Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In which Kanan gets likened to Precious...

...in this lovely review by Swarna Rajagopalan.


"I enjoyed the depiction of 'society' (as in housing cooperative society) life very much. If you have lived in Bombay, and lived in a building with a buzzing society (inevitably), you will find many familiar faces. It's a particular universe that I want to suggest is unique to Bombay, combining the anonymity of big cities (the reluctant detective barely knows her murdered neighbour) with the social norms of a small town 'colony' that has grown around a company's factory (being particular about condolence calls). 

I am not sure why this book is being marketed as a murder mystery. What it does is paint the portrait of a particular kind of lifestyle and people who live in a particular kind of community. The murder is almost just a hook--a reason to show us how people call each other, share news, etc.--and I wonder if Kiran Manral was as reluctant to have this label attached as Kanan Mehra is to do detective work. In this, "The Reluctant Detective" is a lot like the Precious Ramotswe books (which I love) where the detective work is almost an excuse to introduce us to life and manners in Botswana.

If this is to be the first of many Kanan Mehra books, I can see that they have the potential to gently and humorously document a world which is quirky and full of people we might know. Maybe they don't need to unnecessarily kill people off for that to happen.

So buy this book and read it. It's the perfect journey read, or evening read on that work trip where you just want quiet time with a book after talking all day, or for a person who has just finished taking demanding entrance exams.

Thank you, Kiran, and I hope you will keep them coming! "

Read more here.

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