Salil Desai is an author and filmmaker who has published two novels and a couple of short stories. ‘Killing Ashish Karve’ was first published as ‘The Body in the Backseat’ in 2011. Does it work? Let’s check it out.
The blurb goes like this –
Senior Inspector Saralkar is back at his desk after spending a rather annoying week at a ‘Secrets of Living’ course, especially for police officers and he is itching for some action now. Luckily, an exciting new case turns up right away!
The body of Ashish Karve, a local businessman has been found in the back seat of his car. To PSI Motkar, Saralkar’s diminutive assistant, it seems to be a straightforward case of suicide. But Saralkar’s sharp mind is agog with the dark possibility of murder.
As the case unfolds Saralkar finds enough motives for people, be it Ashish’s business partner, his wife, his brother, his friend, his brother-in-law or even strangers to want to do away with him!
Is the senior inspector becoming too fanciful in his imagination or is he on the right track in assuming that Ashish was killed? Delve into this deliciously thrilling whodunit and walk along with Senior Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar as they set out to sift the truth from lies and half truths.
The cover design for this one is done really beautifully and perfectly captures what the reader is about to encounter as he / she steps into the territory of Ashish Karve. The font style and the quality of the pages is as good as expected from Fingerprint Publishing.
The book starts off with Ashish Karve’s body being found in a car on the roads of Pune and that’s where the entire mystery begins. Salil has beautifully captured each and every step of the police investigation that follows his death and the questions asked by the officers to the suspects.
Personally, I have not come across any book by an Indian author where the step by step method on how a murder case is solved is explained. And the fact that Salil mixes this investigation with some dry and sarcastic humor is what takes the reading experience to another level.
From Aundh to Pune University to Chaturshungi Temple, Salil has fantastically captured the essence of Pune in this one. The narrative is quite pacy throughout and there aren’t any extra sequences or characters forced in just for the heck of it.
Saralkar and Motkar as the two officers in the case are the heart and soul of the book. Both have different ways of dealing with the cases and their personality traits are brought out quite beautifully by the author. There are some lovely conversations between Motkar and his senior – Saralkar throughout the book. They are ably supported by the other characters particularly the Karve family.
All in all, if you are one for murder mysteries, go for this one. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating – 4/5