The butler did it | books | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Feb 22, 2018-Thursday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

The butler did it

The plot is plausible. A retired doctor calls his friends over for a quiet holiday in the hills, writes Ruchira Hoon.

books Updated: May 02, 2009 21:58 IST
Ruchira Hoon

A nice quiet holiday
Aditya Sudarshan
* Rs 250 * pp 224

This book is no Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Infact to call the author, Aditya Sudarshan, an amateur Franklin W. Dixon would be a crime in its own right. A nice quiet holiday is definitely an easy read, but so easy is the read that you know whodunnit right from the word go.

The plot is plausible. A retired doctor calls his friends over for a quiet holiday in the hills. While the gathering is mixed — a judge, a homeopathic doctor, a writer, a law clerk, an NGO-owning couple and their brood — all of them seem to get along just about fine. Except when one of them gets murdered. So it’s up to the young law clerk Anant and his boss Harish Shinde, the judge, to do the snooping.

Certain subplots thicken the story. First, the NGO couple land in trouble because they have published a crude and badly written report on AIDS doing the rounds in the villages. Not only are the villagers hurt by the allegations the re-
port has made, they are booking the couple for distributing obscene literature. Meanwhile, young Anant also falls in love and that is the second subplot in the story. There are pages and pages of how this all-consuming love is distracting and how deeply he feels for this most beautiful girl in the world.

While both these two subplots are meant to divert the readers from the murder, they fail miserably. The characters seem real enough, but the author lacks the ability to tell a good detective story without revealing too many details. He’s dropped so many clues on the way, that if you haven’t guessed the killer by page 65, you really shouldn’t bother reading a detective story.

A word of advice for Aditya, when you’re attempting to tell a tale in a genre whose readers hang on to every last word, know how to tell it. Otherwise, you’ll be the one taking that nice quiet holiday.