Goodreads blurb: Debu Haldar is ready to grasp at anything that offers some excitement to his mundane life. One day, while at a multiplex, he finds a lost wallet. When he tries to return it, the owner disappears in front of him in a way that defies logical explanation.
Two days later, from a newspaper article and a business card found inside the wallet, he learns that the owner of the wallet is actually a fugitive from the law. More sinister facts emerge, and Debu gets a chance to fulfil one of his childhood ambitions – to get to the bottom of a devious crime. Only two people stand between him and his dream: a brutal psychopath with an extraordinary scheme, and a mild-mannered intellectual who is also trying to unravel the mystery before anyone else.
I am yet to read a novel in the crime thriller genre with a more lovable and memorable protagonist than Debabrata Haldar of The Magician who lost his wallet. With Debu, the author Gautam Acharya manages to tap into the latent desire of all his readers to become private investigators and unearth ghastly crimes and bring criminals to justice. I can unashamedly say that I have spent more than my fair share of teenage days and nights conjuring up mysteries and unexplained phenomena that needed resolution. And in those days, when the only network we had was the coterie of neighborhood aunties and the only broadband was that of the police constable’s belt, believe me, it were these ‘detective fantasies’ which kept me busy without causing too much mischief.
Just like the rest of us, Debu also tried his hand at being a private detective immediately after his studies but just like the rest of us, life, circumstances and destiny caught up with him and he had to settle down for a normal mundane life, just like the rest of us. And therefore, when he finds a lost wallet whose owner almost literally disappears in front of him, he immediately knows that this is one mystery he owed it to himself to solve.
However, what Debu didn’t quite account for or anticipate was that there was more to the situation that initially appeared. And when one thing led to another, he soon found himself embroiled in a mystery involving the disappearing man, his devious past activities, a broken marriage and more. As if these weren’t problematic enough, his neighbor Ritvik Sen always seemed to be a couple of steps ahead of him in coming up with theories and deductions regarding the missing man, and this enraged Debu who considered this mystery his own and nobody else’s.
In fact all the scenes involving Debu and Ritvik are so hilariously penned down that I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the author has probably mirrored Ritvik’s image on himself and Debu on that of his readers. At no point in the book does Debu manage to get the better of Ritvik, and the chapters involving both of them are nothing short of laugh-riots.
And one aspect of this book which really endeared it to me was the fact that although this was a crime thriller at the heart of it, the author didn’t restrict himself to the genre very strictly and managed to include more than a fair share of dark humor when it came to the characterization of Debu Haldar, his back stories, his circumstances, the settings he finds himself in and his journey from finding the wallet till the very end.
Given the size of this book and the easy language in which it is written, this proved to be quite a breezy read and I managed to finish the book in a course of 4 odd hours flat. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and click on one of these links to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link]. Yes, I will earn a small commission if you buy the books using these links, but your purchase price will remain the same as otherwise.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher, but the review above is unbiased and has not been influenced in any way.
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