Inspector Ghote is asked by the Police Commissioner himself to investigate a kidnapping. When he arrives, the finds that it is a wealthy industrialist who is involved. However, the kidnappers did not take the businessman's son, but rather the son of his tailor, who was playing with the other boy at the time. Early in the book, the kidnappers realize their mistake, but they still demand an enormous sum for the release of the little boy.
Mr. Desai, the industrialist, is torn between wanting to help and wanting to placate his young wife, who is furious at the idea of him paying any money for someone who is so unimportant. Superintendent Karandikar wants to bring in lots of police officers and capture the criminals. Only Inspector Ghote manages to stay focused on the real victim, the missing little boy, only a few years younger than his own son. It is a race against time for Ghote to deliver a ransom, follow the clues, and find the boy.
I really enjoy Keating's Inspector Ghote books. In some ways, Ghote reminds me of Inspector Alleyn. He is a very competent police officer, but he is also a complex human being with a good heart. These books are out of print, sadly, but they are well written and worth looking for.