Saturday, 11 October 2014

The case of the Chinese Mastermind - Book Review




The case of the Chinese Mastermind is welcome for unlike the hackneyed murder mysteries, it is about cracking a theft, that too of designs of a new mobile phone application.

 Two fourteen years old girls Kavya and Raima along with Kavya's 24 years old cousin Anna go to Pinky aunty's place which is a remotely located farm house. Pinky is Raima's aunt. Varun is of the same age as of Kavya and Raima. He is Pinky's son. Pinky is also hosting alumni of Oxford society. So we have a bunch of characters - a human rights lawyer, a scientist, an old Chinese education secretary and his wife, a young successful entrepreneur, a Tamilian couple and a professor. Plus there is an English speaking woman camouflaging as a maid servant and two rich lads driving Lamborghini – a sports car.


The book is written in first person, from Kavya's perspective. It attempts to be a young adult fiction. Unfortunately the same works against it. So the leg-pulling, cracking of jokes, references to classmates and teachers, even in serious situations hinder the flow of the story. It prevents the novel from becoming a racy thriller. Moreover even the character sketches of all those guests who have assembled do not come well. The name Chinese Mastermind and the dagger at the end of the every chapter are totally misleading. They could have been used better in the story except for passing references. The cover of the book is glossy and attractive. But it appears more to be a cover of a comics book. A more apt cover was required for a book like this. The first half is a punishment to read for the endless insipid descriptions and the burden of fitting into the tag of young adult fiction. The story picks up in the second half and gives satisfaction of reading a mystery novel to some extent. The lose end of Mr and Mrs Rameshwaran is not tied at the end.

Still I welcome the book for in India very few books are written with a specific object of catering to this segment of readers.


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