“Vikram Rana is a Rajput, born and brought up in Hyderabad. He likes aloo parathas and masala chai and is a hardcore foodie. Over six feet tall, he has an athletic build, which he maintains by swimming and jogging regularly. He is also a yoga addict. A lady-killer in his youth, Vikram, like George Clooney and good wine, is only getting better with age.”
Did that grab your attention?
Good. Because it did mine.
Silent Witness by Sharmishta Shenoy is a well-paced, well written murder mystery that will leave you hooked until you complete it.
Summary: Akhil Garg, a wealthy businessman dies after drinking soda, hallucinating about his own older brother’s death. The family is mourning his untimely death. Vikram Rana is asked to investigate and he finds that there is a lot brushed under the carpet. Is Akhil’s family really mourning or are they rejoicing the death secretly?
You have to read the book to know that.
Review: This is the first time I have read any book of Vikram Rana series and I’m impressed. The story is based in Kolkata. The author has depicted the city of joy perfectly. From the Park Street to Bow Barracks, the Christmas, the house of Satyajit Ray (I definitely didn’t expect that). I could see the city in my mind’s eye through her witing.
Author Shenoy knows her game. the descriptions are amazing! Be it the Christmas or the room where Ritu is murdered (read the book to know more).
The use of suspense is adequate. Not too much but also enough to keep us glued. Each and every character related to the Garg family is somewhat shady, if not shady then morally grey. True to the essence of detective stories the suspicion lies on everyone.
The patriarchy in the Indian household…damn! The characters are portrayed so well to show how they were making the women submissive! And yes, my blood boiled.
There are a few points I would like to mention that could have been better –
- The ending is quite predictable. Two or three chapters until the end, you would know who the culprit is. I would love it if in the next instalments the ending would be more unpredictable.
- There is a mention of two characters Radha and Murali. They work under Vikram in his detective coaching agency (never knew that could be a thing but in these days of freelance, I guess every skill is marketable). Apparently, Radha is in love with Vikram while Murali likes Radha. The introduction to the characters ended there abruptly. Was that supposed to be a sub-plot? If not what was the meaning of adding that bit there I don’t know. However, maybe in other Vikram Rana books the two have better roles which I don’t know from this book.
- Another thing. This one is totally my own preference and other people might not care about it. There are a few usages of polysyllabic words like, “synergize”, “impervious” etc. I personally prefer easy-going words. But that’s just me.
Rating: Overall this is a brilliant one time read. I recommend it strongly for murder mystery lovers. 4 stars.
I graciously thank the author for providing me with a review copy of her book.
About the author: Sharmishtha Shenoy is the author “Murder in the Chowdhury Palace” published by Vishwakarma Publications. She is also the author of the Vikram Rana Mystery series. The books that are part of the series are:
Vikram Rana Investigates, A Season for Dying, Behind the Scenes and Fatal Fallout. Murder in the Chowdhury Palace, A Season for Dying and Behind the Scenes has reached #1 in hot new releases.
Her short stories have been published in reputed magazines. She loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she herself likes to read.
Before starting to write, she had been an IT professional and had worked in TCS, Satyam, Infosys and Microsoft.
Have you ever read Sharmishta’s books? What are your thoughts about it? Do you like this review? Don’t be shy. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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