Monday, 30 July 2018

Book Review: The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Book: The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira 

Author: Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Pages: 215 

Publisher: Hachette India 

Read On: Paperback 

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day (I could not put it down)

Plot Summary: The waves still crashed against the rocks.

The moon still bathed the sandy beach with its light.
And the piano still played on.
But, amidst all this, just like that, Sally Sequeira had disappeared.

With its pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters, the picturesque hamlet of Movim in Goa seems like the perfect holiday spot for detective Janardan Maity and his friend Prakash Ray. But when the father of a local teenage girl receives a letter asking for a large sum of money in exchange for his daughter, Maity and Prakash find themselves in the thick of an unlikely mystery. For, they discover, the girl has not been kidnapped at all, and is safe and sound in her house. 

As they begin to investigate, the duo encounter the mysterious characters who inhabit the tiny village, each hiding a secret of their own – not least the frail and shy Sally Sequeira, who keeps to herself but steps out at night to dance to the notes of a piano.

What truth does Movim hide? And how will Janardan Maity solve a crime that has not yet been committed?

General Thoughts: We, my sister and I, both discovered Bhaskar Chattopadhyay's books in 2017 and read all three of his books. We loved two out of three and when we saw that the new Maity-Ray book was out we knew it was time to read it!  Other books we've read and reviewed by the author- Penumbra,  Patang and Here Falls the Shadow

Thank-you, to folks over at Hachette India for sending me a review copy .
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Things I Liked: 

1. Like Chattopadhyay's Penumbra and Here Falls the Shadow, this book is also very rich in atmosphere and beautiful details about the idyllic village of Movim and its various residents. The author does a great job of bringing this tiny Goan hamlet to life and pulls you into the world of Movim and some of its residents. 

2. I liked how the events leading up to the actual crime were constructed. A ransom note delivered but no kidnapping and then someone completely different and unexpected gets kidnapped! A nice little set up for an interesting series of events. 

3. There is a nice underlying thread of menace that the author manages to bring alive in the book. Movim, for all intents and purposes, sounds heavenly! A small, rural community with few families, a pristine beach, strong ties with the local church, residents who look out for one another and actual 'village elders', who are called in to mitigate matters big and small. But within all of this, the author manages to bring alive this lurking sense of unease, which is very palpable and which underlines the events in the book. 

4. The book is full of nice and well-crafted characters. We particularly liked Mike Doherty- the ex-sailor, Mrs. Mascarenhas- the lady in whose bungalow Maity and Ray are guests, Mrs. D'Souza- a no-nonsense ex-teacher and Father Dias- the young priest of the local church. Apart from them, we also get to meet a set of youngsters, Mr. Gomes- the village's 'rich man' and a few other characters, who are all very nicely crafted. In barely 300 pages, the author does justice to building each of these characters, so that we have a good sense of them. 

5. This book, much like Here Falls the Shadow, is very taut and pacy. We jump right into the central mystery and the book takes off from there and is pretty un-put-downable! We get to follow Maity and Ray as they speak to various people in the village and as various bizarre events happen to them. The pacing of the book is perfect and there are no superfluous chapters or points-of-view in this book, something which I deeply appreciate in the mystery/ thriller genre. 

6. The twist in the end is quite decent, but seasoned readers of the genre may see it coming. But it is a good twist nonetheless. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The actual reveal of the mystery was a bit of a let down. It happened too suddenly, there were no breadcrumbs that would you give you a little hint about what was going on and then, there was something in the reveal that was just so bizarre that the perpetrator wouldn't be able to pull off whatever she/he was planning on pulling off given that *one* detail. Sorry about being vague but I don't want to spoil the book for you! 

Rating: 4/5

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