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December, 1911. All of India is in a tizzy. A vast tent city has sprung up outside the old walled enclave of Mughal Delhi, where the British are hosting a grand durbar to celebrate the coronation of the new King, George V. From across India, all the Maharajas and Nawabs have gathered at the Viceroy's command to pay homage and swear loyalty to the King Emperor, the first monarch of England to travel out to India personally.
Amidst the hullabaloo of the Durbar preparations, Maharaja Sikander Singh of Rajpore is growing increasingly frustrated, cooling his heels at the Cecil Hotel as he awaits the King's imminent arrival. Just as his boredom is about to peak, he is paid a surreptitious visit one night by a pair of British officers, who insist that he accompany them to the British Encampment. His curiosity piqued, Sikander agrees to go with them. Much to his surprise, they take him to the King Emperor's camp, where he an old school friend, Malik Umar Hayat Khan, who is also the Durbar herald, is waiting for him. It turns out that Malik Umar is working for none other than Lord Hardinge himself, the Viceroy of India and the highest-ranked Englishman in the country. He tells Sikander that his services as a sleuth are needed by King and country. After being sworn to secrecy, Sikander is ushered into the King Emperor's personal chambers.
Inside, a most unexpected surprise awaits him - a dead nautch-girl who appears to have been strangled. Lord Hardinge tasks him with uncovering the killer before the King arrives, and Sikander agrees to take the case. Faced with Malik's insistence that one of the British officers accompany Sikander on his investigations, and with far too many suspects and motives, Sikander, an admirer of Sherlock Holmes, puts his skills to work...and in the end, wishes he hadn't.