The Reluctant Detective. Hmmm! Let me think up one word to describe it as I do for all my reviews. This time it would be Enjoyable and Refreshing. I know. I know. That’s two words. When I heard about this book from Kiran Manral on twitter, I had made it a point to get it for my mom the minute it came out. Just before reading The Reluctant Detective, I had read Only Time will Tell by Jeffrey Archer. A complicated plot and all I wanted next was simple. Seeing the shoe on the cover, I had assumed the book would be a chick-lit. One fine Sunday morning I was bored and desperately wanted a good book to read. I saw The Reluctant Detective on the coffee table and…… Best Sunday in a long time!
Kiran Manral is something like a twitterati. If you do not follow her, I suggest you to do the same. Very few people can make use of those 140 characters better than she can. Oh, ok! Back to the book. The Reluctant Detective is Ms. Manral’s first book. It is the story of Kanan ‘Kay’ Mehra, a thirty-something homemaker who lives with her husband and son in one of those huge apartment complexes in Mumbai. When two corpses pop up her in her neighborhood, Kay manages to get herself involved in the mess. She then teams up with her private investigator friend Runa to get to the bottom of the two murders. Resisting and complaining all the time, she pokes her nose into the murders, knowing all along that it would have been a better idea to leave it alone.
The Reluctant Detective is definitely not a murder mystery novel. If you took it up hoping for a sinister plot, you would only be disappointed. However, read it without any expectations and let your imagination run all over the place and you will enjoy it a lot. At least, that’s what I did. The plot is a very simple one. Its only Ms. Manral’s writing style that makes it a good read. It’s simple, lucid and witty. A lot of writers think up a complicated plot, sacrificing on writing style, which keeps you thinking about what’s gonna happen next. The Reluctant Detective is unique and refreshing in that respect.
If I noticed one thing about Ms. Manral’s writing style, it’s her attention to detail. Her characters are well described, especially those of Kay and Runa. I felt each of the characters in the book is based on someone Ms. Manral knows in real life. I might be wrong. It was just a thought. Now the question that a lot of people will ask. Is it a chick-lit? Maybe yes. However, that does not make it a bad read for men. It’s humorous and lighthearted. Something that anybody would enjoy irrespective of the gender. With a bit of imagination, you could feel the events in the story happening in your neighborhood. Give it a try people. On a Sunday afternoon or while traveling. I am sure you will enjoy it a lot. The Reluctant Detective is definitely a good read albeit simple.