Friday, August 22, 2014

#BookReview: Happily Murdered by Rasleen Syal

On the jacket:

The radiant new daughter-in-law of the influential Mehta family dies mysteriously on the very next night of her wedding. The murder is an inside job, the police are certain. It could be anyone, the adulterous husband, conniving in-laws, jealous friend and the love struck ex-fiance. With an aim to save themselves and incriminate others, it is not long before these suspects turn into amateur detectives, hunting for clues and delving into hidden secrets only they can unearth. They coerce, pry and blackmail in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery.   Will one of these nine unlikely sleuths finally unravel the mystery behind Gulab's death and avenge it? Or will the truth die as viciously as Gulab?


I love mystery authors, and have a special soft corner for them. Mystery novels challenge the reader's mind in ways unimaginable; a good mystery story is a tale which lingers in the reader's mind for a while after putting the book aside. Agatha Christie is my favourite mystery novel writer, no doubt. The idea of reading a book written by one of her fans was interesting in itself.

I picked up Happily Murdered.... with a lot of expectations. I follow Syal's facebook page and going by the posts there, I knew she means business when telling a mystery tale. 

So, Gulab Sarin is dead. The morning after her wedding to Sid Mehta. Suspects are the Mehtas and the Dullas who were all staying at the venue. We have Biji - Sid's grandmother, his parents, his two brothers - Vikram and Yuvi, his sister-in-law Monica and her siblings, the twins Ned and Sara Dulla. Also in the house were six servants and Vikram & Monica's twins - Jack & Jill. Every family member, except the kids were suspects. Yuvi was Gulab's best friend. Rest every adult of the two families had reasons to kill Gulab. Ned was engaged to Gulab and Sara to Sid before the engagements broke and Gulab and Sid decided to get married. However, Sara gets arrested because the initial clues point to her. Later, Sid's father finds out that Gulab had left all her money to Sid making him a fresh suspect.

Each member has to prove themselves innocent and is trying to find the real culprit. The climax unfolds, keeping the readers on their toes. A very unexpected climax, this takes the mystery to another level altogether. A brilliant end. Characters are very well defined and the plot unfolds like butter sliding on a hot, flat surface. Sizzling slightly, and leaving a trail. I would call the book unputdownable, something that happens rarely while reading fiction by Indian authors these days, that too a debut author. Syal is definitely an author to look out for.

Rating: *****/5

[This was an author request review. However, the views expressed are my own and honest representations of the reading experience.]

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