No Illusions in Xanadu: A wannabe murder mystery

Book: No Illusions in Xanadu

Author: Ruby Gupta

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Pages: 242; Price: Rs 325

No Illusions in Xanadu is a knock-off of every wannabe thriller show you could find. The book follows no one in particular, but narrates an incident that takes place and the history and ambitions of the people around it.Rajvir, a Bollywood superstar is found dead. While the whole country mourns his death, his family thank and think about their future.

However, the mystery of his death and the possibility of the murderer living in Xanadu makes them reminiscence about their past and hatred towards Rajvir. The author purposefully drags the readers away from the crime for a random professor that we know nothing who solves the murder and gives away details of the crime in the last few pages of the book.

The last chapter is a dialogue between the professor and an another random character about how he solved the case without doing any groundwork — it is actually his former students that help him gather data like birth records, DNA information and other things. Characters are dropped in and out of the story like flies, who add no weightage to the plot.

We have more than seven characters having monologues of their own, with only two (the professor and the researcher) interacting with each other. And this interaction that reveals certain details of the crime with the readers.It also seems as if the characters have no individual personalities and have been created from one mould.

The story feels like a screenplay which is filled with unrealistic dialogues. The murder which is at the centre of the story seems rather outstretched and bizarre like most of the plot. By the end of the book the reader is simply interested in knowing who the killer is—a revelation which should have added thrill to the climax but turns out to be a dud the way it is shared. The book lacks thrill that you would expect from a murder mystery.

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Free Press Journal