Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsA fair read for seekers of contemporary detective fiction
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 15 January 2021
Hidden among the bursting shots of crackers a man shot himself on the illuminated night of the festival of lights. The Death of Vikram Patel made the headlines across the city of Ahemdabad.
On the other side of the story, we have our Newbie detective in thirst for a case, a crime to solve and redemption to win over all the ridicules thrown at him for dreaming.
Ghanshyam Shastri is a story of a budding detective and about how he lands his first case to detective-dom. It is a story of his ventures across the case files and investigations into the dreary case of Vikram Patel's suicide.
Was it a suicide? or was it an exceptionally well-planned murder?
time will tell if you stick long enough with this young detective called Ghanshyam.
The plot involves the financial struggles of Ghanshyam and the jest he faced in dreaming to be a detective in the practical world. It focuses a big part on the 'Takhat' in their house and also on his love-interest Madhuri.
The plot also involves a curious case of whodunnit with an apparent twist. TBH you cannot guess who has committed the crime or if it really is one till the end but all things have a reason and this isn't an exception. The deductions made by Mr. Shashtri are filial and I do not see a factor of interest in any of them.
A good novel of Whodunnit involves laying the facts bare and letting the readers progress through the case and think it through who could be the person of interest. In the case of this book, all the curious and purely significant facts have been revealed at the climax, so there goes all the guesswork.
Now, let me tell you something about the language called Hindi. In here we use a term called "Hai na?" which translates into isn't it in English. This phrase is usually seen in sentences when a person asks for confirmation from the listener if they have the same opinion on the subject. Now some people use this Hindi trend of using Na and converting the sentence into a question by putting it into the end. Now, it may go well with Hindi but surely isn't correct when we use No at the end of sentences without reason. For instance, the sentence, "That is why I am here for, No?"
I understand the author is trying to say isn't it but finding the same unhealthy usage of No in an English sentence to satisfy their Hindi tongue sometimes becomes unbearable.
There is one instance when a Madhuri, Mr. Ghanshyam's girlfriend asks him to get an assistant because apparently, Ghansham reminded her of "Vyomkesh & Ajit".
This particular instance sets me off on multiple levels firstly because the spelling is Byomkesh with a B and secondly No, this cannot be a misprint. Most importantly all of the famous detectives had aid for them, be it Watson for Sherlock, Ajit for Byomkesh, Tapesh for Feluda, or Hastings for Poirot. I don't see a reason that Ghanshyam reminded her of A misspelled Byomkesh & Ajit but not of the entire Genre.
When I look at Ghanshyam, he lacks the charisma of Sherlock, the ingenuity and calmness of Poirot, the charm of Feluda, or the professional efficiency of Byomkesh. So in here, I spot originality in developing a character who is different.
I feel that a lot more research could have been put into the book to grant realism, for example, the different sizes in Starbucks are not small, medium & large but tall, grande, venti, etc.
The book could have focused a bit less on Ghanshyam's romantic exploits and built up the mystery a little better.
On a concluding note, if the shortcomings listed above don't bother you? Case 1 of Ghanshyam Shashtri is a fairly enjoyable read for beginners at detective fiction and souls seeking more mystery in their lives.