Here I sit in front of the screen, wondering how to pen down my thoughts. My eyes are tired, and heart heavy. Is it only the response to the novel that I just finished? or my personal feelings that are clouding my judgements? Well, whatever the reason behind my state, I know what I just read is definitely a part of the reason.
I know none of us read mystery novels to feel sad or emotionally raw. We read them because we are looking for suspense, thrill of a chase and the inevitable end where Good wins over Bad. That’s what I was hoping when I picked up "Happily Murdered..." If only I knew what I was getting myself into.
My review is biased. My heart is in a place where everything is a rose tinted...not of the rosy glow of the happy kind, but the red hue of the bruised kind. So, yes... my review is going to be biased. I will try to stick to the logical part of the brain rather than the emotional one... no guarantees though
First up.... I would like to Congratulate Rasleen Syal on her début novel. If this novel is any indication, we just found a brilliant author to the genre of thrillers and suspense. She is a self-professed fan of Agatha Christie and dedicates her first debut novel to the influences Ms. Christie has had on herself. And for what my words are worth… she does justice to the dedication. There is fluidity in Rasleen's work that hooks you from the first page on. You see her love for her family, and pride she has for them in those odd two pages. I wish her all the luck for her next project, coz this one is sure-shot winner and doesn't really need my encouragement... it WILL be a success.
Second... A word of caution to Rasleen's husband... with the fame this book is going to gain, I can guarantee you that you will have a detective duo in your house...your wife and the little daughter of yours... J
Now, to the novel.
Its GOOD. It has everything you want to have in a suspense thriller and it has something more. It has a sense of belonging. I know it doesn't make sense when I say this. but when you read it, you will understand what I mean. the novel somehow becomes very personal, like you are a part of it. The easy flow of words, and no nonsense practical language, Rasleen's brilliant way of portraying her characters and the settings in which they exist makes the not only believable but also very identifiable. In life, you would inevitably would have met, a Gulab, Sid, Vikram, Ned or Sara... they are examples of everyday people, real, believable, relate-able. The girl who pines away for a Casanova, The Casanova who is busy chasing girls, The glutton who wants to be appreciated by his father, and the ones who are desperately in love with the wrong one... Add to that family pressure, intricate interdependent relations, a matriarch who still wields power, a relative desperately trying to hide an addiction... and then there is the twist of the newly-wed bride's death.
There are people in this mix of characters that don't like each other but are bound to each other, by blood or by relation... they can't stand the other but can't leave either. There are those who love and try desperately to not show it. Some who don't even realize they love. Despite this being a murder mystery, the central theme of the novel is undoubtedly LOVE. and to summarizes the novel in one word... I would repeat what I told my best friend when he asked me how it was. ... "She writes Good"
If you are looking for a fresh, engaging and slightly different murder mystery... gives "Happily Murdered..." a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised.