Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

In Six Suspects, Vicky Rai has gotten away with murder yet again. At his party to celebrate his acquittal, he is murdered. When the police search the party attendees, six are found with guns: The Bureaucrat, Mohan Kumar; The Actress, Shabnam Saxena ; The Tribal, Eketi; The Thief, Munna Mobile; The Politician, Jagannath Rai; and The American, Larry Page. All are immediately suspected of murdering Rai. "India's best-known investigative journalist", Arun Advani, guides the reader through the crime as he investigates the suspects and tries to flesh out the murderer.

This unusual and uniquely presented murder mystery was sensational and a joy to read. It's definitely one of the best I've read this year. Using different sections, Vikas Swarup takes the reader through the suspects, the motives, the evidence and, finally the solution to the crime all while giving the reader a glimpse into life in India. While the stories of each character remains mostly separate, some of the characters do make guest appearances in the others' stories as the author reveals some connections amongst the characters. In the end, it seemed a bit like a spider's web, but still very easy to follow.

Speaking of characters, they were a wonderful outrageous group, albeit offbeat, representing different aspects of life in India. Like the story line and the presentation, the characters were original, but seemed a little larger than life. I loved them all and appreciated all of the background information the author presented. I don't think I had a favourite, but I really liked Eketi, Mohan and Shabnam.

I loved how Swarup used different writing styles for some of the characters. It helped to differentiate them and their sections. For example, he used only dialogue for the politician and diary entries for the actress. The American's story was chalk full of hilarious clich├ęs that made me laugh-out-loud a number of times. You could just tell that Swarup has a fantastic sense of humour. [I wonder if it gets to use it much in his day job.]

Every mystery needs a good ending and this one didn't disappoint. The ending with its carefully crafted wicked twist was priceless. I didn't see it coming and still shake my head when I think of how Swarup revealed the culprit.

I've also read Slumdog Millionaire (originally published as Q & A ) by this author and loved it. I also saw the movie based on the book and was surprised at how different it was. It was well worth seeing.

I love reading books set in India and never tire of them. I'm beginning to think that maybe I was in India in a previous life. However, that's doubtful since the names still give me a little trouble and trip me up sometimes. I figure the more I read, the better I'll get. Eventually, I hope to overcome this "disability". It's not going to stop me from reading more books by India authors or books set in India. I'm definitely looking forward to Swarup's next book. He's one of my new favourites.

For more information regarding this book or to Browse Inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

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