After a series of heavy books, I always crawl back to a light read. And this month I picked up one by a very talented young writer, Arjun Chandra Kathpalia’s Juni Dagger: Murders in Meraupatnam. Even though the book is supposed to be murder mystery by the cover, when you start reading it, you realize it is a unique combination of gastronomy and thrill! Murders in Meraupatnam stands out because of its uniqueness and a simple charm that has the capability to attract readers towards it. And for one enjoyed it thoroughly, even caught some recipes of the internet to cook.
Now, coming back to the book, Murders in Meraupatnam revolves around series of murders being executed by snipers in the quaint Dormeth Lane. Juni Dagger is called to the rescue by the town’s mayor and he comes loaded with his assistant Monroe and stranger-turned-ally Cameron who have to keep up with his erratic eating habits and sharp observation skills.
The only thing Juni is unaware of is that a target has been painted on his back by the sniper now, and he needs to tread carefully.
Along with the thrill to find the culprit, you also get to tag along with Juni on his culinary adventures which sometimes even help out with the case he is working on. One or the other culinary experience of his leads to the identity of the killer Veron. But since Veron starts targeting Juni, and his desire to be rid of the detective can only be matched by Dagger’s desire to enjoy a good meal, or maybe 2-3.
This was the first time I was reading a murder mystery with a side of humor to it. And I mentally applauded the writer to have the courage to write something like this. The writing in Juni Dagger is simple and easy to understand, but sometimes it became a little difficult to keep up with the erratic character of Juni Dagger. The constant back and forth of catching the killer and then landing up again at the same restaurant to eat a new dish became a bit exhausting for me.
Juni Dagger’s plot is very unique and the twists of the story have the potential to keep you hooked till the end. The book is a promising start in Kathpalia’s establishment as a writer. However, it may turn opposite for some the readers as well, especially for the people who love the mystery in its pure form. But as I said, Juni Dagger is a very unique book, which may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but can be picked on a relaxing day where you would only like to experience something unique and simple at the same time.