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September 18, 2012

Book Review - 93 : The Reluctant Detective

Author : Kiran Manral
Publisher: Westland Publications

Sometime writers start off with a good idea, but get completely lost during the execution. Kiran Manral 'The reluctant detective' is one such instance. The book is about a typical Mumbai Suburban housewife, Kanan Mehra bored with a routine life, looking for a purpose in life beyond kitty parties and shopping. She is a young mother, who is very curious about things that she should be avoiding at any cost. When she finds a couple of quick successive murders taking place in her neighborhood, her curiosity gets the better of her and she makes a team with Runa, her nosy neighbour and detective friend, in an attempt to find the murderers.

I know for a fact that when this book first came out, it was pitched as a breezy murder mystery to be solved by a housewife, which on paper and a pager-summary may have sounded a terrific idea, but the execution delves on plain boring and borderline, ridiculous. The author can't seem to decide what to do with this story line - should this be a tight murder mystery or just a coming of age story of an individual who finds herself in unusual circumstances. 

We do get the point that one should not get involved in the matters of others, specially when you have little knowledge of the details but this is hammered with such languorous pace and insipid dialogues that i found it difficult to complete the book.It does not work as a mystery neither it works as diary entry of a bored housewife. There aren't any surprises and only time you stays with the character of Kanan is when she is with her husband trying to work out some kind of coherent solutions.  

I am going with 1.5/5 for Kiran Manral's 'The Reluctant Detective'. You can see the talent and the scope of the writer in the book, in the end it is just an experiential read which has gone wrong. Read it at your own risk.

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