October 12, 2016

Book Review: Panda Investigates- Two and a Half Murders by Rohit Panda


Author: Rohit Panda
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing (Frog Books)
Rating: 2.5/5

‘As long as greed is stronger than compassion, there will always be suffering.’
-Rusty Eric

It is impossible to argue the toss with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable. With time, the dark side of human nature has evolved much and has given rise to barefaced liars. Panda investigates is a murder mystery that portrays the emotional detachments within a family. The book is full of characters that are crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

Sharadi and Aditya have married against the wishes of the parents. A doting, yet possessive wife is what Sharadi is known as. But Aditya is not less; his love for his wife cannot be measured. Khushboo and Veena are Sharadi’s siblings. What otherwise should have been a happy story, turns out to be a story full of malice, avarice and deceit. Two murders take place- one of Bankim (Sharadi’s father) and the second one of Sharadi herself. The criminal leaves behind no tracks. Ronsher (the detective) is sure of one thing that the mastermind behind both the murders could not have succeeded without being in cahoots with someone else. But is finding the murderer that easy? Well, for Ronsher it is because the’ Nail Polish’ colour is what determines who is guilty (sarcasm).

The characters of Sharadi and Aditya have been portrayed finely but more details about Kalpana, Khushboo and Veena could have been better. I despised the title; it spoils the mystery. If ‘Two and a half murders’ was printed in BOLD in the center, it would have served the purpose. The punchline best suits the title when it is placed correctly. But alas! The cover, too, completely failed to excite the curious mind.

Secondly, I did not like the organization of the plot. Since the author disclosed the whole mystery in Chapter number 21, I felt stuck in the time wrap, having thrown away my time for practically nothing. A good mystery is when the secrets/ twists are peeled off layer- by- layer, not together but when least expected.

Another drawback is the frequent use of incomplete sentences; this breaks the flow. The author, no doubt, has a thinking mind and can do wonders, but had a little attention been paid on the order of events in the story, the tale would have been a blockbuster.

Overall, ‘Panda investigates’ is a book that can be picked up when in mood to read simple language and light mystery.

Best Wishes!

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Review copy: courtesy Leadstart Publishing

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