For somebody who is particularly fond of murder mysteries, detective novels and thrillers and who has grown up on a steady diet of such books would have very high expectations from any new author and his detective character. And it is seldom that a new book from a relatively new author meets many of those expectations. This is one of those rare books.
Bhrigu Mahesh, Phd. – The Return of Damayanti is your typical detective novel right from the beginning. Bhrigu is apparently the intelligent detective in the plot with a friend-cum-aide Sutte who narrates the whole book in first person. They embark upon a case of a man who is haunted by the ghost of his dead wife. However, they soon find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery of that man’s sister. When everybody including the man who sought help is a suspect, Bhrigu, like an adept detective, uses his intellect and his knack to grasp the smallest of details to find the culprit.
What starts as nothing more than a ghost chase soon becomes something more sinister. Set in a small village against the backdrop of the old battered haveli, the plot is generously sprinkled with elements of typical ghost stories. Stairs that creak, doors that squeak on hinges, inadequate lights that cast scary shadows of simplest of things or beings and characters that could easily pass for crazy. The author does a great job of creating a perfect background.
The plot, for sure, is interesting. The characters and happenings are described in detail which helps the reader to visualize them. The chapters flow smoothly from one sequence to the other and like a good detective novel, pause or end with a twist once in a while. Each of the character is posed as a potential suspect, which keeps the reader curious throughout the plot. The climax is apt and reasonably linked to the plot.
Bhrigu is a classic detective who commands some respect for his skills. However, Sutte’s role is the plot is extremely undermined. The aides or sidekicks of almost all the famous detectives may not possess the intellect to match their masters but they do not fail to offer some insight once in a while. Sutte, on the other hand, is a mere spectator throughout. He even fails to infuse some humour which might have justified his existence. Nataraj Bhakti is portrayed as a simple government clerk but with interesting dimensions to his otherwise ordinary persona. In fact, almost all the characters have a different side to their character which makes them interesting.
The plot is dragged unnecessarily at some places and could have easily lost some 100 pages to look more crisp and engaging. Also, the connection of the haunting incident in the plot seemed forced to me. The plot wouldn’t have lost anything even if this episode was omitted. The language is easy but lacks proofreading and editing which obstructs the otherwise smooth flow of reading.
I have a simple parameter to judge a book. If I am drawn to read another book by the other, I consider it a positive sign. And Nisha Singh’s books have a strong chance on reappearing on my book shelf. She has certainly done a good job with this book.
About the Author: Nisha Singh is a crime fiction enthusiast who has written short stories for National Print Magazine and has contributed to a variety of online publications. Nisha is a prolific reader and writer and her stories have surprising endings. Nisha resides in Uttar Pradesh, India. (Source: Blogadda)