Swarup reins back humour, hyperbole, insult, and relies instead on that most Indian of weapons—shrewdness. He reads his characters as a chess player reads an adversary and this makes him an excellent ventriloquist; all six suspects have believable voices.
Difficile est saturam non scribere—it’s hard not to write a satire—Juvenal’s prefatory sentence justifies Six Suspects, a roman a clef based on the murder of model and socialite Jessica Lall. The facts are common knowledge. The murderer’s acquittal sets off paroxysms of ire among the capital’s Beautiful People and a retrial resulted in conviction.