In my quest of finding new and international authors, this book was recommended to me by the author herself – who is a finance wizard and a reputed corporate mogul in her own right. Who wouldn’t be intrigued to read a ‘who-dunit’ written by a “not author by profession” – that in itself was mystery enough to pique my interest!
Dont miss the characters introduction at the beginning of the book dear reader – it is not only hilarious, but also sets the tone of what is to come our way. There are two main characters in the book – Ajmer – our detective and Manish – who had the temerity to get murdered. The interesting part is that though, we come across both characters on each page of this not such a long book, we are left to create a character sketch of both via other people’s analysis or thoughts about them. There is no direct “i think….” or “i did…” relating to any of them – that is what makes this book a double mystery to read.
The book is set in India and revolves around the upper echelon of the Indian society. Both the detective and the victim belong to old rich families and seem to have over-protective mothers. Ajmer is approached to resolve the mystery of Manish’s murder by his wife, Purvi, who has been betrayed from her fairy tale ending, since her prince turns out to be a frog in reality. “And it wasn’t long before Manish’s roving eye relived him of the tedium of monogamy.”
Ajmer’s investigation brings out the different facets of Manish’s personality – the good, the bad and the ugly. Servants devoted to the family as well as friends tad bit resentful of the old money, scorn lovers and estranged siblings. All in all, the author has done a wonderful job of keeping the readers on their toes, by just about hinting towards the mystery killer and keeping the chase interesting. While the readers are trying to figure out the mystery, they also start to form an image of who the victim really was but what keeps them intrigued is Ajmer – you will find yourself asking the question time and again “who the hell is he?” or rather “what the hell is he?”
There is rich history related to the fort, where the book is set. Characters are beautifully developed over conversations (polite interrogations) and various idiosyncrasies of Indian society are brought to light. Homosexuality being a taboo is wonderfully handled along with nosy mothers, who always know what is better for you, contemporary professional women who know what they want and double faced morality which still holds a high place in the society.
Well, i cant really tell you who the killer is, now can i! that would take away all the fun. Overall a commendable first effort by the author. Insider information – plan is to develop the character of Ajmer over series of books, so dont be dismayed, if you feel you resolved the murder mystery but didnt get a handle on the detective himself 🙂