Book Review: The Mahabharata Murders - Arnab Ray

The Mahabharata Murders is a crime drama by Arnab Ray. What could provide a more coherent background for a crime scene than the Mahabharata, the famous Indian epic with all its fascination, but also with the many dark sides such as the dubious fratricidal machinations of Duryodhana on the shadowy world of the Pandavas?

No epic is so suitable for a crime story like the Mahabharata, where the battle of Kurukshetra fuels the interest of many Indians. It is not without reason that each chapter is initiated with the name of Draupadi, Sahadeva, Nakula, Arjuna, Bheema, and Yudhistira. The characters range from brilliant strategists to the ones who share a sense of arrogance and malignity.

Arnab's novel has its strengths in the almost sardonic reworking of the characters with a serial killer hunting for his prey in the streets of Kolkata. The characters move like chess figures, and even those who love the epic cannot free themselves from vanities.

The Mahabharata Murders is very vicious and the greatest pleasure is to guess the real characters hiding behind the figures.

The main theme is nothing is as it seems. In fact, the reality is often different, because everybody lives a small or big drama.

The skillful dramaturgy does one thing. Just when one thinks everything has been seen, Arnab delivers an unexpected volte, which makes the events appear in a different light. Stylistically the novel is captivating, that tickles the curiosity of the reader by pushing them to solve the puzzle themselves.

Written by alternating multiple events and reinforced by a well-constructed weave, the narrative quickly reaches the end. In the end, there is more to it than just being a few murders.

With great narrative talent, Arnab pushes forward an action that develops an irresistible pull and which does not wear over more than 250 pages. He tells a contemporary story and it is a remarkable idea of adopting this theme. This is once again an exciting book by the author. It is great fun to read his works.

Arnab's narrative keeps one in a spell. Driven by the question of how it goes on and who the murderer is, you cannot put it out of your hands until you have read the last chapter. But during the reading one does not remain in the realm of fiction. There is a reason behind everything. Arnab creates a scene with great proximity to reality.

Arnab is a master narrator who relies on his wits. He always succeeds in making the right tale. In doing so, he is an articulate artist. The author unfolds his story and shows that an epic like Mahabharata can also be a place for a gripping piece of literature.

What at first glance looks like a simple whodunit turns out to be a complex work with several levels. You always have to be on your guard as the tension never leaves. It is an extraordinary novel that at the same time have crime, romance, social drama and pure fiction. The book as a whole is striking, intense and overwhelming. It reads quickly because like every good thriller it respects you need to find out the guilty.

The Mahabharata Murders is thus a vivid portrait of a human reality from which we all try to escape, often with tragic outcomes. At the same time, it is one of the most beautiful thrillers of recent years and is recommended to those who usually do not read such novels.

The Mahabharata Murders - Arnab Ray
Kalyan Panja