Title: Murder In Seven Acts: Lalli Mysteries
Author: Kalpana Swaminathan
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Price: Rs 499
This one is supposed to belong to crime genre. As the series title, Lalli Mysteries suggests, Murder In Seven Acts is a mystery fiction in the style of desi Sherlock Holmes.
Kalpana Swaminathan has written several books in this series where Lalli is a professional detective who is hired by people to solve their problems. In this book, Lalli, with the help of her niece and an assistant, solves multiple issues and comes out with flying colours. She is old but strong and bold. Lalli is not a new name in Indian crime fiction.
The problems of people are mostly psychological. They are often her acquaintances. A neighbour, an uncle, a daily vendor can be seen as the characters. Since it is set up in Indian milieu, the characters are local, from our daily interactive circle. The stories are more human because of the Indian set up. The characters are intimate as they belong to our everyday conversations.
All the cases she solves have a little twist in them. Think beyond the problem just a little and the solution is right there. Like the Famous Five series, the bunch sets out to resolve a case and the knots keep untying themselves. Lalli takes an insight in the psychology of the character and solves the problem following the trail of their nature.
The book consists of small cases making it a collection of short stories. The title is also taken from one of the inside stories. The language that Kalpana Swaminathan uses in her stories is simple, clear and moving. There is very less of description and a lot of incidences. It makes the book a fast read.
The pace of the stories makes it easy to finish one case at once. One, because you want to know what happens next as things keep happening one after another. Two, because the juvenile spirit is kindled inside you to want to get through the end of the case as soon as possible. I remember the magazines my father used to buy for me while travelling across the country and I wanted to read all the stories at once.
The glossy, hardcover small book of 224 pages with a classic feel is interestingly used by Speaking Tiger making it a curious book to carry. Unfold the enthusiasm inside you with this quick page turner!