Review: Tied to Deceit

Tied to Deceit Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“God has given you one face and you give yourself another.” Hamlet by Shakespeare.

Tied to deceit is a whodunit primarily. The strength of a good murder mystery that you should not know about the identity of the killer till the last scene. The conflict in story comes from the weaknesses of human character. Here this book works big time. Unsuccessful marriages, greed, philandering and blackmail: you name it and it has it all.

Dr Rajinder Bhardwaj and his wife Gayatri are a highly respected upper class couple in a small town Sanover. Dr Bhardwaj runs a hospital and has ancestral wealth too. His brother had exogamous marrige for love and was disowned by their father. His nephew Rudra has no such moral dilemma and he is ambitious. He works for him and dreams of inheriting his vast wealth one day and Dr Rajinder is issueless. Dr Rajinder’s is an unhappy marriage in reality but Gayatri gives it an appearance of happy one. She knows full well about his infidelities but ignores. But one fine day she catches him red handed with Devika, a receptionist in hospital. Devika dramatically announces that she is pregnant with Dr Rajinder’s baby. Shortly afterwards she is killed brutally. Now it is up to SP Vishwanath Sharma and SI Rawat to solve the mystery.

This book does not follow the standard template for a murder mystery. There are many red herrings but the focus is more on character development and emotions. Marriages are unhappy in the book. The police men are too good to be true. SP Vishwanath is polite, persevering, considerate and sharp. He is no Sherlock but he is unrelenting. The characters of two main antagonists Devika and Rudra has layers and surprises. Those layers reveal slowly as the book progresses.

The book is nice but the pace is slow. After the initial acceleration it loses momentum. Then it meanders in the side stories which does not add to the overall scheme of story. A tighter editing and chopping off some side stories would have been nice. The track of Dr Namita, Devika’s family etc were not integrated and story would have done without those. In fact, the love interests of Rudra added nothing and seems improbable.

The book gave some nice insights about human nature and marriage. The descriptions of beautiful hill town are awesome. Language is first rate and in the end the book delivers. 3.5/ 5 stars.

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