Bhrigu Mahesh In searc of Damayanti

Bhrigu Mahesh In searc of Damayanti

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

This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews&#8221; target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

 

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Move Over Bymakesh Bakshi

Move Over Bymakesh Bakshi

Byomakesh  Bakshi .. Move over the 10th Unknown is here.

Book Review The tenth Unknown debut Novel of author Jvalant Nalin Sampat. Genre is Historic thriller, ISBN978-81-89738-97-6 publishers Niyogi books

A soothing book set in the terminal stage of the British Raj. The world war is on; Hitler has laid his hands on an ancient Indian text and utilized this. The book is the first of the nine books of knowledge left behind by Emperor Asoka asking the nine unknown men to protect it.

The Germans and British are both after it. While the nine guardians are too old to protect it they nominate Prithvi Rathode to do the dirty job for them, each time Prithvi reaches the spot, he loses the book to the British agent Youdale. And the repercussions of the book manifest as the Hiroshima disaster and other major disasters of the post world war World. He also has references to the lesser known freedom fighting movements like the Ghadhar party.

The book made me realize the issues of the subcontinent has remained the same, misplaced loyalty like the officer Pandey, compliancy like the nine unknowns who became an old coffee club of senior citizens instead of guardians of a secret. There is also the pattern of not letting or hanging on, somewhere we Indians seemed to have forgotten vanaprastha.

Author holds the knowledge of nine books as the key of world disasters, and the inability of the nine defenders to defend it.  Of course the

The 9 unknowns are supposed to have supported Akbar, Shivaji, Marathas then Tippu; it was quite interesting especially when the author claims Tippu was secular when evidences are that he was pseudo-secular. The Qutub Minar is cited as the evidence of the book of alchemy.

The author has woven real people into  fiction like Robert Oppenheimer, Subhas Chandra Bose, princess Noor the granddaughter of Tippu Sultan and of course JRD Tata.

Though the author could have taken a little more care about the language I

Liked the focus pace and lack of unnecessary frills including a sickening romance.

A must read for all history buffs.

About the author—Jvalant nalin Sampat, currently distributes high end auto and home leather products, through Karlsson Leather   and owns CrossPollinate a Mumbai based CSR consultancy.  He has a major IT and a liberal arts concentration in English, from Rochester Institute of technology NY and MBA from Copenhagen business school Copenhagen

Other books on the 9 unknowns… https://kitabikida.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/an-asokan-quest/

 

But Where are You Ashwin Sanghi

But Where are You Ashwin Sanghi

Finally last evening it reached my hands. Private India by Ashwin Sanghi, I then find out with this being the narrative of the India operations of Private Inc. The cover appeared very tourist Bombay-ish unlike the usual, vibrant mysterious covers of Ashwin Sanghi’s book.

Title Private India

Authors Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.

ISBN 978-0-099-58639-5

Publisher Random House India.

The story opens with the death of a Thai Surgeon, and is followed by nine seemingly unrelated murders. The onus of solving this rests on Private India’s chief Santosh Wagh a man whose loyalty oscillates between Jack Morgan the boss of Private international and Johnnie Walker.

Santosh Wagh’s team is made up of Hari Padhi a cyber forensic expert, Muben Yusuf a medical forensic man, and Nisha an ex-cop and on field investigating personal.

One interesting take was that the musing of the murderer is in first person. Ashwin Sanghi does make a faint presence felt with the underlying theme of the Navadurga—not the standard form but the Tantric version. Though an incomplete reference to the Thugee cult is used as a red herring.

Somewhere in the 13th chapter is a blatant clue, and in the 20th chapter a blatant red herring. The killer leaving behind clues that tie up to the navaratri navadurga is very shallow and not really convincing.

The plot and characters are pretty predictable. The shady politician manifests as Nalin D’Souza. The cop and underworld nexus, the busy husband whose wife has an affair with his best friend. The said wife toys with the wedding ring, though a more authentic presentation would be toying with the mangalsutra since many Indian women find rings a bother and tend ot do away with them. Of course a Don who is patriotic.

There is also a very insipid attempt to look into the psyche of the killer, abandoned child, abused childhood and revenge motif that is not very convincing either.

There were some interesting quotes like “one woman’s hobby could be another woman’s hubby.” And “there are always second chances—both for metal and men”

The book lacks the usual depth of Ashwin Sanghi’s knowledge of Indian history and rituals or the raciness of his writing or even the rawness of his language. The climax was bit of a letdown and too many loose ends were left unattended to.

The book is too slow-paced to be an James Patterson Private series. Too uninformed to be Ashwin Sanghi, yet it is a good read, for a long journey.

I have just one question… Where Are You Ashwin Sanghi? I Don’t Feel Your Presence In The Book! This is not just my question… As I walked into Crosswords I heard two other readers discussing that they felt let down, They wanted more of the Thughee and Navadurga.

About The Authors.

Ashwin Sanghi is a Mumbai based entrepreneur by profession but writes historical fiction in the thriller genre. He has had his education in Mumbai and holds a master’s degree from Yale. He is currently working on his PhD. Website.http://www.sanghi.in.

James Patterson– http://www.jamespatterson.co.uk/

This book was a complimentary copy sent for reviewing by blogadda.com

Darkness and Light Within-

Darkness and Light Within-

minette waltersBook review.

The dark room

When my mother wanted to say that we did something foolish, or she felt foolish, she used a term, “upper storey to let” somehow the book took me through the journey

Finally the throne of my idol Dame Agatha Christie is threatened.

The Debut Novel of author Minnette Walters, The Dark Room had me absolutely hooked. Published by Pan Boooks, the ISBN number is 0330343742

The story of three unsolved murders spanned over 10 yrs opens with a prologue which feels totally irrelevant when the actual story moves on.  The relevance pops only towards the end.

It is so difficult to talk about this whodunit without placing the spoilers.

Set in contemporary England, the Story line is quite simple three unsolved murders, one attempted suicide the suicide victim is the suspect at the murder, so is her father,   the plot is very simple what makes the book unique is the treatment, Walters focuses on relationship, and the subaltern thought process. She does not bother to vindicate her characters behaviour moral or amoral.

Though the book is about relationship and one of the dead being sexually overtly liberal there are no sex scenes to distract, she actually rejects an obvious buzz issue child abuse to keep the focus.

Stories in Indian context even western contest are either plot driven or Prakarna as Sanskrit literature calls it, that is events dominate the narrative, while the other is Purana or the character dominated ones. each character is crafted quite convincingly that one does excuse couple of misses here and there.

The young man who comes up from the ranks the hard way, him marrying a woman from the elite society of England, him idolizing her and the daughter that is born to them. when she dies he marries someone from his own environment, the jealousy  the apparently dysfunctional family juxtaposition with apparently well knit traditional families the story pans out very interestingly. Though being a seasoned whodunit reader, I did het a whiff of who the murder might be  I realized the temptation to jump the plat was not there.

Hope I have not put a spoiler for anyone,

about the author http://minettewalters.co.uk/

 

The Calling Card that fails to scare

The Calling Card that fails to scare

khel
image courtesy google images.This review is a part of the biggest <a 

 

 

The writing on the card

Khel the writing author Vishal Goswami, Published by Leadstartcorp, ISBN 978-93-52013-22-7.  Genre is attempted Horror.

When BlogAdda invited me to review the book they had sent a small synopsis. That was intriguing. So was the review by few others I thought why not.

When the book did arrive it was a slim book of 150 pages with a cover that looked like the screenshot of Aahat. The sub title was “Jo Likha hai wohi hoga” it was kind of put off.

The story is quite simple, a widow, alcoholic crime reporter Sanya Sharma is trying to recover from the loss of her daughter Samira in a burn accident. Her boss decides to give her one last chance to return to normalcy.

She goes to cover the horrible death of four college going kids at a Haveli in a remote village near Mumbai (if such a thing is possible). When she is looking over the crime scene she finds a deck of cards that follow her back to Mumbai these cards have messages that forces the receiver to obey.

The book has a very Mahesh Bhatt like characters a police officer Kabir who also forms the lust angle for Sanya, an undead zombie Mrs.Gomes, a Tarot reader Rose, a jean clad, cigarette puffing innkeeper Rita who interestingly is in the forties.

The plot revolves round a haunted house where the last owner a Nawab’s daughter was ill-treated by her family; she avenges herself by orchestering the death of her siblings, parents, and randomly through the cards. She wants to be released from the place of her entrapment so that she can continue to play havoc. Since Sanya has lost a daughter the spirit decides to use her.

When the Nawab’s daughter was alive, by the way her same is Samira too, she would be let out only when the kids finished their card game, so she eggs Sanya to finish the card game.

The book traverses through a very Mahesh Bhatt journey there is an attempt at erotica between Kabir and Sanya of course it is not Sanya but the shape lifting spirit that does it.  There is a westernized Tarot reader in a remote village again quite unlikely if at all there is a predictive healer in rural India they would people who read the rice grains or kowari’s they are more akinned to astrologers. Again it is very unlikely in remote rural India you will find a jean clad cigarette smoking woman who walks her dogs. Dogs in rural India as just let out.

The book however has its moments like a moment when Sanya makes eye contact with another patient as she is leaving the psychiatrists office. It reminded me of the woman with grey eyes in Agatha Christie’s books.

Over all the book fails to deliver what it promises, yet it is not a bad read. Good book to carry on a metro ride it short and not verbose. If Chetan Bhagat has been intimidating you then this is a good author to begin your foray into fiction.

About the author:  Mr.Vishal Goswami is an MBA from Boston, and is passionate about reading and writing. He is a twitterati with the twitter handle  WriteNow@WritetoFite. Where he tweets about more contemporary topics and new movie analysis and rating.

This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews” target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com” target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a>

The Mughal Muse.

The Mughal Muse.

 

Image courtesy Internet
Image courtesy Internet

Book review –The Princess in Black.

Authors: upendra dharmadhikari and changali anand

Publishers: srishti publications

ISBN: 978-93-82665-212

Genre historic fiction.

Jahanara the daughter of Shahjahan is the will-o-wisp of the era, she has become the muse of many a writers it is quite interesting to read to various takes on her. The princess still resides in the shadow. In this particular story the princess has to make her presence felt through the layers of contemporary thrillers and the forgotten diamonds.

The book begins with the missing relic of Moghal the relic 27  and somewhere it get linked to an terror attack that links the TajMahal and visiting American diplomats very arbitrarily.

The authors here are blending the trail of the Moghal myth of the Noor-diamond the more elusive partner of the Kohinoor.  The book does present some interesting references like “attention long enough to cook instant noodles.” Another observation of strong dynasties had strong presence of women. The fact that Moghal ruled with the duality of savagery and subtlety

the author has very interestingly linked protagonists, his title and the nebulous presence of the princess Jahanara in the Moghal history through inanimate objects like the black bag carried by the Saima the designer who is on the quest with Narayana, the black shoes of Major Rathore is the focus before skimming over the dark shadows that he is dealing with.

Yet the book has jarring notes like the characters of the protagonist Narayan Shashtri styled on Indiana Jones, his father and grandfather given very north Indian persona while trying to pass them off of as south Indians. Akbar was illiterate so his writing was done by a scribe and not by him personally.

Flashbacks and the ISI linking are rather random and abrupt, the introduction of Salim Khan, and his architect sister Safi, who is very obviously Saima the thought process of a typical Hindi movie emerges. There is also a hint of Salim and Safi being of the Moghal lineage though it is left to the reader to conclude. Of course on and off Saima becomes a surrogate for Jahanara.

The book comes across as a high school project of two very good storytellers. It lacks the research depth and drama factor.

Image courtesy internet
Image courtesy internet

About the authors–

Upendra Dharmadhikary —  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8436259.Upendra_Dharmadhikari

Changali Ananad —  https://www.linkedin.com/pub/anand-changali/12/7aa/880