Whodunnit thrillers are likely to increase the adrenaline flow. The reader gets glued to the novel desperately wanting to find out the murderer. The name of the perpetrator is revealed at the end and, in most of the times, it’s the most unlikely person who turns out to be the culprit. Blood in the Paradise by Madhav Mahidhar has not followed this conventional way of solving the mystery. As evident from the tagline “A Tale of an Impossible Murder”, it is a murder mystery where the name of the suspected murderer is revealed first and, a back-calculation follows to expose the modus operandi and motive.
Written somewhat in the style of the reputed Japanese author Keigo Higashino, the novel is a pretty decent attempt to tell a different mystery tale.
The story starts with Madhumitha writing in her diary about her decision of committing suicide. A successful corporate woman, a mother of twin girls, a wife- Madhumitha zeroes to her decision as she finds no point in living a life of despair and disgrace; the main reason behind this being her husband, Vikas. Her relationship with him was getting atrophied with each passing day and, hence, she took this fatal decision.
We come to know of Madhumitha’s life through her diary and, eventually feels sorry for her. Tension gains momentum when she consumes potassium cyanide mixed with honey and water. At that crucial point, Vikas enters the room and, she is rushed to the hospital.
After a couple of pages, the readers are shocked to know that it’s Vikas who died at the hospital due to cyanide poisoning and Madhumitha is fighting for her life.
The forensic report reveals, a lethal dose of cyanide was there in the water dispenser from which Vikas drank water. Police pinpointed Madhumitha as the culprit and also convicted her feminist friend Anu for aiding and abetting her.
But there was no proof, absolutely none. And, Madhumitha had the strongest alibi on earth which she produced with her suicidal attempt. Moreover, there was no motive on her part.
The novel elucidates the proceedings of the case, the after-effect, the role of media as the story progresses. Knowing almost for sure who the criminal is, you will not be able to keep the book down!
The language is lucid and simple and, the characters are well-portrayed. Though, I think, the character of Anupriya is a bit over-hyped. The descriptions of the court sessions are tedious at places and some dialogues, in my opinion, are just there to add volume to the book. The presentation could have been spiffier.
But apart from this, Blood in the Paradise was a pretty good read for me. The author, Madhav Mahidhar, has told the story in a way that makes the reader hold the book till the last page. He has also, cleverly, tells the readers what ideal feminism should be; it’s not about hating men, but establishing feminine dexterity in every sphere of life.
Recommended for all who love thrillers/ mystery.
From my side, it’s 3.5/5
I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.