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Title: Banquet on the Dead
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Price: Rs. 250
Summary: Another Murder mystery from my favorite author!
The Prologue starts with ‘Kauveramma Loved Life.’ So, when we soon come to know Kauveramma was found dead in well, we doubt if a person who is said to have loved life will jump and end her life in a well. Read further and you know, Kauveramma is terrified of water. Imagine you are terrified of water; would you dare to venture out, even if it means ending your life? Well, very unlikely.
The story begins with Doctor Koteshwar Rao requesting Valmiki Nagarajan, Inspector at Hanamkonda Police Station to extend the case by few more days, if not investigating officially. He was talking of his grandmother, Kauveramma’s death. Doctor Koteshwar Rao agrees to Nagarajan’s choice of teaming up with once-upon-a-time criminal, but clean for 15 years, Hamid Pasha to investigate Kauveramma’s death. Most of the family members live in the same house, where Kauveramma lived. Upon investigation, Nagarajan and Hamid Pasha find there are enough reasons for love, hatred and motives for the suspected killing. Everyone, including Kauveramma’s sons, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and other members come under Hamid Pasha’s suspicion. The well is located right in front of the house. Kauveramma couldn’t have passed the path to the well without anyone seeing her. Hamid Pasha has to find out if anyone saw her walking down the path or if anyone is lying? Who could be the killer?
I was able to judge the killer when I read Sharath Komarraju’s debut book, ‘ Murder in Amaravati‘ , but in the case of ‘Banquet on the dead,’ I couldn’t. This time around he has worked well to keep the reader guessing the killer till Hamid Pasha discloses the secret (the killer) at the end of the story.
Talking from another angle, I found some links missing and wish Sharath had gone a step more to give a better narrative for the motive. Or should I go back and read again to see if I overlooked any part? It happens sometimes, when I’m in a hurry to find the killer rather than reading the story in depth.
Over all his writing style has improved compared to his first book, ‘Murder in Amaravati,’ and has succeeded in keeping the suspense. The story is written in simple and easy to understand language.
Evidently, Sharath Komarraju doesn’t write to compete with bestseller writers or to be one. However, his novels could be a bestseller, provided more people vote for a ‘clean’ storyline. What I like about Sharath’s book is they are straightforward, with no love or spicy stories written to make bank accounts grow or for popularity. His stories remind me of the detective stories from the 1980’s and 1990 in the television. Simple yet thrilling. No gossip. It is clear he writes straight from his heart and doesn’t try to impress anyone, which clearly reflects in his thrillers.
I continue to recommend you to read Sharath Komarraju’s brilliant thrillers. Now, I can’t wait to read more of his stories.
About the Author
Sharath Komarraju is a Bangalore based IT professional working for IBM. Banquet on the Dead is his second novel. His first one was ‘Murder in Amaravati.’
PS: Thank you, Westland and Sharath for the review copy!