Sunday, October 31, 2010
Six Suspects. Yet another book I picked up because I thought the cover was pretty. Oh well. We all have to make our decisions based on some type of criteria, right? So what if mine is a shallow one. It works for me. To prove it let me tell you that once again the pretty cover got the job done. Six Suspects is a fun, fun read.
Vikas Swarup's previous novel was the inventive and fascinating Q&A which was made into the movie Slumdog Millionaire. As with Q&A, Six Suspects takes place in India, combines horrific with humor and follows the old "life is like an onion" adage; as each layer peels away the story becomes more pungent, deliously out of control and strong. Oh yeah and in their own way they are both mysteries as well.
Suspects is about solving the murder of Vivek Raiwho. Should anyone care that Vivek is dead? Sleazy Vivek is the playboy son of a government official who among other things was himself acquitted of murder despite a multitude of witness to his crime. The six suspects in Vivek's murder are taken directly from Central Casting: the Actress, the idiot American looking for a mail order bride, the Bureaucrat, the Tribal native, the Thief and the Politician. The setting is as satisfyingly well contained and populated as any Ms. Christie could devise. So far mystery traditionalists will be happy. What next? Flashbacks from the suspects and multiple false endings. It's a Bollywood version of Clue complete with plenty of witty and biting satire on Indian politics and culture.
Six Suspects is no subtle puzzler. This mystery novel is loud and brash, Dehli noir. At the start of Suspects we're told that there is a caste system even in murders. There is one in books too and I would say that this one is somewhere up around Brahmin.