Saturday, 19 May 2012

Book Review: Murder in Amaravati

Murder in Amaravati - Penned by Sharath Komarraju. When I held the book in my hands and observed the impressive title and reddish cover page, a thought crossed simultaeneously as to how different and engaging is this book going to be? Would it be just another novel that I read in spite of its genre as a mysterious fiction? Any such fiction or the characters in it, as we know, would land in some sort of trouble and a hero identifying himself as a detective would emerge from nowhere, leading the case and solving it in a matter of time. I wondered to myself and questioned, "How would it distinguish itself from a flood of fictions available today? And how peculiar is its story going to be". While too many thoughts continued running in my mind, I noticed a moderen painting in front of my eyes. Yes, no surprise, it is the cover page. With Goddess Kali occupying the lower portion of the page, as you may see and an old iron lock with its key inserted showing up at the upper end while there are shots of blood everywhere around symbolizing the plot of the story, it was indeed a modern painting. Now I knew intutively, this is definitely going to amaze me!!

Here goes the theme and the important characters - Padmavati makes her living out of a profession that is the most looked down upon.. A village hostess. Amaravati, the village flourishes itself with the ever flowing, tranquille and refreshing river Krishna. Sitaraamaiah forms the headman of the village and is naturally an authoritative, demanding kind. There lies a huge tree protected respectfully by the inhabitants, underwhich the temple of Kali is constructed before ages. Krishna Sastri, the priest of this temple, is deeply religious, humbly unquestioning, trying incessantly to safeguard the principles of Hinduism. Any so-called sudra found in the temple premises is strictly unacceptable according to Hinduism and thus according to him, too. When his daugher elopes with a Harijan, he utters reasoning, "Permitting my daughter to marry a man of lower caste is never admittable, though I agree with loving everyone equally, which is a different case". And thus he chases his daugher out of his home, declaring her to be considered equivalent to dead, from then on. A rigourously religious person, he is. Also living in the village are Satyam and his wife Lakshmi, Shekar and Vaishnavi, his wife who play a vital role in the story. Kishore is the son of Sitaraamaiah who has a sister, once very lively, bound to a wheelchair ever since a tragic accident.

Once, the whole village gathers for a ceremony in the temple followed by a speech by the headman. The next morning, Padmavati is found dead at the pedastal, close to the feet of the Goddess. The crime is set. The suspense begins. Venkat Reddy, the village constable investigates such a case for the first time in his profession which makes him doubtful, confused and increasingly suspecting. He thinks wistfully if he would ever be considered a worthy detective. He opines, "Any crime results out of three - motive, means and opportunity". And here he sees seven suspects, seven motives and one murder. So how is the noose going to be released? The question persists perpetually, until the end of the book. Absolutely engaging one, in my opinion.

Every chapter impeccably holds your interest to identify the murderer as it beautifully navigates through the nature of the characters involved, the situations bringing about other situations as a chain and so on. To say it all in short, I didn't want to put the book down until I finished it. And I loved it so much that I wished it would never end! You become so immersed that you feel to be supposedly dwelling with these village-men in their village, admiring the Krishna as though you belong to this village! Taken to a new world, rather a village! Enigmatic story and its personalities to tie you up where you love getting fastened as you flip each page.

I loved it so much that I sat one whole day and finished reading it. And wait, I just couldn't help myself that I am going to read it again to have a second journey. The author, I should mention, has an excellent command over the language and how he describes the village, its inhabitants, the Krishna and the various twists in the story is praise-worthy. My best wishes to the author and expecting more from him ;) As such, I recommend that you make this book a part of your book-shelf and enjoy reading and re-reading it! Find yourself with the book and thus in a new isle for a cherishable reading experience.
[This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!]


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