Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!
A murder mystery starring a bored housewife, Kiran Manral’s The Reluctant Detective, works well as a light read with self-deprecating humour.
Review by Unmana Datta
Don’t go into Kiran Manral’s The Reluctant Detective expecting a detective story on the lines of Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple. The two murders in the first couple of chapters are almost incidental to the story, narrated by and starring a bored suburban housewife, Kay Mehra, who, driven partly by boredom, partly by curiosity, and partly out of her wish to see justice done, looks into the murders she encounters.
If you go in expecting the story of a somewhat bored, somewhat flurried housewife with what appears to be low self-esteem, a marriage which has long since lost any vestige of romance or meaningful communication and an exhausting and often repulsive five-year-old… that’s exactly what you get.
The narrator-protagonist’s self-deprecatory snarky humour and tendency to ramble are both the best and worst parts of the books. Some of these passages are genuinely funny, but some seem way too long and unnecessary and not funny enough. It’s hard to know where the narrator ends and the writer begins, and you begin to realize it’s Kay the narrator, and not Kiran the writer, who’s day-dreaming before she gets called back to the present moment.
The book could have been much better with more careful editing. There are typos (“joggers track”) and other errors (“lawfully betrothed” used as a synonym for “spouse”), full stops used instead of question marks, and long run-on sentences that make it difficult to hold on to the meaning.
Overall, though, it’s a nice light read, and while I was torn between disappointment at the extremely predictable denouement to the murder “mystery” and relieved at the lack of absurd melodrama, I know the book is probably better for not indulging my fantasies of a real suburban-housewife detective, instead sticking to the reluctant detective of the title.
If you’re planning to purchase Kiran Manral’s The Reluctant Detective do consider buying it through this Women’s Web affiliate link at Flipkart. We get a small share of the proceeds – every little bit will help us continue bringing you the content you like!
Readers outside India can purchase The Reluctant Detective through our affiliate link at Amazon.
Unmana is interested in gender, literature and relationships, and writes about everything she's interested in. She lives in, and loves, Bombay. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Instead of seeking vengeance after horrific crimes, the public should push for faster and better judicial resolutions. That is the best tribute we can pay to the victims.
Trigger Warning: This deals with rape, violence against women and police brutality, and may be triggering for survivors.
On the news yesterday we came to know that 10 police officers who had killed 4 young men arrested for the rape and murder of Hyderabad doctor in an “encounter” have been found “guilty of concocting their story, and were to be charged with murder.” The report of the commission doing this enquiry also says “The panel also found that police have deliberately attempted to suppress the fact that at least three of the deceased were minors – two of them 15 years old.”
December 29, 2019 was a Friday no different from any other. I was running late so had no time to read the newspaper. On the way to work, I logged onto to Twitter to catch up with the news. The first thing I saw was the breaking story on the horrific gang rape and murder of the 26 year old doctor on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
To think that money can buy you anything is as wrong as singling a woman out after her divorce because the world feels she got overcompensated.
A lot of people are attracted to money and that’s not a bad thing. Which is also why everyone talks about money and the rich. The rich always make the headlines.
The rich, also, get upset when their personal lives are talked about, and rightly so. They have all the right to privacy.
Time moves on. However, people do not.