‘The Reluctant Detective’ By Kiran Manral: ChickLit With A Twist

My weekend reading was ‘The Reluctant Detective‘, first novel by fellow-blogger Kiran Manral. Just as well, since it proved to be a hectic few days leading upto & culminating in the boy’s birthday, leaving me no time for heavy reading. This book was light and easily read in the short intervals that I managed to catch between organizing parties, shopping for gifts & tending to the social commitments of a busy weekend.

The Reluctant Detective‘ is the story of Kanan Mehra (a.k.a. Kay), a privileged suburban housewife, into whose pampered life comes excitement in the form of a double murder in the neighborhood. Kay is loosely linked to both cases, being the last to have seen the first victim alive, and the one to discover the body of the second, both on the same day. Her daily life of beauty treatments, fashion fanaticism, kitty parties and housewifely gossip, have her ill-prepared to deal with the ramifications of these events. She blunders through having to face gore for the first time in her comfortable life and rubs uneasy shoulders with such strange people as detectives & policemen.

The title notwithstanding, the story has very little to do with her actual solving of the cases. Instead, it builds on the response from Kay’s world, right from a sudden fear of taking morning walks alone, SoBo acquaintances dismissal of the suburbs, parental paranoia & automatic restriction, gossip sagas where maidservants gain starring roles and the revival of old-but-incompatible friendships.

There is a lot of focus on Kay’s wardrobe, her battle with the bulge and domestic adventures of the maternal, spousal & housekeeping sort. Thus the setting & tone give the book a Chick Lit feel, albeit with a heroine of a different demographic (slightly older, happily married with kids, no money/career concerns etc). Don’t expect a cloak-and-dagger adventure, all ye mystery lovers. On the other hand, if you enjoy Chick Lit and wouldn’t mind trying out something other than the usual ‘single girl-gay friend-bad boyfriends-alcohol & chocolates-BFFs’ formula, ‘The Reluctant Detective‘ will give you some pleasant, easy reading.

Here’s a promo of the book:

The blurb reads:

Kay, a.k.a. Kanan Mehra, is a thirty-something suburban housewife and young mother with a penchant for sticking her curious nose into things she definitely, absolutely and certainly shouldn’t go near. When a couple of corpses turn up in quick succession in her neighbourhood, she teams up with her detective friend, Runa, in a half-hearted attempt to find the murderers, only to suspect that perhaps the detective business doesn’t quite become her. A hilarious account of how not to get involved in other people’s murders, The Reluctant Detective is the story of every school-gate mom, searching for a purpose in her life that goes beyond kitty lunches, shopping and fish pedicures.

The Reluctant Detective‘ by Kiran Manral has been published by Westland & priced at Rs.195/-.

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