Book Name: Murder in a Minute
Author: Shouvik Bhattacharya
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Pages: 230; Price: Rs 250
There are murder mysteries and then there is this one, “Murder In A Minute”, a story about a beautiful successful entrepreneur, Esha Arora, who is murdered in her own house in the presence of her family and despite that no one has actually witnessed the murder or seen the murderer! Spooky isn’t it?
The murder mystery is set up in a picturesque town of Palanpur in Himachal Pradesh where Esha Arora had taken her father’s company Arora cements to new heights and success. Esha had been adopted by Vishal Arora, who set up Arora Cements. He also has four other children, twins Rashmi and Pranav from his first wife and two sons Rishabh and Arya from his second wife. After his death, the father left Esha, his adopted daughter in charge of Arora Cements which came as a surprise since he didn’t leave any control of the company in the hands of his own biological children especially Pranav who was the oldest and also despised Esha. Therefore, all of them had a motive to kill Esha. Also, they were all present in the house at the time of the murder.
The other suspects are the housemaid, the over-ambitious accountant and Esha’s ex-boyfriend Anubhav who was also present at the time of the murder in the house. Enters, the lead investigating police officer Inspector Rashid, who with the help of Rishabh and Arya with who Esha shared a special bond help with the murder investigation.
As the investigation proceeds, it comes to light to the reader how the dark side of all the suspects is revealed and the lies and the deceit of the suspects in their past. During the narration, several chapters are written in the past tense where the writer takes us to several flashbacks of Esha, Anubhav, Pranav among others and that makes it very gripping. Every chapter is action packed and assists in the progression of the story.
As the title suggests, it is literally murder in a minute when no one is around her that Esha gets killed in her house in her own room. As one after another evidence is discovered, the onus keeps shifting from one person to another and leaves the reader on the edge, thinking and completely involved. The story is brief and not unnecessarily prolonged as is mandatory when one is reading a murder mystery. Every character has varied shades in its personality which is well –woven within the plot. The end is almost a shocker and unexpected which is one of the high points of the book since usually the climax and the end of murder mysteries are predictable. However, the lead investigating inspector Rashid’s character is not a very impactful and fierce one and he is portrayed as a simple cop from a small town. The language is articulate, and the book will appeal to readers of all ages.
The author has writing finesse, which he intelligently uses to his advantage, although a tad less descriptive and explanatory. This book is a must read and has some very chilling and thrilling revelations towards the second half. The challenge which the author has successfully overcome is one that of keeping the length of the book very crisp and yet very appealing and engrossing. A thumbs-up to Shouvik Bhattacharya. A real page-turner.