Book Review: The Return of Damayanti

Bhrigu Mahesh, PhD: The Return of Damayanti is the second book by author Nisha singh in the series featuring the detective Bhrigu Mahesh and his companion Sutte. Indian market is flooded with chick lit romances these days and it’s really remarkable that the author has tried to attempt something different. The book is second in the series after ‘The Witch of Senduwar’.

Bhrigu Mahesh is an ex-policeman who now works as a detective. He is visited by Natraj Bhakti, a retired clerk from Krishna Dwar who believes that he is being haunted by his deceased wife, Damayanti. On his repeated requests, Bhrigu decides to help him. Along with his friend Sutte, Bhrigu goes to Krishna Dwar, a small village which is famous for its temples. They stay at Bhakti’s large ancestral house which is in a pitiable state. Soon tragedy strikes when Bhakti’s sister is brutally murdered. Bhrigu and Sutte manage to track the killer with the help of the local police but are shocked with the revelations that come to light.

The plot of the story is good and keeps the readers intrigued. However the pace of the novel is very slow and at times, it seems to be dragged. The author has a talent for writing descriptions, be it of people, places or things but this attention to detail has slowed down the pace of the book and makes it dull at times. Though the story of the book is interesting but too many details have stretched it to 430 pages and it seems unnecessary stretched. A little bit of editing and making the book crisper would have definitely helped in making it a much better read.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one is the introduction to the case and nothing much happens during the first part. Part two is where actual action happens. Part three mainly deals with the criminal’s psychology and the author has given some interesting insights as to how strangely a criminal’s mind may work.
The characters have been developed in a good way. The duo Bhrigu and Sutte complement each other and remind of Holmes and Watson. The story is narrated by Sutte. He is a loyal friend and knows Bhrigu inside out. He is a pleasant character who is in awe with Bhrigu. I didn’t like the character of Bhrigu much. He seems so full of himself and he is mostly impatient or annoyed during his interrogations. Most of the times, he doesn’t even bother to answer Sutte.
The ending of the book comes as a surprise and leaves room for a sequel. At one point of time, the original case of haunting is completely forgotten and picked up again later. The seemingly unconnected sub-plots in the beginning fit in the puzzle towards the end. With a few editing slips here and there, the book definitely has room for improvement. But still it manages to hold the interest of the readers and is a pleasant read though a long one.

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