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Updated: January 15, 2014 18:04 IST

Not out-of-the-world

UTHRA NAGARAJAN
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The Cosmic Clues by Manjiri Prabhu.
The Cosmic Clues by Manjiri Prabhu.

Solving mysteries with the help of astrology, The Cosmic Clues is a quirky and unconventional detective novel…

Remember Nancy Drew, the teen sleuth who solved mysteries with logic and reasoning? Meet Sonia Samarth, the protagonist of Manjiri Prabhu’s debut book The Cosmic Clues, who is India’s answer to Nancy Drew. But wait, Sonia Samarth is also a highly skilled astrologer who uses her knowledge in solving crimes.

Hailed as India’s first “astro-detective”, The Cosmic Clues’ Sonia Samarth is your regular girl-next-door. A bit eccentric and unconventional, she reads the horoscopes of people involved in the cases to solve them and find the culprit.

Detective drama

Sonia sets up Stellar Investigations, a detective agency, to put her knowledge to good use. A cat brings her luck in the form of her first case. Sonia proves her mettle by successfully solving it and many come to her for help after that. There is no looking back for her and she becomes a leading detective.

The book doesn’t narrate a continuous story, but a series of short stories rather, with a few recurring characters.

Inspector Divekar, television anchor Mohnish and Sonia’s assistant Jatin are the other characters who make appearances in all the stories.

Inspector Divekar proves to be of vital help when she needs information; Mohnish, who is skeptical initially and disregards Sonia’s style of working, starts respecting and admiring her work later on. There is also a hint of a love angle between Sonia and Mohnish.

Jatin as Sonia’s affable and a bit kooky assistant plays the perfect foil, though he seems enamoured by her for the most part. The Owl, an International crook, is also thrown in between the stories, hinting at a much bigger plot and a sequel to follow.

The language is quite good although the author goes a tad overboard in certain descriptions. Each case’s plot is quite simple. However, some of the cases are albeit too simple and sound like they could be solved without the help of astrology.

The book, though it treads on new territory by incorporating astral science in solving crimes, doesn’t sound confident enough. Sonia defends using astrology in her work now and then, instilling her own faith into the business.

The Cosmic Clues is not a complicated, edge-of-the-seat crime novel which keeps you riveted, but rather a collection of smartly written stories which you can read on lazy afternoons.

Title: The Cosmic Clues

Author: Manjiri Prabhu

Publisher: Jaico Publishing House

Price: Rs. 299

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