Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review

Barnabas: Bombays First Private Detective

 Author: Sangeeta Nambiar
Published by : Westland Publishers
Pages: 234
Price:  Rs. 250/-

Barnabas, Though the name misleads the reader to take it as a British detective in the old British Bombay, the introduction mentions Mr Barnabas C  Mehta to be a person more of the British ideology but rooted to Indian mentality by origin.

Unlike any other Thriller or murder mystery novels, this book is one among those thrillers wherein the thoughts of the mystery solving, proofs ,chances, etc keeps hovering in the readers mind ,as to one gets hooked up with the detective for the solution.

This book, thanks to its wonderful language used as well as a beautiful blend of situations and twists at proper time, is indeed a good read. One among those stories, wherein the reader keeps on guessing the possibilities of what could be next.

Other than the thriller sense, the books gives an insight into the other face of British India. Rather than the general negative persona assigned to whites then ruling the country, Barnabas lets us know the better, much more kind and positive face of the Englishmen.
One could relate the various phenomena during the freedom struggle, at  local, countryside level which is something less considered while discussing about the British Empire in India. It beautifully describes the life  then in British Bombay,  attitude of people via the slang of Hindi or English used .

The story revolves around the murder of Madam Rose Stanton, chain of suspecting incidents following her death ,and the various techniques and methods adopted by Barnabas, his tryst with the police and Englishmen. It raises lot of suspects in  readers min.Let that be her husband Thomas Stanton, or her beloved Sir Gregory .The devotion and Hard work of Barnabas towards the case without expecting monetary returns inculcates in the reader a good interest towards the case being solved. Usage of poetic Phrases , Indian English, Description of the gallis nd chowkis of old Bombay are all the plus points in the book. These features ultimately makes the reader believe that Barnabas C Mehta existed in the 1940s and was the first private etective of Bombay.

Lines such as " This is my own country ,yet I need to tread with care in it" depicts the thoughts of an Indian Detective who is   parsed towards the British Men, and the British culture,Yet lot of nationalism and love inside

The Indian characters such as Barnabas'  father,  Laxmi, the maid, Kesho , Ardeshir and the freedom fighters all gradually take us to the mindset of Indians fed up by British Rule.

overall a very good read , not if you are expecting an Indian version of Sherlock Holmes, because the book itself has a very different story set up in a very different time of 1940's.

Rating : 3/5 
Best recommended. And this is one among those thrillers that wont bore you even if you are on the tenth read.

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  1. Bit different isn't it?? British era and a murder mystery...

    Nice review..will try to read it if, I get somewhere or maybe borrow from you only :D

    Take Care

  2. Good review..

    I like the british era thought and how indians get together..


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