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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review :: ‘Vikram Rana Investigates’ by Sharmishtha Shenoy

Genre: Mystery and suspense

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:

‘Vikram Rana Investigates’ consists of two murder cases set in the city of Hyderabad, which are investigated and solved by Vikram Rana, a private investigator.

‘The Mysterious Affair at the Lohia Mansion’ takes us to Rich Lohia, daughter of a powerful man and wife of renowned industrialist, who dies under mysterious circumstances in her locked bedroom. Rana is hired by Rohan Lohia, his friend and Richa’s bother-in-law, to investigate the untimely death.

The story starts pulling you in, with many characters coming into the ambit of suspicion— the husband, Kinshuk Richa’s drug-addict son, Juhi - the governess, and Rohan himself. The story keeps one invested till the end.

‘The Sonia Sinha Case’ is about murder of a dubious property developer, Krishna Mohan Dhavala, who is brutally murdered in his car. As Rana comes in to investigate there are many characters who slowly come into his list of suspects. The villain’s character is well etched as the story progresses. The author gives us the information piece by piece maintaining the suspense till the end.

Of the two I liked the second one better as it is more convincing. Coming up with murder mysteries which do not have a loophole is difficult. Kudos to the author for not one but two well thought-out stories.

Both the stories are well told, however they could have been made into full separate novels by flushing out the characters and detailing the situations. Secondly in the Lohia case too many characters are introduced in quick succession leading to confusion. I had to read first few pages again to get the names right.

Pace of both the stories is good. Language is simple and narration maintains the suspense till the end. The interactions between Vikram Rana and his wife Veena bring much needed light-hearted moments in tense situations.

A great effort for a debut.











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.

You can stalk her @

                     



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