Sir Mosely, Selwyn Blacke, and Sophie McAndrews step off their ship, the Windsweeper, in Surat, and can see the scaffolding of the factory in the distance. The city is in an uproar, and the expected welcoming party is not present at the docks.
Sophie meets up with an old friend of hers, Amal, who has recently been promoted to manager of the docks. He tells her that Sir Henry Paterjee was found dead in his office this morning. She asks about the rakshasa, and Amal nervously tells her not to talk about it and that he doesn’t know anything. She also meets up with the mystic, Myna, who informs her that around a dozen people have been killed and confirms the rumors of rakshasa involvement.
Meanwhile, Selwyn heads to the seedier parts of town to meet with his own contacts. He tracks down a smuggler named Ravi, and finds out that he was killed last week in a warehouse. Going to the warehouse, he discovers the scene of the scuffle; it appears as though Ravi was attacked by three different assailants, but only one set of footprints leaves.
Finally, Sir Mosely heads to the palace to meet with the Grand Vizier; she meets a young cleaning maid named Rada, who tells Mosely that Paterjee has been killed. Finally the Grand Vizier appears, and Mosely learns of the old man’s superstitions. He agrees to put on a welcoming party for the three later this evening, and suggests that Mosely check out the scene of the crime.
On her way to the scene of the crime, Sir Mosely meets a young merchant girl who insists on giving him a small carving of Balachandra, the tiger god. The girl introduces herself as Kopi, and Sir Mosely gets the impression that she has come into a fair bit of wealth that one wouldn’t normally expect for a person of her age. Sir Mosely invites her to the party this evening, and she says she will see him there.
The three meet at Sir Paterjee’s office in the factory; the local authorities are very reticent and nervous to enter the scene of the crime. Sir Henry has been impaled on the tusk of a large ivory sculpture of Ganesha, and bloody pattern has been painted around the room. Sir Paterjee’s heart has been eaten out of his chest. The party interrogates Chief Lieutenant Udit, and learn that the statue was made by Madhukar Madhura, and delivered about a week ago.
Selwyn goes to investigate the other murders; he learns that Ravi had recently come into a large amount of wealth. He doesn’t find too much information at the records office, but heads into the city to see if he can find other patterns to their murders. While he is exploring, he is attacked by three thugs armed with ivory knives. He throws one into the side of a warehouse, which brings the second story of the building collapsing around them. The other two assailants are killed, and Selwyn escapes with minor cuts and bruises. He takes one of the knives, a small blade with an ornately-carved fish handle.
As Sophie heads to the palace to try to track down Rada and learn more about her, she is stopped by a young girl chanting the following nursery rhyme:
“Three Rakshasa came to town/One brought statues tumbling down/Two ate monkeys night and day/Three slept always with his prey/Three Rakshasa came to town/Came to save us from the crown”
Sophie speaks with the girl’s mother, a spice merchant, briefly, and then heads on her way to the palace.
Finally, Sir Mosely went down to chat with Sir Wallace Potter, the deputy director (now director) of the East India Company in Surat. He is a bit shaken up, but after a few drinks manages to recover. He asks about a particular shipment that needs to be kept off the books of the Windsweeper, and Sir Mosely agrees to take a look at it in the morning. He’s planning to move up to Sir Henry’s office after everything there has been cleaned up, and he expects an invitation to the party that will be hosted in Sir Mosely’s honor later this evening.