On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.
As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singh’s life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.
Faced with the investigation of a crime that appears to have as many suspects as there are motives, Vishwanath Sharma probes the sinister web spun around a tangle of lies and deception.
This book starts off with a woman working as a doctor finding out that the woman her husband was cheating on her with was pregnant, and then that woman is randomly murdered. The more you hear about this woman, Devika, the more you will dislike her. This gives the case plenty of suspects, and no one seems any more likely to have become fed up with her and murdered her than another.
This story did start out extremely slowly, which is always a turn-off for me. I was dragging by the 40% point, but then it seemed to pick up pace afterward. I’ll admit, I got addicted to reading more about her past life, and flew through the part of the story where Sharma was questioning her family. Devika had ruined a lot of people’s lives by abandoning her responsibilities and ignoring her family.
The biggest issue I think that I had with this book was that the main character was never completely clear. At first, I thought the woman whose husband was unfaithful was the main character. Then, the investigation for the murder started, and Sharma was the main character. During the investigation, the POV continues to switch between the people being investigated. This constant switching never really allowed me to get connected to any character in particular. I felt like I was just reading the story, and not actually invested in it. It also made me confused about a few of the plot points. For example, it took me a chapter or two after the murder to even realize that Devika was the one who had been killed.
There was some character development on Devika’s part, as we learn more and more about what kind of person she was, but there wasn’t much more for any of the other characters that I really noticed.
Back to the pacing of the story, the plot was super slow at the start, then sped up once the murder happened, but then it slowed down so much that I struggled to finish it. Usually, mystery books are full of suspense and make me want to rush to the end, but I didn’t feel any of this with this novel. I just coasted along for the last 30% of the novel.
Overall, I can’t really recommend or reject this book. Maybe it just wasn’t for me and someone who likes these really in-depth and partially confusing mystery novels. This story definitely had a lot of potential, and you might like it if you overlook the slight flaws.
I received an advance copy of this novel and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 stars