective Sergeant in Glasgow. And he still doesn’t fit in, not least since his estranged Scottish wife is an Inspector in the same station. After he throws a punch at superior officer Ken Malloy, Rab barely avoids being sacked. Instead, he is posted to the small coastal town of Dunoon.

He leaves behind a workplace shamed by its failure to solve the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Ashna Gupta. Ashna’s and Rab’s parents were friends. Four years after she went missing, and on the day Rab is exiled to Dunoon, the case features on BBC’s Crimewatch.

Calls come in that implicate Rab’s father Baldeep, who died of a heart attack shortly after Ashna went missing. Rab’s mother Ruby, who guards Baldeep’s memory ferociously, interferes with the investigation, and Rab is warned that if he gets involved, he will lose his job.

Meanwhile, in Dunoon Rab faces the disappearance of teenager Zoe McCusker in a case that quickly has the media drawing parallels with the Ashna disappearance. Soon, Rab becomes a suspect in both investigations.

Zoe remains missing, the Dunoon station is barely functional, and the Ashna investigation continues to be led by Detective Inspector Ken Malloy, who is desperate to settle scores with Rab, who is barred from both investigations.

Thirty years ago, not many Scots were ready for a man in a turban turning their lives inside out, but Rab won’t let that stop him being a good detective. His career and the family name depend upon it.

In that order. Never mind what his mother says.


Ron McMillan

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Series: Call Me Rab

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Series: Mason & Dixie

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