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January 30, 2012

Book Review - 67 : The Cavansite Conspiracy



 Author: Manjiri Prabhu
Publisher: Rupa & Co.


The theft of the precious mineral stone, the cavansite, from The Crystal Museum of Minerals has left everyone puzzled, more so because the modus operandi of the theft has uncanny similarities with an international bestseller, The Cavansite Conspiracy by Chris Carver. While the police and the curator of the museum are on the hunt, a spiritual group in Bangkok too is interested in acquiring it by any means.

Meanwhile, Koyal Karnik, a lecturer in communication studies working in Hamburg, Germany, arrives in Pune to attend her friend Jasrajs wedding. Little does she know that she will not only be implicated in the theft of the cavansite, but that her friend will be murdered, and she will be forced to become a fugitive on the run. The only person she can trust is her ex-boyfriend Neel, with whom she takes off on a journey of mystery and love from India to Hamburg, then to the Isle of Sylt and finally, a London television studio. But can she really trust anybody? And what is the connection between Jasraj and the cavansite? What is Jasrajs fiance hiding? Finally, who is Chris Carver and what is his role in the mystery?

It is fast-paced and thrilling and keeps you glued most of the time in the narrative. The twist in the end was unpredictable and it is highly unlikely many readers will be able to guess it before the climax. The story moves around various countries and a gamut of plot points which will keep you glued. I particularly liked the sensitive treatment with which the problem of left handed people in India is dealt with. Considering at one point of life, i seriously thought myself to be ambidextrous, i was able to relate to the dilemmas and social restrictions that come on the way.

The romance between the couple is fun to read and extremely relatable. Both of them have a back story to fall on and are constantly throwing repartee which make their conversations spicy and juicy. The only time the book slips up is when the author infuses a Bollywoodish feel to the narrative by concentrating too much into the romance between Koyal and Neel.  Right under the nose of a death threat and conspiration to frame her, the couple play games on ice-dunes and make the romantic sparks flew. What was sorely missing was a song to be picturized on the couple in the Isle of Sylt! This acts as a deterrent to the pace of the story and intermittently takes away the focus from the murder mystery, diffusing a juveliness which is hard to fathom. But one should look beyond these nitpicking for an extremely rewarding read.

I am going with generous (3+0.5) = 3.5/5 for Manjiri Prabhu’s ‘The Cavansite Conspiracy’. Barring a few glitches in the end and a sagging middle portion, it is a tight thriller which delivers what it promises. It starts briskly and will keep you engaged most of the time. I recommend you make time to read it.

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