30 June, 2018

#BookReview :: The Diamond Crown by V.S.Rao

Lakhs of devotees have gathered at the ashram to celebrate Swamiji’s shashtipoorti, his completing sixty years of age. Arrangements are in place for the many followers from all over the world who come to seek blessings, as also for those crooks who come with hopes of stealing the diamond crown – a gift of love from a wealthy devotee.

Balaram, Kumkum and their allies have waited for this day with bated breath. The crown would change their lives and give them a chance to start afresh. 
Will everyone stick to the plan? Does greed for more let them succeed? 

When despite strict vigil the diamond crown is stolen, and all clues lead to a dead end, the police officials call out to the man they trust the most – detective Tempo. With a sharp insight and a knack for noticing the unusual in the most mundane of things and people, he is the man who takes it upon himself to find the crown.

Will Tempo catch up with the thieves or are the culprits always a step ahead?

The story begins with a meeting called on by Balaram where he and his lackeys plan a heist that would set them up for life. Then it turns out that their plan was to steal a diamond crown that was to be presented to ‘Swamiji’ on his sixtieth birthday and they are successful at it. It is then up to detective Tempo to figure out how it was done and to catch the culprits…

Do not worry! I did not give away anything from the plot that wasn’t told to the readers straight out. The author has narrated the story in a way to make it more a thriller with the chase of the culprit rather than making it a crime thriller. Almost everything is narrated to the readers in a proper timeline and as such the element of whodunit is absent. The author did try to put in a surprise towards the end, but it was one that would be pretty evident anyway. It was the first point of disappointment for me in the book. I like it when thriller offers up a couple of twists. If we look deeper, the resolution of the case was way too simple as well. There were hardly any conflicts.

Detective Tempo did not impress me at all. It was like he ‘just knew’ what happened and we did not see much of his actual deduction skills. There were several points in the book where I felt two things… First, the book must have been written quite a few years back; otherwise the heist amount would have been bigger. Balaram claims that this heist would set the whole team up for life but two crore is barely anything in modern times to set up one person for lives, let alone a bunch of them. Second, the book might have been originally written in a different language or the author has used very literal translations from his mother tongue to tell this story. The language felt odd and dry at times.

I did like the character of Balaram to a certain extent. The idea of stealing from a fraud character certainly appeals to me. The other good thing about the book is that it is a short one… at 125 odd pages; it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours to finish it.

As you can all feel it, this book really did not work for me at all and I am pretty sure that I am not going to pick it up for a second time.

 Review Copy received from Srishti Publishers

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