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‘Vikram Rana Investigates’, by Sharmishtha Shenoy




VIKRAM RANA INVESTIGATES
BY
SHARMISHTHA SHENOY



BLURB

Vikram Rana Murder Mysteries set in Hyderabad…… 

The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion 

When the glamourous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves. 

The Sonia Sinha Case 

When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case? Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case. Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed. 

MY REVIEW


Being a die-hard mystery aficionado, I knew I have to take up this book to read and review the moment I saw the title. Thank you for not disappointing me, Ms. Shenoy.

Only to give you a quick and dirty gist of the protagonist; take one portion each of Karamchand, Agatha Christie, Byomkesh Bakshi, and a half measure of Sherlock Holmes. Put them all in a blender and churn them good. Pour out the mix in a tall, chilled glass and garnish with a big dollop of desi Hyderabadi tomato chutney. What you have in your hand is Vikram Rana.

The author has done a good job with maintaining the twists and turns all throughout the novel; which consists of two independent cases. The moment the reader tries to think ahead of the story and thinks s/he knows the killer, there comes another twist in the tale. This is exactly what forces the reader to ignore the wife calling out, the ringing phone, the email alerts, and keep on turning page after page.

WHAT I LIKED: The intrigue value is well maintained throughout, as is the plot twists. The language is simple and relatable. The necessary lure of the setting and the backdrop is well utilized.

WHAT I DISLIKED: I really wish the author would have taken care of the event timeline. There are a couple of instances where the sequence of events contradict each other. For example, the car breaks down today and won’t start, the next day it’s OK and the protagonist takes it to work, while it’s taken to the garage the day after. The speed, although fast, reads like rushed at a few places. If it weren’t for a few typos here and some avoidable repetition of past events there, I would have given the book a higher ranking.

Overall, ‘Vikram Rana Investigates’ is a nice, quick read for the lovers of mystery and suspense.

I give this book, a 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I had received a paperback version of the book from the author via 'The Book Club', in return of my honest and unbiased review.


Read an excerpt...

From "The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion"
"Kinshuk sprang out of bed and followed his uncle, Rohan along the passage to his mother Richa’s bedroom.
Rohan’s wife, Kiara joined them along with Richa’s personal maid Lakshmi and two more servants. Everyone seemed to be in a state of awestricken fear.
Kinshuk turned to his uncle, ‘What should we do? Father is not here.’
Never had Kinshuk’s weak nature been more apparent, Rohan thought in distaste. Rohan rattled the handle of his sister-in-law Richa’s door violently, but with no effect. The whole household was aroused by now. The most alarming sounds were audible from the interior of the locked bedroom. Clearly something must be done."
What could have been going on the room? What triggered it?
Mrs Lohia was lying in her bed having seizures. In her agony she must have overturned the bedside table. As they entered, her limbs relaxed and she fell back on her pillow.
"I cannot see properly" she complained. Rohan and Kinshuk looked at each other helplessly. A strangled cry from the bed startled them. A fresh bout of pain had seized Richa. The seizures were terrible to behold. At that moment dr Agnihotri pushed his way into the room authoritatively. At the same instant, Richa cried "Rohan.... Rohan" then she fell back on the pillows motionless. 
Why was Richa killed? Why did she take Rohan's name?
From the Sonia Sinha case:
"He reached the meeting place at 8 pm sharp. The headlights of his car revealed a woman in a burqa waiting by the roadside. She waved her hand. Krishna stopped the car and she got in. As she removed her veil, Krishna started in surprise. At the same time another man got into the back of his car. Confused, Krishna looked at the man. Then his eyes widened in fear."
Whom did Krishna see? Who was the woman in burqa?



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About the author


Sharmishtha Shenoy

Sharmishtha Shenoy loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she herself likes to read. Her favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series. She was born in Calcutta and has done her post-graduation from University of Reading, Great Britain. She lives in Hyderabad.

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