The past few months since April have been rather hectic travelling over the weekend, I wondered if Indian railways would give me a season pass, or make me an honorary citizen. The only saving grace is it gave me ample time to read, (though writing a review has not been very comfortable)  one journey I attempted Shashi Tharoor’s latest book, but could not carry it through, that day’s mail BlogAdda offered The Return of Damayanti  now that sounded interesting.

When received the book, I was prepared for a horror story despite thriller, being its acknowledged genre..  The book however turned out to be a whodunit, where a Man Nataraj Bhakti is haunted by the ghost of his dead wife, he contacts a detective called Bhrigu Mahesh though I did not really understand what the PHD was doing with the title, if it were Doctor in Philosophy then it would PhD, so the only thing I can conclude is Pre-Historic Donkey. Jokes apart, Bhrigu comes to town for ghost bursting. He meets various people, like Mr.Bhakti’s  sibling, their spouses, their children and a childhood friend of Mr.Bhakti all of who are baits for who is the ghost… and then whodunit that killed the victim, it is definitely not Mr.Bhakti’s sister for she is the victim.

The book begins with a epilogue of a nebulous person discovering a vague manuscript of vaguer implication. The story then shifts to town which is impossible to place on the map, with first names like Nataraj and Manjunath  and a manservant who speaks English and fluent Malayalam the location being Kerala is a default conclusion, but suddenly the story moves and a reference to Patiala is made, eventually it appears that the story is set in Bihar. The author is not really proficient in creating the visual imagery of a definite kind, though the writing style is quite narrative.

The theme though on the face of it appears to be a traditional whodunit with the most unlikely person being the culprit, is actually talking of social oppression by the patriarchal society. The author present wonderful psychological insights, unlike most authors who tend to share coffee table variety of psychology. The author very casual tosses questions, on the institution of marriage. I do not know if she meant to do it, but she has actually brought a salient point of the beta-male who a pseudo-alfa is resulting in abusive of the female. She has her female characters meekly surrendering and if at all they rebel their rebellion in thwarted with undesired end result. I hope by the next book she learns to make her women succeed in what they take to achieve.

There is a character of Pundit Mishra who is quite intriguing with his knowledge of scriptures and psychology and his sadistic social experimenting, it is the result of these experiments that is narrated in the book. The character reminded me, of Iago from Othello Desdemona and Shakuni of Mahabharata. The Return of Damayanti has shades of Vyomkesh Bakshi, Agatha Christie and Sherlock homes. The concept of a master criminal who takes care of his own like Agatha Christie’s Mr. Brown or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Moriarty is represented by a character Kala Nag, who has an underground establishment not mention a dark hood that he wears and files with the coiled snake logo.

A very intriguing and interesting book. I am actually looking forward to the author’s next book for the author Ms.Nisha Singh will learn to overcome glitches, and would probably also find a good editor.  The book is published by Partridge India and the ISBN 078-1-4828-8899-7.

About Nisha Singh

PS: I have deliberately kept the storyline out since I do not want to spoil it for people who plan to read it.

The book was complimentary copy sent by BlogAdda for reviewing.  To buy on //ws-in.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=IN&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=parwatisingar-21&marketplace=amazon&region=IN&placement=1482888998&asins=1482888998&linkId=f5f5eff0d959a634e3fe022f38cbf618&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>amazon

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