Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad by Sharmishtha Shenoy is a collection of two cozy murder mysteries. With tightly structured plots, both the stories keep you hooked till the end. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that both the stories have all the ingredients that a good murder mystery should have. The readers will find a couple of intriguing homicides with a number of suspects. There is Vikram Rana (the detective) to solve these cases. The needle of suspicions move from one character to the other and the main culprit is revealed at the end. I also find the ending in both the cases reasonable and satisfactory. While these endings will not leave you in a state of shock, you will definitely not get disappointed. Though I liked both the stories, the second one (The Sonia Sinha Case) impressed me more than the first one (The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion).
Building a captivating and suspenseful plot plays a very important role in the overall success of murder mysteries and I am happy to say that Sharmishtha Shenoy has given enough attention on this aspect. The stories will not only grip you, but will also create an environment of excitement in your mind. These stories are like little puzzles and certainly a pleasure to read.
The book throws a wonderful cast of colorful characters at your disposal and a number of these characters have been sketched well. Vikram Rana, the main protagonist of this book, is the life-line of this book. He is a charming and attractive young detective and certainly leaves an impression on you. Being the first book featuring Vikram Rana, you get your first impression of this sleuth. You come to know about his character and, slowly but steadily, you start to develop a liking towards him. At the same time, I would have loved to see some sort of idiosyncrasy or quirkiness associated with his character. This, according to me, would have added an extra charm to his character. Inspector Gopi is another important character in this book and plays an important role in both the investigations. Inspector Gopi’s relationship with Vikram Rana has been depicted well. However, what I liked most in this book is the chemistry between Vikram Rana and his wife. It has been skillfully portrayed and quite often brings a smile on your face.
The language in the book is simple but effective. The author has avoided the use of complicated words. The cover of the book is great but the blurb could certainly have been better. The book is a small one and the pace of the stories is such that you can finish it in one sitting. I noticed repetition of some of the scenes in the book and this could have been avoided.
On the whole, the book is a delightful read. The book certainly impresses you on several fronts and I will be waiting for a full-length novel featuring Vikram Rana. Go for it if you love to read murder mysteries.