Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

Fire in The Unnameable Country
Ghalib Islam | Fourth Estate | Rs 499

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.55.09 PMThis debut is as exciting as it is befuddling. Ghalib Islam, born in Bangladesh and living in Canada since the age of seven has penned a novel that wraps around an unnamed country that to an Indian reader would appear to point to Bangladesh. But the country is not named. What is named is a colonial past, a terrorist infested present, a mind-reading government department, a man who speaks many languages, a flying carpet and a long birth. It’s ambitious, clever and dressed in magic realism. A reader’s puzzle.


Field Guide To Happiness
Linda Leaming | Hay House | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.54.45 PMLinda Leaming, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, US made her home in Bhutan sometime in the mid-90s. In between she taught English and wrote articles for women’s magazine, traveller guides and newspapers. “I have now lived in Bhutan all my adult life. My happiness comes because living in this ancient culture forces me to think differently – about time, work, money, nature, family, other people, life, death, tea, kindness, generosity, washing machines, waking up, and myself,” writes Leaming as she unveils her journey to self-discovery. The story comes packaged as a self-help manual.


Business Unusual
Sharmila Kantha | Rupa | Rs 295

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.54.58 PMIt’s a refreshing to read writers using India’s historical capital, Delhi as the backdrop for a thriller or detective genre books. In ‘Business Unusual’ former corporate functionary, Sharmila Kantha, situates a murder in an upper class businessman’s household that includes a calculating ‘Mataji’, warring sons, servants and hangers on and an unemotionally efficient detective, Ramji. There are also, of course, dead bodies that link the mystery together and a sultry seductress, Lata that enters Ramji’s life at the most confusing time. A fun detective adventure aimed at young adult reader.

(The above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 22 February 2015)

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Lest We Forget History
P G J Nampoothiri & Gagan Sethi | Books For Change| Rs 300

This document, put together by a retired police officer of the Gujarat cadre and a social activist, is a valuable addition to the material that has been produced on the state sponsored communal violence in Gujarat 2002. Appointed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to prepare the preliminary report on the gruesome events that shook the nation, the two gentlemen, recount their findings from 2002 and experiences thereafter, with an honesty that deserves both praise and attention. They openly admit that their report is NHRC-centric, but this does not in anyway take away the seriousness of their commitment to justice and fair play.


All The Single Ladies
Jane Costello| Simon & Schuster| Rs 499

Costello’s first romantic novel, Bridesmaids, made it to The Sunday Times top 10 bestsellers in UK about five years ago. Ever since, the author and her publisher have been milking her “celebrity” status. You could say, that commerce has its own logic, yet the question that begs to be answered is, should you read her? In All The Single Ladies, the writer prods the reader to get on with one’s life after being dumped by a man. Do you really need to spend Rs 500 to learn that? If so, why not visit any random Internet relationship portal that offers the same profound wisdom for free?


I Never Knew It Was You
Kalpana Swaminathan| Penguin| Rs 299

As far as fictional characters go, Bombay’s most famous detective, Inspector Godbole is impossible to top. So Swaminthan does the next best thing, she invents his alter ego, a 67-year-old silver haired female ex-cop called Lalli. This book features Lalli’s fourth case as a crime buster. Apart from the plot, it’s the writer’s keen eye for detail that will have you asking for more. Take this description of modern-day Vile Parle for instance: “Now all that remains is a heap of rubble, waiting like a parent by the gate. Shops have gone from general stores to shopping centres, but these won’t last. By next year we’ll have a mall.”

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 8 April 2012)

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