Months ago, I had decided to stop writing detailed book reviews because it took away the happiness of reading. The critic in me could take a backseat while my bibliophilic entity could savor the world of written words. That is why it is essential, to begin with, a disclaimer first – this post is not a book review in the strictest sense but more on the lines of sharing my experience of reading Richa S. Mukherjee’s latest release ‘Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd’.
Anyone who has ever lived in a small town would know how every small town holds a flavor unique to its people, traditions, and culture. That is why I would want to first mention the strongest aspect of this book which is the setting of its plot in the town of Kanpur. The author manages to take the reader on a ride through the lanes of Kanpur into Awadh Nivas, the residence of the Tripathi clan. Every character, scenario, festival, and even their food choices feel amazingly real and relatable. Kudos to the author for her sharp observation skills in creating this fictitious world by drawing inspiration from the real world.
Enter Prachaand Tripathi aka Prachi and his partner in the real and professional life, Vidya Tripathi aka Viddu. Together, they run Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd, a Detective agency that survives on mundane cases but aspires to be much more. Often they find themselves spending more on keeping friends and acquaintances entertained (unwillingly, though) than earning through prospective clients.
The Tripathi’s (other than the detective couple) consisting of Ammaji Rampyari, mother Rachna, father Dinbandhu, uncle Dinanath and brother Bhushan (the Kanpuriya Justin Bieber) are a hilarious bunch. As their daily life unfolds through the pages of the story, I often found myself laughing my heart out. If there is one quotient that the book excels in, it is humor. Richa’s sense of humor keeps the plot from never becoming too grim.
The monotonous life of the Detectives becomes chaotic once they are assigned a high profile case of keeping an eye on a Bollywood starlet Shailaja Kapoor. What follows eventually is a kidnapping gone wrong, a murder and unmasking the real mastermind. During the process of solving the crime, the Detective duo land in Mumbai (after landing in trouble) and once again, as a reader, I couldn’t stop appreciating the contrast in the two cities beautifully captured by the author.
A few Detectives like Feluda, Byomkesh, Kirito Roy (pleasantly surprised to find his name), Sherlock Holmes and Surendra Mohan Pathak find mention in a couple of instances. I feel Prachaand and Vidya also have the potential to find their names featured amidst such stalwarts in the future. Considering that this is the first attempt of the author in writing a detective novel, I have to give her due credit for making the book reading experience feel like watching a movie. I could almost visualize the scenes playing in my mind. That is why this novel with the right mix of Bollywood drama feels like a great choice to have been picked up for a screen adaptation recently. Also, a special mention to the cover which piques the curiosity of a reader.
However, if there is a bone of contention, it is the involvement of so few characters in the scene of the crime which makes the climax a tad unconvincing and quite predictable. But that is just a singular flaw in an otherwise brilliant book and knowing Richa’s prowess, I am sure that this will be taken care of in the next Prachaand-Vidya thriller. I sincerely hope that the author plans to write more of Detective Duo’s expeditions in the future. This is one of my best reads this year. I finished it in six hours flat after soaking in the warmth and humor of a small town, its inhabitants and their thrilling experiences wishing that it didn’t have to end so soon.