Book Review: Deal of Death by Sonia Chatterjee
Deal of Death opens with an element of mystery. The blue eyes appear throughout and are menacing, with the lack of detail. The story moves fast. We feel for detective Raya Ray- by starting off on a personal note, the character comes alive for us and we see how nice she is. Point of view is also handled well, when we see the protagonist through the eyes of the maid sister, Sharmila. Read on for my full book review.
Sharmila’s loss seems too similar to Raya’s, and hence a little unbelievable. The story builds up well, with an added twist of a paranormal town. Munshiganj’s Nawab is an interesting character, divided between 2 heritages.
The writer reveals details gradually as the story progresses about Ria, so we get to know her better. Raya’s competence as a detective is seen when she easily gets a doctor talking to know more about the mystery she has come to solve in Munshiganj.
Suspense is built effectively when Raya feels that she is being watched. Clues are sprinkled throughout the narrative, which is what any good detective novel should do.
The writer describes places well, transporting you there. We hold our breath as Ria performs daring acts. She is well prepared for anyone who questions her cover. In fact, her cover also changes depending on the audience.
Secondary characters like Asif are also sketched well. A touch of humor, where the inspector calls Raya Feluda’s sister, helps lighten the mood. The writer uses foreshadowing well. By referring to a character initially in a peripheral manner, when she focuses on him later, she can get straight to the point.
Piku’s sheepishness at drinking tea alone with a woman is so realistic- and a touch that we wouldn’t come across in a Western detective novel. Similarly, the hope in the jhalmuri guy’s eyes as he waits for Raya to order is something we’ve all seen.
Raya’s in danger, but she handles herself with poise. Gradually the mists around the mystery clear. However, the story would have been stronger if hints had been revealed earlier- would have also given us a chance as readers to try and guess the solution.
The climax is good- tying up the loose ends and the explanations are also plausible. Although I did vaguely guess the solution, it was still fun to read the whodunit and how they did it.