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Updated: September 18, 2013 16:29 IST

Between the lines

PAYAL CHHABRIA
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The latest in the murder mystery series — Adventures of Nikki — part-fails, part-succeeds in its attempt to thrill, engage and entertain…

Between its predictable beginning and evident end, Murder at Crescent Point — G.S. Dutt’s third in the Adventures of Nikki thread of murder mysteries — trails through twists and turns that try hard, and incessantly, to thrill or at the least, engage.

The varied elements right from the character sketches, the display of description, the dialogue and the scenes are like the many pieces of a puzzle that are distinctly appealing, but consume the effort of the player (in this case, the reader) in stringing them together, to make wholesome sense.

Meet Nicky

Nikki is sweet, honest, hardworking, young, fearless and overly-adventurous. She travels places, towns and cities, alone, visits and interrogates suspects, visits the police, every other day, and is trapped and rescued, now and then. On one hand, that is naturally inspiring and illusory, on the other.

Set against the backdrop of high school and in a story that sees a young girl lose her best friend and parents their only child, there is a certain melancholy missing in the pages, which maybe a good and conscious attempt, in case the author has written it, specifically, for young, first-time adventure readers. And if that is the case, it denies them of the energy and pace that a saga of this genre must have.

The story, however, oozes an innate and obvious freshness, innocence and lightness, and may serve as a respite after a hard-day at school or a spark of refreshment after an exhausting game of sport. The intervals between the highs and the corresponding lows are just right, and cause the reader to keep guessing and in turn, maybe come back for more. It’s crisp and to-the-point language, however, deprives the book of natural, life-like and free-spirited conversation and makes dialogue seem like a deliberate and difficult attempt.

Part Interesting

Now and then, it digresses, from its original — and only — goal, and alternates between insignificant and interesting sub-plots.

Now, whether that is a distraction or deviation, deliberate or natural, is a matter of perception. Whether the murderer surprises or not, is a matter of contention. And whether these pages thrill and engage, is a matter of opinion. But then, isn’t everything?

Title: Murder at Crescent Point

Author: G.S. Dutt

Publisher: Wisdon Tree

Price: Rs. 145

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