3 and a half murders – a review

Name of the book: 3 and a Half Murders 41igaXTEreL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

Author: Salil Desai

My rating: 4.5/5

While going through my Goodreads bookshelves, I stumbled upon Salil Desai’s latest novel from Inspector Saralkar Series. But, this discovery was really late, almost 10 months from the publication. I am kicking myself for not following this amazing author, who gave us our own mystery hunters duo, Senior Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar from Homicide Unit of Pune Police. I was fascinated by the first two books from the series and that lead me to pick his latest title instantaneously.

Maintaining the track record of the earlier titles from series, Salil Desai has managed to keep the reader’s attention with him until he completes the story. This time story takes you to Kothrud, another part of Pune, to almost open and shut case; the murder-suicide of married couple Sanjay and Anushka Doshi. But as the story unfolds, mystery hunters duo’s attempt to answer ‘why’s behind the ghastly and spine-chilling murder-suicide, brings the puzzling facts about human behaviors.

The plot takes many twists and turns leading inspectors to various cities and dive in the old case papers of Karnataka Police in for the unsolved murder in Banglore entangled with shady land deals, recruitment scams and many other irregularities related to Doshis.

I have observed in Salil’s this series, he had tried to talk about human psychology and the social stigmas around various issues like sexuality and gender identity. He has developed the characters around these issues so that he can create the dialogue in the reader’s mind about these issues. This is the quality which makes you read through the last chapter where the criminal tries to explain his side of the story, and the end where protagonist put some key pieces of the puzzle on display for us.

Senior Inspector Saralkars one-line punches and jibes to PSI Motkar add the spices to the story along with the development of their personal stories, as PSI Motkar is now an amateur actor in a play and Saralkar is trying to fight with the diagnosis of hypertension. The blurb of the book and the cover is so catchy that you can’t leave it until you dive deep into it. This is how the blurb goes:

“Two corpses . . . a woman lying dead on her bed,
a man hanging from the ceiling fan.
A suicide note cum murder confession.
And a name . . . Shaunak Sodhi.
When the case comes their way, Senior Inspector Saralkar has just been diagnosed with hypertension and PSI Motkar is busy with rehearsals of an amateur play.
What appears at first to be a commonplace crime by a debt-ridden, cuckolded husband, who has killed his unfaithful wife and then hung himself, soon begins to unfold as a baffling mystery. As clues point to a seven-year-old unsolved murder in Bangalore and other leads emerge closer home, Saralkar and Motkar find themselves investigating shady secrets, bitter grudges, fishy land deals, carnal desires, the dead woman Anushka Doshi’s sinister obsession with past life regression and her husband’s links to a suspicious, small-time god-man, Rangdev Baba.And then, suddenly, the murderer resurfaces and yet another life is in grave danger . . .
Can Saralkar and Motkar get to the bottom of an unimaginably shocking motive and stop the malevolent killer from committing the fourth murder . . .?”

Paperback: 328 pages

Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing (8 February 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8175994258

ISBN-13: 978-8175994256


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Search for Indian Mystery Writer ends…

23119374Name of the book: Killing Ashish Karve

Author: Salil Desai

My rating: 4.5/5

I like to indulge myself in finding background forces resulting in the particular event or incident. And that’s the main cause of getting my mind attracted to the crime novels. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John Gresham, Jeffry Archer have been on my favorites list for many years. While screen shopping on Amazon Kindle store, my mind stuck on “Killing Ashish Karve” by Salil Desai. The reason was as simple as a familiarity of the surname in the title. As I flipped some pages of the preview available, I just couldn’t stop myself from choosing it as my next read.

Salil Desai didn’t make me regret my choice. The story plot is set to happen in Pune, the city which is my home for past 7 years, I felt more engrossed about the plot. But even if it would have been set in any fictional city, his narration style is very remarkable and details in writings build a very realistic picture of locations, crime scenes. The plot revolves around the suspicious death of a businessman from city and everyone close to him have one or the other motive to get rid of him.

Homicide inspectors from City Police find themselves chasing some eluding facts making any concrete progress difficult in this case. Salil wrote the story with such interesting twists and turns. Some misleading facts set them in wild goose chase, family members pull up non-cooperation card at a crucial time, are very common aspects of any murder mystery, but Salil made it a point of keeping them so interesting that reader feels them very important for the plot to move ahead. When we feel that case about to crack open and guilty will be apprehended, the story takes another turn with the murder of one of a key person. All pieces get linked almost at climax and inspectors make the arrest.

After reading “Killing Ashish Karve” I can say confidently that my search for good Indian murder mystery writer stops at Salil Desai. I am very eager for reading his other works.

Paperback: 260 pages

Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing (1 July 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8172345313

ISBN-13: 978-8172345310

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हे सर्व कोठून येते? – A Book Review

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-08 at 12.33.53 AM

If you are aware of the contemporary Marathi theatre scene, then one name will be very familiar to you: Vijay Tendulkar. He was a fantastic playwright with many milestones in Marathi theatre like Ghashiram Kotwal, Gidhade and Sakharam Bainder which are recorded on his name. He had also written stories for some amazing films, such as Ardhasatya, Akrosh and Nishant. On the other hand, he had written many short and long articles, essays on various occasions. “हे सर्व कोठून येते?” is a compilation.

While talking about this book in its prologue, he said “After observing people for so many years, I feel labeling them is pointless. They are very complex, we can only scrape the surface of one’s personality. We have to accept that every person has a whole different life other than one we have experienced. We should not make judgments about the ‘other part’ of life. If we do, then it should be for our own musing.”

This book is all about people he met, interacted and worked with in his long span of a career as a journalist; an editor of various periodicals, a writer and during his work under Nehru Fellowship. He came across various politicians as a journalist and editor and he has tried to present them differently trying to put some light on their unique facet. He had taken the interview of ex-CM of Maharashtra Vasantrao Naik, ex-CM of Gujrat Chimanbhai Patel and J P Naik but in this book he has written elaborately about them and his experience of meeting them for an interview.

While working for Maratha, one of the old popular Marathi daily, he had witnessed a lot of different avatars of Pra. Ke. Atre, legendary writer, orator and owner of Maratha. He has been active in politics in those days and was famous for being blunt while putting his thoughts to words. He has dedicated some of the articles to his fellow writer, friends, and colleagues.

But the last two articles from the book are really different than others. They talk about death, murders and death penalty elaborately. These two articles have made me reschedule my today’s blog post for next week and write this review for you guys. I tell you, folks, I had never read anything so thought-provoking about somebody’s death or somebodies act of murdering another human. I wasn’t able to speak about anything for almost 15 minutes after I finished the book on this note. Guys, I recommend that you grab a copy of the book at least for these two articles. I know, it’s a Marathi book but you feel free to ask me anything if the language is a barrier for you, I will be very happy to help you in this matter.

My rating: – 4.5/5

Name of the book: हे सर्व कोठून येते?

Publisher: Rajhans Prakashan

Pages: 195

ISBN: 81-7434-317-2

ISBN13: 9788174343178

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Absolute Khushwant – A Book Review


It has been a busy month so far. I just shifted to a new place and was busy in settling down in my new home. When I was putting my books on the shelf, I realised that I had piled up lots of half-read books in the past few months. So I put myself on a new mission to finish these books before I pick up any new book from my ‘yet TBR’ pile.

One of the books in that half-read pile was Absolute Khushwant. I had picked it up when I was traveling from Nashik to Pune as my ‘one for the road’ book. But I had barely managed to read very few pages; thanks to the bumpy ride of the under construction highway. As I reached Pune, the book got sidelined and joined the others in ‘half-read’ pile. I am fascinated by his way of writing so I decided to finish this book before any other book.

This is my first book of Khushwant Singh. I have not read any of his works, not even his weekly columns which used to get published in some Indian newspapers. But the rawness with which he pens his thoughts just holds you till the last word. This simplicity and frankness always touch your heart even if you disagree with his views.

In this book, this 96 old guy writes very frankly on almost all of the aspects of human life. He opens the dialogue, by telling us how he feels about being old. In the later pages, he opens up about his views on sex, love and marriages. He talks about his relationship with his wife Kaval and the rough patch in their marriage. He also writes about his worries, insecurities and much more.

He then moves on to the people he came across in his life, few he liked, he respected and some whom he trashed with his pen. He had trashed the religious fundoos (his word for fundamentalists) from all the religions including his own with harsh strokes of his pen. He took a strong stand against Bhindranwale for which he was on their hit list for years. He shares his views about politics, terrorism and the riots of 1984.

Even being agnostic himself, he writes elaborately on various religious scriptures and what he finds good in them. There is a long piece on Sikh community in the book along with one on the city of Delhi. Khushwant shares his love for Urdu language and especially for Urdu poetry, where he tells us how he enjoyed translating works of great poets in English and his favorites amongst those legends.

As the book comes to an end, topics of his essays turn philosophical like destiny, luck, faith in humanity, etc. He aptly concludes the journey on the point of death. He shares how the death’s of his family members which he witnessed at a tender age affected him, and now at the age of 96 how he expects to put the full stop to his journey, and then he signs off with his remarks on himself.

Overall a good read. I liked his style, the rawness of thoughts, no sugar coating and being straightforward. Now I am looking forward to reading more of his work. I would rate it 3.5/5. I would recommend you this book if you are interested in non-fiction short writings.

Paperback: 200 pages

Publisher: Penguin India (17 August 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0143068717

ISBN-13: 978-0143068716

Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm

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Ruskin’s Rusty

Ever since I took my first dive in English literature, Ruskin Bond has been my one of the favorite author. His stories have fascinated me since my first read. I don’t know how many times I have reread them. But for some reason, Ruskin’s Rusty always have dodged me. It’s not the case that I didn’t get a chance to buy it before or it was out of print. When your bestie is with you and you both are very crazy about books, some things just click. I know one should not judge a book by its cover but guys, this edition of “The room on the roof” is so irresistible with a fabulous watercolor cover which you can’t just ignore and move on. We both bought it. That day, I changed my topic for ‘R’ of this A to Z challenge. It can’t be anything other than “Ruskin’s Rusty”

Just like any other Ruskin Bond book, it doesn’t let you leave the book without finishing the story. Or should I say, just like this book his all other stories hold you until you finish the reading? This is the first book Ruskin ever wrote. My copy being the special edition for the 60th anniversary of this award-winning book. It comes with a bonus of introduction by Tom Alter, and Ruskin’s special preface telling us the story covering the time past 60 years of this book. Eye catching water-color illustrations by Gunjan Ahlawat comes with the classic words of Ruskin as the special feature of this special edition.

As this is the first novel in the Rusty series, It introduces us to an Anglo-Indian boy from his late teens living his unhappy life with his stern guardian, who elopes the house of his guardian to live among his friends from the town of Dehra. It is fascinating to read how life can take turns so dramatically without giving any signs for the same. One fine day, Rusty is with his friends enjoying the hustle of bazaar, enjoying baths on the common tank in the town, eating chaats with his buddies, and then one by one, his well-wisher walk on different paths of their lives. To know what happens when lonely Rusty takes decision to leave Dehra for England, you better grab your copy. I am sure you won’t leave it until you get the answer of this question.

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I am participating in A to Z challenge with Blogchatter and this is my take on day 18 challenge. “R is about Ruskin’s Rusty”


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Shogun: Race to be the Supreme…

I just finished the third book of 2017, and I know its long way to go and reach the goal of 100 books. James Clavell had done a great job of keeping me bound to his first novel of the Asian Saga “Shogun” and not picking up some smaller book. Shogun is set in Japan of 1600. It’s huge book to finish it in a week or so, At-least for me. But it took me on such an amazing historical journey of the feudal systems of Japan.

Shogun is the story of first British naval pilot Blackthorne, who is able to reach Japanese shores. It takes us on his journey of getting sucked up in the race for power in feudal lords; Daimyōs; of Japan. European conflict between Anglo-Dutch and Spaniards-Portuguese lobbies also keep influencing the storyline as the arrival of Blackthorne threatens the existing setups of Portuguese-Spanish establishments and their trade lines with Asia. The book is full of plot surprises as everybody knows politics and race for power are never straight forward businesses.

He had managed to weave the triangular conflict between Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists terrifically in the plot of the novel. Many times, characters face the dilemma about putting faith or liege lord at first place.

He manages to make us travel all the distances, across the country, by sea, by road, through mountains, makes us stay at the huge castle. As the story starts inching towards the climax, it’s almost abrupt ending. If we consider the whole excitement he had built up for the climax, it just drops you down from the cliff and our historical journey ends with a sudden halt.

I would give the rating of 3.5/5. He looses 1.5 just because of this abrupt climax but the book is really classic read. Please do read it. You can grab your copy from following

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