‘A Very Pukka Murder’ – The first Maharaja mystery unravels – and with this, Arjun Raj Gaind manages to churn out a gripping crime novel
With Indian fiction turning a new leaf, it is heartening to see how Indian authors are attempting the genre of crime novel, and quite successfully so. Author Arjun Raj Gaind decides jump on to the bandwagon; after a successful debut with a graphic novel decided to take a U turn, get into the past – the British India to be more precise, as a setting for his detective thriller novel, ‘A Very Pukka Murder’.
Here is a young Maharaja of Rajpore, Sikander Singh, well dressed and English educated, living in the times when British held the control of the residencies, yet the Maharaja of the land commanded the loyalty and respect from his subjects.
Sikander enjoys the comforts brought in from the West and appreciates the fine wines, music, and driving his Rolls, but he deeply resents the interference of the English, and it is interesting how Arjun brings forth the contrast that can be associated with most of the Indian royalty of the British Raj towards the beginning of the last century.
Sikander loves reading, is quite knowledgeable and a benevolent leader rooted in tradition yet abhors blind beliefs and customs. Above all, the young Maharaja enjoys solving mysteries.
And soon enough, with the mysterious murder of the not so likeable Major William Russell, the English Resident of Rajpore, opportunity comes knocking at Sikander’s door – and the prospect of solving it gives him an adrenaline rush, much to the dismay of his Man Friday Charan Singh – in this case his Devil’s Advocate .
Every detective of repute in this world was created, but not without his detractor. And for Sikander, who is working in unraveling what he calls the not so perfect murder, amidst hostile English establishment, it is the know all Superintendent Jardine.
As Sikander moves from one clue to the other, one false trail to the other in his pursuit of the murderer, the story paces up and gets to be gripping as it reaches its logical end.
Arjun calls the novel the first Maharaja mystery, and successfully draws an interesting character sketch of his hero – the ingenious detective of his crime thriller – the most important aspect of the genre.
The historical background adds allure to the story. The narration is quite engrossing, and the attention to detail makes it an engaging read. It is to be seen how the author retains the quality in his upcoming books from the series.
The review was first published in the English daily The Hans India
You can read Arjun Raj Gaind’s short story ‘The Diva’s Bow’ published on Firstpost
Here’s the Goodreads link
Find Arjun’s books on Flipkart