Behind the Scenes by Sharmishtha Shenoy is the third installment of A Vikram Rana Mystery series. I have already read and reviewed the first book of the series – Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad. You can read my review of the same here. This book was a collection of two short detective stories and introduced me to Vikram Rana (the detective). In this first installment, I got my first impression of this sleuth and I gradually developed a liking towards him. I liked both the stories too but, at the same time, felt that something was missing. However, both the writing and the character of Vikram Rana left a good impression on me and I planned to read the upcoming books of this series. Sadly I missed my opportunity to read the second book featuring Vikram Rana, but my happiness knew no bounds when I got an opportunity to read and review the third book of the series. So, is this book better than the first one? My answer is a big yes. While with the first book of Vikram Rana series Sharmishtha Shenoy introduced herself as an upcoming author, with this book she has definitely established herself as a major new talent. I really liked the way she has developed herself as an author.
Behind the Scenes has everything a detective fiction should have. There is an intriguing murder mystery, a number of well-developed interesting characters, a number of clues, and, most importantly, a good plot. The story revolves around Ryan Gomez, a fading superstar of the Bengal film industry. He gets murdered during the shooting of a film in Darjeeling, a popular hill station town in India. Sheila Dhar, playing the female lead in the film, is the chief suspect because Ryan had recently broken his engagement with her. All the circumstantial pieces of evidence point the needle of suspicion towards her. However, she is not the only suspect. There are a number of other people who could have killed Ryan. Rustom (the producer of the film), Paddy (the director of the film) and Allen (the screenplay writer) also had a motive to kill Ryan. In addition, Sheila’s mother and Ryan’s first wife’s relatives are also under suspicion. Vikram Rana investigates this case with one Inspector Lobo. Their investigation forms rest of the story. Read the book if you want to know about the real culprit.
The story feels fresh and gives us an entertaining read. Sharmishtha manages to make all ends meet in the end and the story reaches to a logical solution. I cannot complain much about the characterisation either as all the characters have been developed with due care. The book has a little bit of history of potato too. So, to sum up, Sharmishtha Shenoy has come back in some style. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the further adventures of Vikram Rana in Behind the Scenes. It was certainly good to meet up with Vikram Rana one more time. In fact, I couldn’t wait to continue the series.
I will highly recommend this book. Go and read it.