Vikram Rana is the heart and soul of this book and he set my heart aflutter. He is an ex-cop but he is the kind I would root for, support and want on my side. The story is well knit and kept me guessing about the real murderers.
The author, Sharmishtha has woven a story of many layers and kept me guessing of the motives of many characters until the end of the stories. I cannot decide which of the two I liked better. While the Lohia Mansion was more obvious kind with the murder of the wife, the Sonia Singh case had so many possible killers that I had pinned the murder on many people before the real killer was found.
The mysteries reminded me of our lives and times as the stories could be breaking news and that connection is what makes them so relatable. The fact that these murders do actually happen and how Vikram solves them. In many cases in real life, a detective/cop like Vikram in real life would be a boon, bringing closure to many.
The handsome, dedicated cop who has just started his business is very well etched by the author. I liked the fact that he is growing with each story – a bit too fast sometimes as his personal life unfolds. Vikram is who keeps the pace of the book, his personality, quirks and his love for chai! Yes, I would love to share a cup of tea with him!
The story, The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion does have a couple of typical clichés in the stories like blaming the wrong guy or the indifferent relative but I cannot say more for that would give away the suspense. The life and times of the rich and famous are well etched and add to the story.
The Sonia Sinha Case is a story that had so many possible killers that I was guessing until the end, the author has managed to show so many evil sides to humans in this story. The killer might kill for any reason but to show that we all can have a reason to kill is remarkable indeed.
I enjoyed the way the author described the various minor characters, interesting and gave a peek into Vikram’s mind. His thoughts add to the fun of reading the mystery and learning about the many layers in various characters.
“She spoke as if she were in a temple and looked like she should have been one of the lingerie models in Victoria’s Secret shows.”
The titles of the chapters were very simple, a more interesting name for them will add to the suspense of the story.
“A Meeting with the Suranas and Dr Shetty”
“Mrs Kamini Dhavala”
I think the author might have a reason for keeping the titles as per the names of the characters being investigated and it works in keeping us in the story. I feel that since it is a murder mystery and a title that leaves little doubt where the story is going is too obvious so maybe a little mystique in the titles is needed.
The time between the first story and the second one is more than a few months, a little bit about the smaller, low-profile cases Vikram handles in the meanwhile can be explored for the sake of continuity. The ending of some chapters and the beginning have the same scene being repeated, this can be avoided. Like the messy bedroom scene of the murder or the fact that Vikram and Gopi are driving to a specific place. This is for the sake of continuity but can be mentioned differently.
Vikram Rana and his life are shared in the book, it is not just about catching a killer but learning about Vikram too. The humane side is well explored by the author. His personality quirks and his weaknesses that made him just like us and no super human. The relationship with his wife Veena, the interaction with other officers and the support of Inspector Gopi make this a story that pleased me on many levels.
I am glad I found this book because I am going to follow all investigations by Vikram Rana now. Sharmishtha calmly pulled me into the world of deceit and murder, making me think of every person as evil and then surprised me with the real killer. A perfect weekend read with the two stand alone stories that are complete entertainers. And yes, you will fall for Vikram too! 😉
[Review was commissioned by the author. Views are my own.]
Vikram Rana Investigates are Murder Mysteries is set in Hyderabad.
The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion
When the glamorous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and most powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves.
The Sonia Sinha Case
When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case?
Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case.
Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed.