Tag Archives: Kiran Manral

Missing, Presumed Dead by Kiran Manral

Missing, Presumed Dead

Title: Missing, Presumed Dead
Author: Kiran Manral
Publisher: Amaryllis
ISBN: 978-9387383685
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery/Family
Pages: 268
Source: Author
Rating: 4 Stars

I do not read thrillers. I normally stay away from them. From most of them at least. But, “Missing, Presumed Dead” is not just another thriller or not just a thriller at all for that matter. It is so much more and thank god for that! I read one of Kiran’s books before picking up this one and thoroughly enjoyed it. That one was eerie, with some suspense and kept me on the edge. This one on the other hand is more contemplative, it has its elements of thrill but what pulled me toward it was the language (simple and effective), characterisation and pacing. At no point did I feel the book go flat or not living up to my expectations.

As the synopsis will tell you, “Missing, Presumed Dead” is a story of a dysfunctional marriage, about half-sisters Aisha and Heer, and Aisha’s husband Prithvi with his own agenda (or so it seems). What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is how the story is beautifully woven and that too set on the outskirts of a town in the hills of North India. Manral creates magic where scene is concerned. And it is as though her characters and the story just blends right in, effortlessly – it inches from page to page and as a reader, you are sucked into her world.

Every scene, every dialogue between characters or for that matter even what they are thinking is clear, inviting and makes you want to know more. What happened to Aisha? What happened to Heer right after? Why is Prithvi the way he is? And the children at the centre of all this drama. What I admired the most about the book is that Kiran does not dumb it down for the readers, nor does she play safe. She enters a territory that is dangerous, dark and in my opinion not many Indian writers have managed to explore mental health the way she has in this book.

At the same time, the story is completely readable and racy (for lack of a better word, my apologies). Manral explores a different genre, gets out of her comfort zone and manages to do all of this with a lot of substance in plot and the narrative. “Missing, Presumed Dead” is the kind of book that you’d want to finish in a day (that’s exactly what I did). So keep a day ready for it.

 

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Book Review: The Reluctant Detective by Kiran Manral

Title: The Reluctant Detective
Author: Kiran Manral
Publisher: Westland
ISBN: 978-9381626115
Genre: Mystery, Humour
Pages: 184
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

It isn’t easy to write by mixing almost two genres together. It takes not only gumption but also some good writing skill. When I first started reading, “The Reluctant Detective” I did not think much of it. I mean come to think of it, here is an almost bored housewife (well not really bored) and she has the habit of poking her nose in other people’s affairs (but obviously – as the cliché would seem), till dead bodies turn up in quick succession around her and how she teams up with a detective friend to solve them.

So that is the plot in a nutshell. As I however read further (give it beyond the first three chapters), I was taken in into the book. Kay’s (Her name is Kanan Mehra) exaggerations and little vanities add the much needed humour in this one. Runa is the main detective, while it is Kay who happens to stumble on most clues as they go along solving the crime/s.

What I found most fascinating in the entire book, was how Ms. Manral has managed to create a character (interesting one at that you might note) out of the ordinary, whose major problem is controlling her cellulite and being first in queue at the next sale. Kay’s character is well-etched and for one most housewives would be able to relate to her, or at least some parts of who she is. The humour in the book doesn’t let the mystery element get ignored and vice-versa.

The book strings all elements in place – humour, mystery and the events of ordinary day-to-day living. I liked the writing. It is to the point and does not delve too much into descriptions, which makes for a light Sunday read. The Reluctant Detective is a read that I would recommend to almost everyone. It is fast, well paced and will keep you glued till you finish it.

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