“Padmavati, the village hostess’s body is found in a sacred chamber of the Kali temple. Men wanted her; women hated her; while some men wanted to keep their liaisons hidden.
But who had the motive, the means and opportunity to kill her? … The onus of solving the case puts head constable Venkat reddy in a quandary. He has never even solved petty crimes and here he is faced with murder!”
Plot – Simple yet riveting. The story has the reader hooked from the word ‘go’. The author has done a wonderful job as far as the suspense angle is considered. At different points in the story he throws up something that makes the reader suspect someone. Only to find later that the reader’s surmise is wrong. Komarraju has the readers guessing till the very end and when finally the truth is revealed one can’t help but shake one’s head in disbelief.
The climax is akin to the icing on that fresh baked cake that you take away from some of the best bakers in town. It’s refreshing and leaves one wonder-struck and wanting more.
Characterization – Every character is well-developed and given the space they deserve. One can easily picture each character and their trivialities vividly; such as the dilemma of Venkat Reddy, who is unable to let go of the case, in spite of promising to himself that he will let the case file die a natural death. Or the village headman Seetaramiah, who one cannot but hate. The reader can soon predict every character’s actions and reactions. Even relate to some of them. Komarraju has done an excellent job refraining from introducing any unnecessary characters.
Language – Simple, crisp and lucid. The narrative flows easily, in a style typical of Komarraju’s other works. No hard nuts to crack or pebbles that tend to take away the taste in a well cooked food.
Style – The author has chosen his words and his style of narration with an eye on putting across a visual treat before his readers. The author transports every reader, irrespective of his current background, to the quaint little village of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh with ease. One finds himself/ herself see the events unfold before one’s eyes.
Pace – Perfect. Never loses the tempo that the blurb promises. The tempo builds up into a great crescendo at the end, which is the trademark of any well-written murder mystery.
A wonderful and simple read, written in true Sharath Komarraju style – tight-paced with vivid narratives; a crime fiction that’s sure to give you some anxious moments. And will definitely make you question your abilities to solve a murder mystery. It is one of his first works and one can see it briefly in some places, yet our verdict is – Do read !
Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5
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