The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen – Salil Desai – Book Review

TheMurderOfSoniaRaikkonenGoodreads blurb: Late one November night, the mutilated corpse of a young Finnish tourist is found in a public garden in Pune. It looks like a case of brutal rape and murder, but Senior Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar find themselves probing further….delving deeper.

Standing virtually clueless, except for a single white sandal found on the scene of the crime, the policemen duo start looking for suspects.

Things get murkier when Saralkar’s old friend and colleague, Inspector Patange, seeks his help to establish the identity of another murder victim – an old man found by a wooded hillside on the outskirts of Pune. Not only do the old man’s injuries match the wounds inflicted on the Finnish girl, but he is also found wearing the other white sandal.

As Saralkar and Motkar struggle to find the link that connects the two murders, nothing is what it seems….The emerging truth seems far more dangerous and the motive far more bizarre!

Who murdered Sonia , and why? The truth will chill you to the bone!


Regular readers of the blog would have read my review of the first book in the Inspector Saralkar series – Killing Ashish Karve [Link to review], a book I thoroughly enjoyed and which heralded the arrival of yet another protagonist in the crime thriller genre which all readers could easily relate to and rely upon to nab the culprit and bring him to justice. The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen is Salil Desai’s second book in this series and at the outset let me confess, this book only serves to improve Inspector Saralkar’s already high standing in readers’ minds.

As the blurb states, the action begins when young Finnish national Sonia Raikkonen’s grossly mutilated body is found in a public garden with imminent signs of rape as well. This puts the duo of Saralkar and his deputy Motkar on the trail of the killer with just a single white leather sandal left behind as the only clue. Laced with his trademark and no-nonsense methodical approach to the crime, Saralkar manages to infuriate Motkar on numerous occasions with this ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humor and the playful banter between the duo adds to the overall charm that the author has with this series.

What I really liked about this book is that while it developed on the much loved characters from the first book in the series, it does so in an extremely unobtrusive and inconspicuous manner which doesn’t hamper the flow of the murder investigation itself. In fact, on more than one occasion, readers will find themselves being able to guess Saralkar’s and Motkar’s next moves and their approach to solving the murder mystery; that’s how well we are able to read these characters and their motivations. That’s how well fleshed out these characters are.

This book, like its predecessor, is once again quite strong in the police procedural aspect of the crime itself and once again stands out as quite the path-breaker in this regard. The author leaves behind his stamp quite clearly as someone who knows and understands the nitty-gritties and the humdrum everyday life of policemen, while ensuring that he manages to deliver an interesting and relatively fast paced murder mystery novel at the same time.

As stated earlier, this book only serves to enhance Inspector Saralkar’s already good reputation as a crime solver par excellence and is a good addition to the murder mystery genre of books written by Indian authors.

Click here to purchase the book from Amazon [Link].


Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Killing Ashish Karve – Salil Desai – Book Review


Goodreads blurb: Senior Inspector Saralkar is back at his desk after spending a rather annoying week at a Secrets of Living course, especially for police officers and he is itching for some action now. Luckily, an exciting new case turns up right away!

The body of Ashish Karve, a local businessman has been found in the back seat of his car. To PSI Motkar, Saralkar’s diminutive assistant, it seems to be a straightforward case of suicide. But Saralkar’s sharp mind is agog with the dark possibility of murder. As the case unfolds Saralkar finds enough motives for people, be it Ashish’s business partner, his wife, his brother, his friend, his brother-in-law or even strangers to want to do away with him! Is the senior inspector becoming too fanciful in his imagination or is he on the right track in assuming that Ashish was killed?

Delve into this deliciously thrilling whodunit and walk along with Senior Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar as they set out to sift the truth from lies and half truths.


As the blurb states, at the outset, there is nothing quite remarkable about how Ashish Karve is found dead in the backseat of his car. It seemed like quite an open-shut case where he has slashed his wrists and bled to death. But something about the entire scene prompts Senior Inspector Saralkar to doubt the possibility of murder and he takes along a skeptical partner in his subordinate Inspector Motkar on a journey of discovering the truth behind Ashish Karve’s death.

Pretty soon the duo find themselves embroiled in a myriad web of characters involving friends, families and people from the victim’s past who might have had a motive to kill him. As if things weren’t bad enough, some of the alibis of the people they interview also doesn’t hold up and they end up with a multiplicity of choices in terms of possible suspects and their motives for the crime. What promised to be a relatively simple case turns out to be quite the headache for the investigating team of Saralkar and Motkar.

To make things even more interesting and complicated, one of the people involved with this case gets murdered and it is quite obvious that it was due to the connection to the Karve case. This spurs the duo into frenzied action which culminates in a climax where all loose ends are tied up, the perpetrator identified and brought to justice.

What really worked well for me in this book was the detailing that the author Salil Desai paid to the policing procedural. This probably was the first murder mystery I have read where the nitty-gritty’s of policing are explained in great detail and readers will truly appreciate the mundaneness and  ordinariness of the entire investigation procedure followed by police personnel during the investigation of a crime.

Another aspect of the book that worked really well for me was the odd yet unique pairing of Saralkar and Motkar. While the superior officer is clearly well within his elements during the investigative process, the dynamics he enjoys with his subordinate and the mostly meek Motkar and the chemistry between them is quite enjoyable. The author also takes small strategic segues into the personal lives of both of them, more Motkar than Saralkar, and this helps readers appreciate and relate to them a little more and understand their thought processes a little more. Given that this is the first book of a planned trilogy, these attempts will go a long way in cementing these characters in the readers’ psyche.

In summary, do read this book if you are fan of the crime thriller genre and more so if you like well researched police procedurals.

So, what are you waiting for, go ahead and click on either of these links to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publicist of Fingerprint books to be reviewed, but my review is completely honest and unbiased and was in no way influenced by the publisher or the publicist.

Disclaimer: Yes, I will earn a small commission if you purchase the books by clicking on either of the links above, but it will not make any difference to your purchase price.


Name Killing Ashish Karve
Author/s Salil Desai
Publisher Fingerprint Publishing
Year published 2014
ISBN 13 9788172345310
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Flipkart
Amazon link Amazon