Kiran Manral’s The Reluctant Detective

Kiran Manral’s book sounds just like her – there is always a party whenever she is around. I read the book just as it came out, and amidst the frenzied hype to grab a copy and be the first to read the book, I believe I came first J That’s my story and I am sticking to it. There is a reason for that. Because this book is a fraud.

The Reluctant Detective is not what it pretends to be, and therein lies its magic.

In the first reading, it was a quick read – a fun whodunit that left you wanting for more. A pretty young mum, stumbling over a dead body – a murder too close to home. Her irrepressible curiosity and intelligence will not let her stop till the murder is resolved, and she somehow fits it all in with her packed social life.

And then the layers began unpeeling. I do not know if Kiran intended to write it this way, but as with everything she writes, kernels of truth pop out and find soil. First came the protests on twitter – this is not chicklit! Despite the green stiletto that dominates the cover, the incessant and almost high pitched voice obsessing about weight, food and clothes this is not chicklit. At one level it is a comedy of manners, at another a neo-feminist dialogue. And of course a detective novel.

The underlying theme here is the quest – the quest for the criminals and their motives barely covering up the quest of the protagonist for her own sense of self.

Having read her twice, and gifted her thrice, I do hope the quest continues – this deserves to be a series.

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