For me, a mystery novel isn’t successful if it doesn’t surprise you. That’s THE thing I look for when I start with a mystery novel. During the Diwali Long weekend, Murder in Paharganj was my companion. And I was hooked to it! From the characters to the plot, Murder in Paharganj was a mystery novel that I couldn’t keep down. And in the process I also discovered a new writer to admire, Kulpreet Yadav.
Murder in Paharganj revolves around Sherry Bing, a foreigner who is found dead in a dingy hotel of Paharganj. Vicky Menon, an alcoholic reporter and freshly out of job is the first to be on the crime scene. Going with his instinct, he decides to go deeper into this murder mystery and prove his worth as a Journalist. However, he doesn’t realize that the murder he is trying to investigate is a high profile one, with the fate of three nations tied with it.
Running parallel to it is the story of Jalaluddin, Aka Jamie, who is running away from Delhi and from Sherry’s murder. Though his intention was not to kill her in the first place but to take the necessary information out of her, as soon as he saw Sherry in that hotel room something snapped. Even though he loved her, he had a bigger motive to fulfill, and nobody could stand in its way, not even Sherry. Unfortunately, he isn’t able to retrieve the information from her, and because of that one small mistake, he is now running to survive, and to kill Vicky.
Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicky pushes his investigation harder against all odds, which takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, he has a nameless Israeli spy who is in this game for a personal reason and an ex-girlfriend who is a criminal psychologist. But will this be enough for Vicks to survive and catch Jamie when he is always 3 steps ahead of him? How far will Vicks go for a story that could change his life forever?
Murder in Paharganj has every element that a good mystery book requires. From shady characters, spooky background setting and the right pace, the mood is set for a mystery from the very first page itself. I really liked the Paharganj element in the book. Being a Delhite, I’ve spent my share of days lurking around in Sam’s cafe and other joints of Paharganj which may appear dingy from the outside. Therefore, I had a natural liking towards the book.
When it comes to characters, more than the protagonist I liked Ariel’s character more. His motive to be involved in the mystery and the efforts he takes to get to the bottom of it is really brilliantly written. I also liked Vicky’s character, but then it could’ve have been much more.
The storyline of Murder in Paharganj is pretty good and has the potential to keep you hooked till the end. The language is easy to understand. However, there are few things that could’ve been improved a lot.
Firstly, I would have loved to see Tonya’s character being used to the full potential. I mean she is a criminal psychologist, so why not use her more? Secondly, the climax was rushed. It was like an abrupt end to a good mystery which didn’t go well with me. Thirdly, I felt that the fast pace scenes were unnecessarily added into some parts the story.
All in all, Murder in Paharganj turned out to be a pretty good murder mystery, something that you should definitely pick up.