Debeshi Gooptu’s The Rossogolla Murders is a whodunnit that showcases Kolkata and its delectable delicacies. The strait-laced Mrinalini Sen plays detective when a retired judge drops dead at a high society party after munching a juicy Rossogolla. The chief accused is Mrinalini’s best friend, the colorful socialite Dolly Luthra. It is up to Mrinalini to save her friend from being falsely incriminated and put away behind bars.
Fast-paced, intriguing, and humorous; the book is a delight to read. The characters are well-etched-be it the prim and proper Mrinalini, her supportive parents, the annoying yet endearing Dolly, or the handsome Inspector Saha. Dolly remains her scatter-brained, flirtatious self throughout, while Mrinalini darts across the busy streets of Kolkata to uncover clues and tie up loose ends. The murderer does not stop with one; the bodies start piling up, baffling the police. The Modus Operandi remains the same; death by Rossagolla, a first in any murder mystery.
The real hero of the book is Kolkata. The book is an ode to the city and takes the reader on its tour, highlighting the old-world charm, the historic buildings, the newly constructed malls, the Bengali cuisine, and the Chinese food at Tangra. I hope to visit the City of Joy and discover a shop like Naru Gopal Misthanna Bhandar to sample the mouthwatering Chom Choms and Radha Ballabis. It is impossible to read without salivating or feeling hungry!
The book touches upon friendships and does carry an important message about bullying and the consequences of actions. The murder investigation is taut and takes our ladies to Darjeeling. Though I did not guess the identity of the murderer, the resolution was a tad abrupt. I wish the book stretched for a few more chapters and took more time to establish the background of the murderer. Also, the drama around Mrinalini and her husband warranted a tighter conclusion. Perhaps this is to set the stage for a sequel.
The writing is fast-paced and lucid. It keeps the reader hooked from the first page to the end. The banter is fun to read and engaging. I will never be able to look a Rossogolla in the eye again without thinking of this murder mystery! I love our desi sleuth and look forward to her investigating the streets of Kol, described like never before. Murder-mystery lovers, come fall in love with Mrinalini and Kolkata!
I received this book in a Penmancy giveaway.