Book: Murder in Amaravati
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Reviewed By: Manas Mukul
I really feel excited and want to thank BlogAdda for giving me an opportunity to review Sharath Komarraju’s – ‘Murder in Amaravati’.I always believe that being a critic is a very tough job.
You write well about a BAD book and the readers would hate you.
You write bad about a BAD book and the author would hate you.
You write bad about a GOOD book and everyone would hate you!!!
Eh!! That seems to be a mind twister… Isn’t it? No worries you are most welcome to read the above three lines again. <Smiles>. Nevertheless, my idea of writing a book review is to be true to myself, to the author and above all to the readers.
The first three things that you notice as soon as you pick up the book are; the cover is nicely done with the picture of ‘Maa Kali’ and ‘a lock with a key’ and the title, ‘Murder in Amaravati’. The writer, Sharath Komarraju, has an IT background and unlike the recent parade of IITians, IIM grads and other IT professionals who have suddenly felt an urge to write and write, but nothing other than their autobiographical kind of love stories. Sharath tries an attempt at a Murder Mystery as his first novel and I guess that was my reason for choosing this book.
The story is plotted in and around Amaravati on the banks of river Krishna. It starts with Krishna Shastri, the priest of the temple discovering the dead body of the ever-so-hated hostess of the village, Padmavati, at the feet of Maa Kali. The news spreads and everyone gathers including the ‘hero’ of the novel, Venkat Reddy, who is a head constable at the police station, situated 15 kms from the village. To begin with, everyone thought that she has a committed suicide and it will be an easy wrap up for the police too but in the doctor’s report it was mentioned that she died because of drowning in ‘fresh water’. Venkat Reddy found it fishy when he compared the post mortem report with the spot at which the dead body was recovered. If she died of drowning, how did her body reach the temple and hence treated death as a murder and took it upon himself to investigate the case. Venkat Reddy constantly reminded himself that he had never even solved a petty crime case, how will he carry out this one but he never lets this thought come in his way all throughout the investigation. Krishna Shastri, the priest provides more than a helping hand to the head constable in solving the murder mystery.
The story moves around seven main characters only; Seetaraamaiah, Satyam, Lakshmi, Shekhar, Vaishnavi, Kishore and Indira with some small characters who make little contribution. Seetaraamaiah is the sarpanch of the village and one of the main suspects in this case as he was in love with Padmavati, the victim, and was about to marry her. Satyam is the postmaster of the village and is one of the prime suspects. Lakshmi is Satyam’s wife. Shekhar is a half paralysed guy (he was paralysed from – under the belly) and has key involvements in the case. Vaishnavi is Shekhar’s wife. Kishore is the son of sarpanch who is always found to take care of his sister, Indira as she is depicted as nearly dead with only her left eye moving in the whole body because of an accident she met. Venkat investigates and with the help of the priest, comes to a conclusion about the murderer after going through all the circumstances and evidence. Seven people with seven motives…Do they have the means and opportunity too??? He finally gets hold of the murderer or does he??? I’ll suggest read the book to know the fantastic end with the breath-taking twist to it.
There are lots of positives in the book at least it seemed to me. The author has made a great attempt with this murder mystery as his first novel. The book has about 200 pages with very common diction which makes it a fast read for someone like me too who doesn’t have a great hold of the language. I simply hate when, while reading you require a dictionary on every other page of the book. Even if ‘Murder in Amaravati’ has such words, Sharath has made it sure that by the feel of the sentence you will know what the word wants to convey. I must congratulate Sharath with the way he has given thought to every minute detail in the book. In the initial chapters you will find how in his own way he has introduced each and every character along with moving the story forward. Otherwise it might have come across as a drag. Everyone who has been to a village ever in his/her lifetime will be to connect to the book and relate to the characters and those who haven’t been to village ever would get an experience of how the village life is. He has also kept basic elements of a murder mystery very nicely intact all throughout as Venkat Reddy, the hero always reminds himself that he is alone in this investigation and he cannot trust on anyone. In fact the author makes sure that the reader gets a chance to think and puts his thinking cap on. The elements like motive, means and opportunity which are an integral part of solving a murder mystery are also taken care of.
Along with many positives there are a few negatives too. Like, if you are looking for a book with a great vocabulary, you might end up getting disappointed. Because of the same reason and the setting in the book and the characters it will not appeal to a great deal to an international audience.
I guess I have written enough. I can play a spoilsport but would like to help Sharath and will ask you to grab a copy of ‘Murder in Amaravati’ and read this good debut effort which has a nice plot along with an awesome ending. It gets a ‘Thumbs Up’ from me and I won’t be surprised if it becomes the next best seller.
MANAS ‘SAMEER’ MUKUL