When two best-selling crime authors come together, the result’s got to be one helluva novel right? Private India is a part in a ‘Private’ world wide series written by James Patterson and a local author (usually),in this case Ashwin Sanghi and is a super murder mystery set in Mumbai that keeps the reader guessing.
A murder is discovered in a hotel by a maid, and strange symbols appear on the site of the murder. The murdered woman is discovered to be an accomplished surgeon. Tied to her hands are a lotus and a fork, and tied to a foot is a tiny Viking helmet. She has been strangulated, and a yellow scarf tied to her neck. Private India, an investigating agency headed by Santosh is called in to investigate the case in collaboration with the Police headed by ACP Rupesh.
After the first murder of the doctor, the series of murders continue with more women being discovered with strange symbols around them and the yellow scarf around their necks. After the doctor,.a journalist, a famous singer, an influential politician, a social-worker, and a school principal are all found dead killed by seemingly the same person in a similar fashion. All the women are found with yellow garrotes around their necks and strange symbols around them. The team is flummoxed and is unable to find the common link apart from a few unrelated people whose names keep cropping up during the investigation. Santosh and team need to find out how the murders are connected, what the symbols are, what story the murderer is trying to tell and who the next targets are before the murderer gets to them. The urgency to solve this case increases further as sinister events unfold on the side and the murderer strikes again and again.
Other parallel story lines involve a gang lord who is simultaneously plotting bomb blasts, a corrupt Attorney General whose name crops up during investigation of several murders, Santosh’s team members most of who have a troubled past and Santosh’s turbulent relationship with erstwhile close friend ACP Rupesh.
The mystery in itself is quite a page turner which keeps the reader hooked and wondering what will happen next while trying to analyze the preceding murders to see how they are connected. I also enjoyed the characterization of the many people introduced in the book and could almost imagine the story unfold.
However, what I didn’t think fitted with the main storyline were all of the parallel storylines that I mentioned earlier. Infact, the book could have entirely done without including any of the other parts even as they added words and more complexity to the script and tried to befuddle the reader. For example, I found the terrorist links in the book to be completely unnecessary and a waste of words really.