The word entertaining is often misused. It hides a whole world of fun. This word best describes Kiran Manral’s The Kitty Party Murder. It is an urban murder drama woven into the life of a regular ‘homemaker’ living in upmarket Mumbai. Manral offers a book that's urban yet connects with everyone. It is frivolous at times but not silly. And it is engaging in terms of the murder mystery.
Kanan Mehra, or Kay, is a married woman living in the posh part of Mumbai with her spouse and her son, Kabir, aka the brat. Kay lives the life of a quintessential urban woman that involves her attempt to lose weight and indulging in gossip with her building friend, Raji. She also ensures her house is run perfectly with the help of her live-in maid, Jamuna. She has taken a hiatus from work but wants to return. Life is humdrum with usual issues — losing weight and eating a bit more. The other side of Kay is her inquisitive nature and her earlier dealings with solving murder mysteries. She gets involved in a drama with her detective, friend Runa. The spouse, of course, gets infuriated. The latest are two mysteries running alongside. Her regular monsoon exercise of climbing the stairs leads her to mysterious screams.
The main focus is Flat 504. She is keen to know about those screams and the female resident suffering from psychological issues. The lady is also supposedly beaten by her husband. Runa, meanwhile, puts her on a case in which she needs to infiltrate a kitty party group. One of its previous members, Janhavi, had committed suicide. Her husband wants to investigate the reason. She penetrates the group via one of the members, Devayani. In between the two cases, a world of craziness ensues.
The world of Indian urban literature speaks the language of a fast-paced lifestyle and maintaining a work-life balance. When mixed with a mystery, it becomes a compelling read. Manral’s book is not a game-changer in the murder mystery genre. But It does tick all the boxes of being an entertaining read. Her ability to weave the mystery with Kay’s narration of her life and struggles with weight makes you connect with her.
The compact book doesn’t let you lose the plot. And Manral's humour brings chuckles. The Kitty Party Murder has all the necessary traps of being an appealing read. Picking it up for a weekend to relax and curled up in the bed would be the best option.
Title: The Kitty Party Murder
Author: Kiran Manral
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Price: Rs 299