Book: Bhrigu Mahesh, Return Of Damayanti
Author: Nisha Singh
Publication: Partridge Publications
Whenever I go to book stores, I invariably reach out to the mysteries and thriller section unless there is some super attractive history book that I was waiting for. Needless to say, crime fiction and thriller stories are my favorite genres for a leisure evening.
But the books that I have been reading in past few months were luke-warm as far as nail-biting thrill is concerned. I wasn’t really very sure whether I did the right thing by applying to review this book.
It turns out that I was wrong. Bhrigu Mahesh, the detective in “The Return Of Damayanti” by Nisha Singh reminded me of our very own Vyomkesh Bakshi or the Brit pair of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
A keen observer who analyzes every situation in detail, Bhrigu Mahesh is approached by a retired petrified clerk with a strange request. The poor clerk is at his wit’s end as he is scared of the ghost of his dead wife and he wants Bhrigu Mahesh to get rid of the ghost. Intrigued at this odd request, Bhrigu Mahesh drags his friend and confidant Sutte to the village of Krishnadwar. As is his habit he observes all the people closely related to the household of the clerk to zero in on the culprit who has been troubling Natraj Bhakti, the clerk.
As he contemplates, Natraj Bhakti’s sister is murdered and the story takes a sinister twist. Investigations lead Bhrigu Mahesh to the mastermind who for satisfying his weird experiment on human behavior has been manipulating unsuspecting people into doing out-of-ordinary acts that lead to eventually killing.
Though this is not a fast paced action story yet strangely the narration doesn’t bore you and you don’t feel like skipping anything. Story meanders through the lanes of the village and grows on you with little details hidden in the narration. Characteristics and habits of the people involved become evident subtly in the story. The friend of detective, Sutte, provides interesting breaks in the narrative by showing his annoyance about the village facilities and Bhrigu Mahesh’s habit of slipping into thoughts.
What I liked about the narration was that all the suspects of the ghost mystery and later of the murder are treated equally which keeps the reader guessing who the murderer was or who was troubling Natraj Bhakti with ghost activities. The culprits that emerge after complete investigations and deliberations of Bhrigu Mahesh are a surprise for the readers.
Even the title presents a mystery. Reader becomes curious to find who Damayanti is. While the reader is getting used to the idea of story revolving around a paranormal phenomenon, the sudden twist gives a new dimension to the story.
There could have been though more details of the house and village to complete the picture in the mystery. The house, the murder scene and the temple where the god-man instigated ordinary folk seem little less connected. Even the room which Nataraj Bhakti built for himself is described to be little away from the haunted room so I wondered how the clerk knew about ghost visits.
But in all the book is an engaging read. Readers who find thrillers interesting will enjoy this. Have a read.