Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mansuri, Macabre by Sudhir Thapliyal

Rating : 3/5
Read Between December 18th,2016 to December 21st,2016

Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page Count : 230
Publisher: Westland

First Sentence:
Why? Why is it that we find the mask of death repulsive?

Mansuri is a small hill town near Dehradun. The life is idyllic there. Every body knows every body. and crimes are virtually non-existent. So, when the sisters were found murdered in their kitchen, it was bound to shock the people. Pammi and Kamlesh had always been 'the sisters' for the townspeople. They had been living in the town since childhood. The town had witnessed all the ups and downs of their lives.

Now a sixty two year old writer had decided to find out  the reasons behind murder? Who would kill two lonely, innocuous, middle aged women? The writer investigated and got to the bottom of the mystery.

Why were the women killed? .How did the writer found out? Who murdered them?

You'll have to read the book to find this out.

'Mansuri,Macabre', the title was enough for me to buy this book. I came across it in Delhi book fair 2016(click on link to find out what other books i purchased there. The post is in hindi.). I had no idea who the author was and what were his other works. It was just that Mansuri reminded me of Mussoorrie and the book cover looked intriguing. I read the blurb and knew i had to read it some day. And now i'm glad that i got it.

Although the blurb tries to sell this book as a thriller so i should warn you at the beginning that it's not your run of the mill thriller. If you'll go into expecting that you'll get disappointed. Thankfully, i had purchased it September of this year and it was lying on my shelf since then. So when i took it out for reading i didn't had any idea what it was about. And i'm glad i entered the book without any expectation because i know that if i hadn't then it would have marred the experience.

The book is beautifully written. The events in the book happen in and around a small fictional hill town of Mansuri. Mansuri i think is modeled after Mussoorie. The book has succeeded in capturing the essence of small town and life there. I have lived in a small hill station and so i found Manusri and its residents very relatable.

Now, coming to the story. In the book the reader is told two stories parallelly.

We are told about the life of 'the sisters' (Kamlesh and Pappi). We are told how they came to be in Mansuri. How were their parents? What sort of life they led. Their trials, tribulations and what happened in their lives before they became the middle aged lonely women they were.

The other story that the reader is told is of three men from Calcutta who had good reasons to discard their past. These men choose the easiest way to do that by becoming sadhus. We are told their history and what paths they took to eventually become the god-man 'Bhagwanji', the 'moni baba' and the tantrik respectively. Through these men the reader sees the world of holy men and their followers. How some men do it to offer solace to the troubled conscience of others and other do it for the monetary gains and power.

The characters from these two stories meet in  Mansuri where the events occur which lead to the final act.

There were times especially when the second story began when i  felt that the author was digressing but then the events tied down neatly in the end so i didn't had much to complain  about.

The story is narrated by  a writer who lives in the town. He is the one who plays detective. Now since in a small town every one knows every one so the narrator has no problem in keeping abreast of the events as they unfold. He is friend of the investigating officer so is well aware of the course that the investigation took place and in his research found things that helped in documenting the events that lead to the murder. These events he places before the reader to convey his story. He does by narrating the event and by giving diary entries of some characters.  I liked that he uses these two devices to narrate the story. I got to know the personal thoughts of main characters through the diary entries which in turn made me more attached to the characters.  

I found the characters very realistic. The novel is captivating and held my interest till the end.

I liked the book and would definitely recommend it. I have already ordered another book the author and am hoping that would be as good as this one.

If you have read the book the do tell how did you like it? If you haven't and want to then you can get the book from the following link:
Paperback- Amazon
Kindle

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