Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad by Sharmishtha Shenoy

a9ae8-vikramranaI received Vikram Rana Investigates: Tales of Murder and Deception in Hyderabad by Sharmishtha Shenoy as a review copy from the author.

The blurb:

Vikram Rana Murder Mysteries set in Hyderabad……

The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion

When the glamourous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves.

The Sonia Sinha Case

When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case? Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case. Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed.

The book:

Vikram Rana, in his late thirties, born and brought up in Hyderabad, is an ex-cop turned private investigator. He is well respected in the police force and is known for his sharp intellect and good investigative skills. Is dry sense of humour has made him extremely popular with his colleagues in the police force. He had been reporting to Inspector Reddy while he was in the police department in Hyderabad. He was transferred to Vizag and when he got homesick there, he left the police force and started his own detective agency. Inspector Gopi is also an important character in this book

This book consists of two episodes: The Mysterious Affair at the Lohia Mansion and the Sonia Sinha case. Vikram Rana is the chief investigator in both the high profile cases.

In the first story, Richa Lohia, the wife of Gaurav Lohia, the elder brother has a seizure and dies. The younger brother, Rohan Lohia, who is a friend of Vikram’s asks Vikram to investigate the case. There are many characters in the story who become suspects ant some time or other in the story.

In the second story, Krishna Mohan Dhavale, a land developer and successful businessman, who had become rich by land grabbing and then developing apartment complexes, multiplexes on the properties he commandeered is found murdered within 6 months of his business partner, Karuna Raju’s murder.

My take:

The language of the book is very simple and easy to understand. The stories are fast paced and the book is a quick read.  The stories are independent of each other and can be read individually. References to the first story in the second one could have been avoided but maybe the author has put them in to maintain continuity.

Both the stories kept me hooked because I really wanted to know ‘Who dunnit’ because whenever I felt that I had solved the mystery, a twist would come up. The stories have been well written and bring out the detective in the reader. There are a number of suspects in both the stories and the suspect changes from one character to the other till the main culprit is revealed at the end. Both the stories have been well wrapped up and the cases have been clinically worked up.

Vikram Rana’s character has been developed in a way that he will remain etched in the memory of the reader like our very own Karamchand or the international Remington Steele. The relationship between Inspector Gopi and Vikram Rana has been written well. The other characters in the episodes are relatable.

In the first story, it took me sometime to place the story in Hyderabad, because, somehow, I associate Lohias with Kolkata.

My favourite part in the book were Vikram’s insightful dreams.

One flaw: on page 115, the author has mentioned that within eight months of setting up his detective business, he gained fame by the Lohia case and four months later he is working on Sonia Sinha Case. In the epilogue of the first case, their daughter is born, and in the beginning of the second case, she has even started crawling.

This book is suitable for young adults also.



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