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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Reluctant Detective Review

Last evening I received my copy of The Reluctant Detective. In my eagerness to reach the end of the book,
- I did not make dinner
- I ignored the kids completely
- I let them play for as long as they could and then they fell on the bed exhausted, one on each side of me
-I read till my eyes drooped and picked myself up, pushed the kids a little away from me and read again, this time to the finish
I slept with vivid dreams of cops sleeping on duty and goondas on 2 wheeler knocking on my car window and me scared to start the car because I knew that the battery was dead and didn't want the potential murderers to realize that.

Even a whiff of bad news or out of the ordinary event affects an individual no matter how unrelated the affected party is to that individual. While normal life does not stop, one continues with one's usual routine, but somewhere in the back of the mind, there remains a nagging discomfort/ sadness/ empathy with the person affected by the event. Sometimes one gets over involved to the point of obsession and tries to work out what happened, and sometimes one just maintain a mild interest without getting affected by it.
And for some, like me or the Kay in question get nightmares or other manifestations to plague them for a long time.

This is what happens to Kay Mehra. She has a morbid curiosity about everything. She is a self declared "gossip queen" and nothing passes by without going through her watchful eyes or ears.
But, a corpse is discovered near her complex and Kay is the last person who had seen her alive that day. Yet, she hears about it only at the end of the day from none other than the police.
Furthermore, she and her husband chance upon another dead body in the same spot further into the night.

Kay is more than mildly interested in this case. It is not just another piece of local gossip for her but she wants to solve it. She is involved simply by virtue of being in contact with the body before or after they became bodies from persons. Even though she did not really know either of the bodies personally.

I thought she will play the Sherlock Holmes and that's what I asked Kiran in the interview. But as she mentioned, Kay is the Watson here who sets about using her common sense and tries to go back to the crime scene and work out the possibilities.

While the murders do keep her mind occuppied, her life with her son Kabir, the spouse and her friends goes on as usual.

What I liked about the book is that it could be anyone's story. There is a lot of urban speak that one can identify with.
I loved the line in context of longterm married spouses- one is allowed to grumble without the other taking said grumbling seriously enough to actually alter the behaviour pattern that sets off the aforementioned grumbling.

For those who know Kiran well, shades of Kiran are vividly felt in Kay's fashion consciousness and weight consciousness. Even the voice is her patented style which has delighted blog readers for sometime.

She has put a piece of herself in this book and that is evident.

And no, this is not a complicated detective case. If I were to identify it with an existing style, it is more in line with the Ladies Detective Agency series, simple everyday sort cases unlike the dark, intrigues of regular mystery novels.

A light and refreshing read overall.

Plus I love the cover and feel of the outline of the shoe.

Title- The Reluctant Detective
Author- Kiran Manral
Price- Rs 195
Publisher- Westland


Anonymous said...

wonder if it's incumbent upon other moms,like you,to publish such reviews and promote a book which may well be mediocre.
none of them will five a 'honest' review.

Anonymous said...

Great Review itchy! I can't wait to get my hands on the book!

Sue said...

Itchy, do come try the quiz I've got for the book giveaway on my blog!