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.