The first thing that strikes the reader about Avtar Singh's novel, Necropolis, is its title - an instant reminder of Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis. The attempt at similitude is hard to miss. Thayil's 'polis' is the city of Bombay 'which obliterated its own history by changing its name and surgically altering its face' and 'is the hero or heroine of this story'. In Singh's novel, it is Delhi and its criminal underbelly that takes centre stage.'This city…,' says DCP Sajan Dayal, 'It's a giant necropolis. Entire developments raised on what used to be graveyards. Old villages gone, fields buried, their soil used for cement.' But implications of a graveyard-city go further: 'Djinns are still invoked in Firoz Shah Kotla... There are shops in Dariba that have been empty for generations because the jewellers believed they're cursed.' However, having raised the reader's expectations through the title, characteristic atmospherics and the introduction of a bewildering Angulimaal in a classic old-Delhi setting, Singh's narrative falls short of meeting them.