Sunday, 5 January 2014

Review: The All Bengali Crime Detectives by Suparna Chatterjee.

Book: The All Bengali Crime Detectives

Author: Suparna Chatterjee

Pages: 180

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Nothing much can be expected from the peaceful neighborhood of Kolkata where only middle-class families reside. However, the lives of four men change drastically when a sudden crime takes place in their neighborhood.

The All Bengali Crime Detectives by Suparna Chatterjee narrates the story of four misfit detectives who are hot on the trail of a criminal. The crime committed is not as straightforward as it seems. As the novel progresses, the four realize that something dangerous is going to occur if they do not catch the perpetrator on time.
The boring lives of these four retired men change completely when they follow the trail of the criminal in hopes of solving the crime before it is too late. Besides the crime, the novel also introduces the subplots of the fair Bengali girl about to be married off, the competition with the neighborhood clubs for the best Durga Puja pandal, and the problems created by a jobless Romeo-like figure.
General Thoughts: This was my first read of the year and I spent the first day of the year thinking hard about what my first read should be. I am a weird like that, I want to start the New Year with a new book. I took quite a risk starting with a book I knew very little about. A book that could be terrible and thereby begin my year on a sourpuss note!

Well, that didn't happen! This book was delightful! Simply put- it was sweet, heart-warming, funny and full of Bengali-ness. It made me smile and laugh out loud on several occasions. I absolutely loved it! And I cannot recommend it enough. I loved it so much that I had my sister stop reading the book she was mid-way through and read this instead. I am now going to send it to my Dad to read it. And I really wish some of you pick it up!

Review: A crime story set in quiet locality in South Calcutta, a host of sweet and well-meaning characters and lots of cute snippets about middle class Bengali life. The quiet neighbourhood in Golf Green is jolted out of its everyday, humdrum life when a huge diamond ring belonging to a wealthy neighbour goes missing after a party. All the elderly gentlemen of the neighbourhood present at the party are most shaken and a few of them, led by a newly retired High Court judge- Akhil Banerjee, decide to carry own their own covert investigation and unearth the culprit.

So, we have these four retired men- Akhil Banerjee, Bibhuti Bose, Chandan Mukherjee and Debdas Guha Roy, all of who are going through an identity crisis of sorts because they no longer feel useful or relevant after their retirement. They are reduced to running errands for their wives and being sidelined and poked fun at by the younger men of the locality. The robbery of the diamond ring gives them a reason to feel relevant and needed.

While the crime is simple enough and I am sure, just like me, several others will be able to make a pretty accurate guess about what really happened, but the way in which the story unfolds and the couple of other sub-plots more than make up for the simplicity of the crime.

The author also captures the rhythms of everyday Bengali life really well.The sub-plots about the paara Pujo, Potlu's crush on Piya (Debdas' daughter), the boys who come to "see" Piya for matrimonial purposes are all so fun to read about.

The characters are extremely endearing and so very real. Their reactions to the rapidly changing world, their gentleness and their chutzpah are so lovely to read about. I really hope there is a second book with these characters.

Will you like it?: If you like reading about sweet characters and charming people, then you will love this book.

Rating: 5/5 because this book made me really happy and so nostalgic! It was like being in Calcutta all over again. 


sue said...

Glad you enjoyed the book :) Book 2 is out: The Mysterious death of Probhat Sanyal.

Pooja T said...

OH how lovely! I'll be sure to check it out soon! I adored the first book! All the best for your new release! :)