Book Reviews,  Rupa Publishers

Book Review: Murder in the Monastery by Barun Chanda

Murder in the Monastery
Author: Barun Chanda
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Rating: 3.5/5 (Spoilers ahead)

When Avinash Roy, an adroit detective from Kolkata, sets his foot in Sikkim, he is welcomed by unadulterated beauty and fresh air. Along with the natural miracles, he is also greeted by the series of mysteries that have been swept under the rug in Dengziang Monastery. Lama Phunsok requests Roy to investigate the case of the missing Issah Manuscript and urges him to stay back in the monastery. Bidding adieu to his wife, Roy decides to look behind the veil of unspoken secrets and embarks on a life-threatening journey that takes him to the far corners of Sikkim.

A rare artefact, precisely a manuscript that describes Christ’s stay in India, vanishes into thin air. To batten down the hatches, Lama Phunsok confides in Roy and requests him to keep this loss a secret. Meanwhile, a Christian order plans double murder in the holiest place. What one doesn’t understand in this chaotic setting is the motive behind the killings and the association of the murders with the missing manuscript.

Ingeniously crafted characters of inspector Thapa, Miriam Roy and the Nun set the wheels of the story rolling. Itching to work the case, Roy finds it difficult to fathom the challenge of establishing that the case is indeed a case and not a cascade of unfortunate but unrelated events. Eventually, joining all the scattered dots together, Roy succeeds in reaching the crux of the matter.

All said and done, there is no denying the fact that the novella is a fast-paced gripping thriller. Packed with twists, the taut narrative will entertain the readers. However, the typing errors (though not many in number) are still very prominent, for they are present in the dialogues. I tried my best to ignore them by giving the author a creative license. But they are genuinely there. Secondly, the climax seems to be written in a jiffy. It is unpredictable yet simple. All the efforts of unravelling the mystery seem to go in vain as the climax is too easy.

Nevertheless, ‘Murder in the Monastery’ is a gripping read. You’re left agog at Roy’s alertness. Sharmila’s role is insignificant. The lamas of the monastery are totally in character and are not missing in action at any point.

Overall, ‘Murder in the Monastery’ is a good choice when your mind needs the adventure to refuel itself.

Buying Link: Amazon

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