Chattopadhyay’s Here Falls The Shadow brings back the charming Indian detective story
‘Think of your sins. Prepare to die’. Principal character, best-selling author Sangram Talukdar, can’t ignore these death threats anymore. So, he seeks help from ingenious detective Janardan Maity. Maity and his friend Prakash Ray visit the author in the sleepy, picturesque town of Nimdeora. And then starts a series of intriguing, and somewhat-spooky incidents. The threats are blamed on a ghost. Two dogs are murdered. Both are found with their voice box pierced with an arrow each. A doctor behaves suspiciously. More murders happen.
Here Falls the Shadow is Bhaskar Chattopadhyay’s third fiction, and second in the Maity detective series, first being Penumbra. Here Falls... is yet another detective story that explores a crime puzzle, keeping the reader gripped throughout. Maity and Ray, who made their debut in Penumbra, make a comeback in this whodunnit, giving Indian readers their own set of Sherlock and Watson. The reader is as consumed in solving the mystery as the astute Maity, such is the power of the puzzle presented in the book. The mystery is presented and unravelled spellbindingly.
Everytime you think you are close to figuring out the whodunnit, there is a twist and you realise that the culprit is not who you think it is. The setting plays an important role in adding to the mystery. The play of shadows and light, an unsettling feeling that you are being watched by some presence lurking in the forest surrounding the Talukdar mansion, the ruins — all these elements remind one of the good ol’ detective mysteries. Besides, the romantic description of the countryside makes one pine for such a place.
Although, nicely edited, at places, the book seems a tad bit too descriptive, and that could be because the reader wants to get to the bottom of the puzzle quickly. Pick it up to savour the old-world detective charm.