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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Return of Damayanti

Nisha Singh’s The Return of Damayanti is second book in the series featuring detective Bhrigu Mahesh and his friends Sutte.

Bhrigu Mahesh was once a police man. Now he is a private detective. Nataraj Bhakti is a retired clerk. He is haunted by the spirit of his dead wife. He seeks Bhrigu’s help. As Bhrigu investigates, the mystery deepens and takes a sinister turn. A woman is brutally murdered. Bhrigu has to find the killer or he will continue with his killing spree. 

So Bhrigu and Sutte storm into Bhakti’s house where there are numerous other colourful characters. Bhakti brother Chiranjeev, sister-in-law Premkala too pack away amongst the suspects. Then there is Savita, Bhakti’s younder sister. His eldest sister has breathed her last and her teenager son resides in the same house, in the village with a heavy name Krishna Dwar. Bhakti has announced a prize for hunting his wife’s killers. The police inspector is more interested in the prize and hence passes the information which he has gathered to Bhrigu, of course on the condition that the booty would be shared between the two. So who is the killer or is it really the ghost of his wife.

Though The Return of Damayanti is a part of the Bhrigu Mahesh Phd series, one can easily read this book without reading the first installment. It is a standalone novel. Also the author has paved for a sequel. She has tried to build a brand Bhrigu and Sutte. The Return of Damayanti falls into three parts. The first part wastes lot of ink in building the characters and the plot. Action steams in the second part, where thinks begin to move forward albeit they crawl and not run. The third part slowly unravels the culprit and his motives. There are enough twists and turns in this part, but by the time you reach there you are utterly enervated.

The author has come up with a flash file in the end of the book, where Bhrigu solves a nano case in a jiffy. Interesting way to hook the readers for sure.

Like most of the suspense novels The Return of Damayanti tracks on the hackneyed path. Even that would not have been a problem if it paced well. But it scrambles to reach the climax. The language is the biggest hindrance for the reader. Being too verbose it simply doesn’t click with the readers. It hurts because The Return of Damayanti has a soul, but it is crushed under too many descriptions and faces the pressure to fit into the format of other legendary sleuths. The authors tells a lot but shows very little.

The Return of Damayanti is like a bhel, which despite generous amounts of the right ingredients just doesn’t taste right. The writing is insipid and the story moves slow. But as they say pulp fiction is never out of fashion, even if ridden with cliches, not to forget the sidekick of the detective. So mystery fans may lap this book up. 

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