Sunday, August 7, 2016

Book Review: Eye of the Eagle by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Title: Eye of the Eagle
Author: Shirsendu Mukhopadhyay
Publisher: Bee Books


The Characters…. 
Three Women and Bishan 
Wife Shivangi, wife's friend Nandini and Jahnavi 
The turn of events... 
Nandini is brutally murdered! 
Shivangi is found in the bedroom, lying half naked and fatally injured. 
All evidences are pointing at Bishan. But, is it that simple? 
And the truth… 
Eye of the Eagle delves into the complications of relationships and world of complicated characters where mystery unfolds only through the eyes of Detective Shobor!


‘Eye of the Eagle’ thrives on ambience, which the writer, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, establishes right away with an ongoing interrogation of Bishan Roy, the prime suspect in a murder case. Readers never know any more than the protagonist does.
Shirshendu is known for writing stories with numerous layers. At first glance what appears to be a linear story line actually has so much to offer that only the person who can read between the lines comes out as a wise reader basking in the unsaid. ‘Eye of the Eagle’ is no different. It’s a story of intense sexual relationship, woven together with mystery and suspense.
The story revolves around a handsome vagabond of a man who’s been sexually exploited by various women since childhood and thus has no affinity for women or sex. At times, when he feels suffocated, he goes on a vacation for a few days with his criminal friends without letting anyone know. There, he indulges in wine and women. After one such visit, he comes back and finds his beautiful wife lying in a pool of blood and her secretary/confidante shot. The wife goes into a coma and that is when Shabor enters the scene to investigate the case and take the story forward.
As the story progresses, Shabor Dasgupta — a Lalbazar police detective — has to deal with the complex relationship problems that run deep in the Roy household and the mystery gets more and more complicated as each unseemly knot is untied.
It is a translation and hence I won’t comment on the writing style. The use of short sentences makes for an easy read. The characters are flesh-and-blood but I think would have been better justified with a little more development. It seemed wanting. It is more like watching an ongoing conversation with gaps in between that only one privy to the lives of the concerned can deduce. In spite of the creaking dialogues and halting, step-by-step-by-step deductions, which guarantee a glacial pace, the reader’s curiosity can’t be kept at bay.
The charm of this novella has been turned into a Bengali movie which is to hit the big screen this Independence Day.
I recommend this novella to all those who find themselves amply rewarded by detective tales that more often focus on the how and why than the whodunit part.

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