Killing Ashish Karve



Killing Ashish Karve is a spine-chilling murder mystery which follows the adventures and exploits of Senior Inspector Saralkar.

After a rather annoying week at a Secrets of Living course, Inspector Saralkar is back in action. The body of an affluent, local businessman, Ashish Karve was found in the back seat of his car.

Saralkar’s assistant, Motkar is certain that it is a straightforward case of suicide, but Saralkar’s sharp mind is agog with the possibility of a murder. He interrogates the victim’s friends and family and finds enough motives for his wife, brother, close friend and brother-in-law to murder him.

Will Saralkar be successful in nabbing the murderer?

~ Synopsis from Flipkart

In my mailbox post, I had mentioned that this book had been billed as the best murder mystery by an Indian author so far. Even though I was skeptical, I think without realizing it, I had built up my expectations very high, and the book just could not match up to those.

Not that this is a bad book, far from it, and I haven’t read too many murder mysteries based in India to judge whether it is indeed the best murder mystery by an Indian, but I think if I had delved into this book without knowing about all this high praise surrounding it, I would have enjoyed it better.

I also would have loved this book a lot more if I hadn’t done a Jenny and peeked at the last page. I shouldn’t have done so because not only was the identity of the murderer mentioned loud and clear, but also the reason for the murder.

Now, I know it was my mistake to peek at the end, but I do think the author need not have shouted the solution to the mystery so obviously in the last page. I have peeked at the end many times in mysteries, but the author is usually cunning enough to leave something untold in the last page.

Anyway, that said, the book is pretty nice and easy reading. It is a murder mystery but written a bit more in the police procedural style. The two police inspectors involved – Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar are very likable and the interaction between the two is fun.

Here is a quote highlighting Saralkar’s reaction when Motkar asks for leave so that he can help his son with his maths exams.

Get out, Motkar! You aren’t fit to be a police officer! You ought to be a clerk in one of those fancy companies that give paternity leave!

Motkar’s son’s struggles with his maths is sort of like a running joke throughout and it brings some light relief to the book. The list of suspects is long, and there are tons of red herrings scattered throughout the book. The procedural details of the investigation is good.

However, the pacing of the book could have been improved. One important revelation is held back only because the concerned person who can provide this information has gone traveling in Switzerland. In this day and age, it seems a bit hard to believe that just because someone is abroad, he is impossible to reach, and that the police have to wait till he gets back to find out what he knows.

Apart from this minor quibble (and another one, which I won’t reveal because well, spoilers), I liked the book. It was a good page-turner. Originally I had planned to take this book with me to Dubai, because mysteries and holidays go hand in hand (in my world anyway).

But now that I have finished this one, I am on the hunt for some books to pack with me for my travels – nothing literary, preferably suspenseful, and maybe something set in the Middle East?

A middle-Eastern based mystery is a bit of a tall order I guess, but if you have any recommendations, why don’t you share in the comments?

Huge thanks to Fingerprint Publications for sending this book to me for review consideration.

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