Goodreads blurb: Who killed Gulab Sarin?
The radiant new daughter-in-law of the influential Mehta family dies mysteriously on the very next night of her wedding. The murder is an inside job, the police are certain. It could be anyone, the adulterous husband, conniving in-laws, jealous friend and the love struck ex-fiance. With an aim to save themselves and incriminate others, it is not long before these suspects turn into amateur detectives, hunting for clues and delving into hidden secrets only they can unearth. They coerce, pry and blackmail in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Will one of these nine unlikely sleuths finally unravel the mystery behind Gulab’s death and avenge it? Or will the truth die as viciously as Gulab?
When Rasleen Syal (@Mystery_Addict) approached me to review her debut novel “Happily Murdered” I immediately jumped at the opportunity as one of my friends and awesome blogger Seeta (The Write Side) had just published a review of the book in which she had recommended the book to anybody who likes a well written murder thriller, and knowing Seeta’s taste in books I had immediately added the book to my To Read list, and as if by divine providence, Rasleen saw my comment on Seeta’s review and immediately contacted me to read and review the book. So, here goes.
The book begins when Gulab Sarin is found murdered on her wedding night and the finger of suspicion points not only at one or two but towards almost all the inhabitants of the Mehta household, the family into which Gulab is married into. Almost all the family members have a ‘bone to pick’ and a valid enough motive to have committed the crime and none of them are above suspicion.
The nine members who were present at the crime scene on the night of the event take it upon themselves to conduct their own preliminary amateur investigations to try and find who killed Gulab. And given that almost everybody who was at the crime scene that night has one or more motives to have killed Gulab and each one suspected the other of having committed the crime meant that there was more than enough friction to create quite a volatile atmosphere in the house.
The author masterfully takes us through the next fourteen days in the household where each member’s relationship with the victim, the dynamics of the same, their history with Gulab and ultimately the reasons for them for being a possible suspect are slowly introduced to the readers. By the time all the characters are introduced and their back stories told, what emerges is a moderately complex web of familial and business relationships and a reasonably colorful past story of Gulab where more than a few characters have strong enough motives to have killed her.
Who killed Gulab Sarin and how is something that I obviously am not going to reveal in this review. But suffice to say that the ending is good enough to warrant the reading of the book itself.
Where the author scores high is the fact that she has taken the Agatha Christie template (that of a family setting, where every member is a suspect and has valid enough motives to have committed the crime) and successfully managed to make it her own with the Mehta and Dulla family saga and the critical role that Gulab Sarin plays in the same. The story begins with the crime itself and ends cleanly with no loose ends left, and that to me is the signature style of an author who knows her craft and also knows how to successfully translate that into action in the form of a novel, a murder mystery no less.
One small gripe I have with this book is that one character who is practically the first that the author introduces to us seems interesting enough, but is soon forgotten and reduced to small mentions in the rest of the book. Was that deliberate or an oversight, we will never know. Having said that, this character does not impede the flow of the narrative in any form or fashion.
Do read this book if you are a fan of well written crime thrillers. What’s more, this book is firmly set in an Indian milieu and that to me is the icing on the cake. So, what are you waiting for, click on the links below to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or from Amazon [Link], whatever fancies you.
Disclaimer: Although this is an ‘author commissioned’ review, all the views presented above are my own and have in no way been influenced by the author.
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