Seafood, though, is a Mumbai specialty (the city is, after all, on the sea). Chandra likes Trishna, an upscale seafood spot downtown: "It's quite busy and full of people, so it's an interesting place to visit."

But he also likes Mahesh Lunch Home and Apoorva, less expensive seafood places in the same area. They're both known for their fresh, local, in-season fish. It's the kind of food the star of Sacred Games, police inspector Sartaj Singh, would eat. "You can get dinner for 200 rupees, exactly what Singh could afford," Chandra says. "He'd like this stuff."

In the book, Singh delves into the life of a Mumbai godfather, Ganesh Gaitonde, who, in alternating chapters, tells his own story. Gaitonde is a violent, ruthless crime boss, but he's also a confused, loving, likable man. In one of the most touching scenes in the book, Gaitonde has his boys drive him to a hilltop in Film City so he can sit and stare at the sea and worry about a promise he's made to the daughter of one of his associates. They drive past a film set's castle, town square, and fishing dock. Without connections, the average tourist can't get into Film City quite as easily, but regular, law-abiding people can visit with advance permission. "Sometimes the films need foreign extras," Chandra says, recounting the story of a movie scout who approached a friend from the United States. "They needed her for a bar scene," he says. "So she shot for a couple of days, for fun."

Some of the small-time crooks Singh encounters in Sacred Games might show up at Chor Bazaar, which translates as "thieves' bazaar." Once true to the name - it was the place where stolen goods found new owners - it's now a big flea market, with a huge range of individual shops. "Some are like a hole in the wall; some have taken a hole in the wall and poshed it up and put in air-conditioning to attract tourists," Chandra says. "You can get antiques and old stuff, although you have to be careful: People are expert at faking things, so make sure you know what you're looking at."

The wholesale food market is the place to go for "the kind of adventurous tourist who wants to really get into the life of the city," Chandra says. Crawford Market is in a Victorian building designed by Rudyard Kipling's father, John Lockwood Kipling. "Great photo ops," he says. "You've got to be prepared for crowds and smells, but it's very interesting."

Several other bazaars operate nearby, including Lohar Chawl, which specializes in electronics, and the Mangaldas Market, a wholesale textiles market that's crowded and busy but great for designers and for fashion and decorating buffs. "It's all full of narrow lanes, busy with businessmen pushing by you and all that stuff, so after that, you'll want to get a drink at some nice place, the Oberoi hotel or the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. They're both maybe a 15-minute cab ride away," says Chandra.

Or, for some extreme peace and reflection, there's Banganga Tank, a spring-fed reservoir atop Malabar Hill. According to legend, the Hindu god Ram stopped there for a rest when he was looking for his wife, Sita, who'd been kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Ram was thirsty, so he asked his brother, Laxman, for a drink of water. Laxman shot an arrow into the ground, and ­water burst forth - all the way from the Ganges, which is some 1,000 miles away. Now the tank is part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex, and it plays host every February to a classical Hindustani music festival. "It's a sacred body of water surrounded by temples," Chandra says. "The festival has some amazing musicians; it's really extraordinary."