Lethal Spice by Swati Kaushal

I receivedImage Lethal Spice by Swati Kaushal as a review copy from Hachette India. Thank you so much Shobita, for sending me such a wonderful book. This book is the story of six contestants, three judges and the team of a cookery show and involves a murder/ homicide and the police.

The blurb:

A hundred-year-old stage steeped in tradition.

Six contestants with a world to gain and everything to lose.

Three judges who stand between them and their dreams.

It is October in Shimla. The air is crisp, the mist is rising and the stakes are sky-high as the finalists of India’s No. 1 reality cooking show, Hot Chef, are pitted against each other in a live shoot at the historic Gaiety Theater.

The spices are ground, the fires are lit, the knives have been sharpened… Then things start to go horribly wrong.

As she picks her way through a maze of testimonies and motives, Shimla’s Superintendent of Police, Niki Marwah, is more determined than ever to get to the bottom of a perplexing mystery–a mystery that this time around is dangerously close to her heart.

The story:

14th October 2012, Hot Chef, India’s No 1 reality cooking show is being shot in Shimla, the first ever shoot with a live audience with six contestants from varied backgrounds and three judges. The contestants are Pallavi Aanand, the talented granddaughter of multi-crore Aanand Group of Resorts and Hotels; Leena Dixit, who gave up her seat in an Engineering college to look after her invalid father and siblings; Vicky Gulati, son of doctor parents, a boarding school reprobate, medical –college dropout, self-taught guitarist and amateur chef; Shaqeel Khan, Shaq, had worked his way up in the world, waiting tables in Lucknow’s dhabas to running kitchens at the Gurgaon Taj; Sharon Sen, an avant-garde painter, was the controversial dare-all, bare-all contestant and Dev Nair, son of a family who owned a jewellery store, rejected fifty eight timed in various reality shows. Rajat Tripathi is the host of the show and the judges are Mala Joseph, the winner of the first Hot Chef; Kemaal Kapoor, KK, of Kemaal’s Kebabs and Ashika De, an actress, guest judge for the current episode. SP Niki Marwah gets a call about a poison-gas attack at the Gaiety Theatre and announces that it is a Code Red situation only to find that there is one casualty who died not of inhaling poisonous gas, but ingesting cyanide.

The victim is Mala Joseph, who died on the stage, is it a suicide or a homicide???

The book has been divided into three parts and the mystery moves from Shimla to Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai and then Goa with the contestants. Niki Marwah and her team are investigating.

My take:

The story is fast paced and kept me glued to the book till I finished it. once I was convinced, it was a suicide, the plot would suddenly move towards murder and vice versa.  A very well-written book with well-developed characters. The author has deeply researched the topic. I enjoyed the book a lot and would recommend it to readers who love thrillers.

Book Source: Review copy from Publisher

Publisher: Hachette India

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