Inspector Ghote's First Case deals with the suicide and it's aftermath, but also with murder and fears related to pregnancy. The attitude of the British in India after independence and of the Indian's towards the British is also closely examined. To a lesser extent, the British attitude to scandal and unmarried childbirth is also a feature of the story.
To a lesser extent, Ghote's characteristic inability to make a decision is paralleled by Hamlet, which is referred to several times in the novel.
The novel also deals with the cherished illusions people hold and how they react when these illusions are threatened. A key plot point of the novel is that Robert Dawkins chooses to see the world as he would like it to be, rather than the way it actually is. This even extends to his wife, whose blue and green eyes he describes as violet, and whose character and history is very different from what he imagines.
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