In The Shadow Of Death is the first book in the Detective Agni Mitra series written by the author Sourabh Mukherjee. It is a murder mystery set in the City of Joy, Kolkata. Actually one of the reason I picked up this book is because Kolkata is my home town.
The story is about a series of murders taking place in the city and detective Agni Mitra detects a pattern in those murders and somehow gets a link as well to unveil the serial killer. This pyscho killer had hatred for adultery and his target is always women indulging in infidelity.
The author seems to have some tilt towards the infidelity and adultery topic. I have read his Romance Shorts – a collection of short stories in which some stories were on infidelity. In fact I felt one whole short story was lifted from Romance Short and fitted in this book. Since it is his own book there was no copy right issue in it. But In The Shadow of Death seems to be a continuation of Romance Shorts.
Anyways coming back to the book, the plot remain highly unpredictable. Though it was not difficult to guess who will be the next target of the psycho killer but who is the killer and how he will be caught is something which will keep the readers hooked to the book. Murder mystery was quite similar to the television show CID.
Agni Mitra’s character was well portrayed but he was nothing like Satyajiy Ray’s Feluda who has superb analytical and observational skills to dig out clues that solves the mysteries. May be his character will strengthen in the upcoming books of the series.
One character which overshadows Agni Mitra’s character is the antagonist, the killer. I think this is the first murder mystery novel I have read, there might be some I am not aware about, which gives a peek into the mind of the killer. Excluding his real identity, readers will know everything about the killer as author tells his story in first person, which runs parallel with the main story. Readers will be well aware of killer’s state of mind, his illogical reason to kill. His unique style of writing made the novel engrossing and interesting to read.
Something I didn’t like about the novel is the female characters described on a shallow line. Almost all the female characters in the story are not happy with their married life, are sexually deprived, are seeking sexual pleasure outside marriage, sleeping around with any random guy. It gives a little bad taste while reading and consequently lacks in depth.
It is a good one time read and could be completed in one sitting. Giving murderer’s point of view in the story was a masterstroke which makes the book all more intriguing to read.