Books

‘Whisper to Me Your Lies’ looks at the cause and effect of crime

“There is a dark alley within each of us, no matter how polished we may appear on the outside; a side that is disturbed and fascinated by the morbid,” says author Novoneel Chakraborty, talking about his latest book, Whisper To Me Your Lies.

While Whisper To Me... might be his 17th novel, Chakraborty says it was his first attempt at penning a murder mystery.

“Most of my books have been romantic thrillers and the plot for a hardcore crime thriller had eluded me till now. I always wanted to write one of these because I am a fan of crime movies and novels myself.”

“What excites me as a story teller is the emotional quotient of my characters and it took me a while to visualise a plot with this angle for this genre. I believe whenever a crime happens, the trigger, motive or cause is usually a fractured relationship.”

Chakraborty says the buzz behind the morbid Debjani De case in Kolkata a few years ago had lingered on in his mind.

“I could not stop thinking about that case and though Whisper To Me... is not based on that crime, I pondered on the story of a family and how I could couch it in a crime thriller.”

Chakraborty says he read up on a lot of serial killings both in India and abroad to delve into the reasoning behind what drives people to commit such crimes. “I realised it was an ocean out there — both in terms of crimes and the books written on them. There was very little room to come up with a motive or modus operandi dissimilar to what one may have already heard about.”

“Within a family the relationship between a mother and son is very different from that of a father and daughter. There is an innate, visceral quality to these relationships and that is what I decided to explore in my book. I’ve also looked at the disarray that ensues when there is an absentee parent and a lack of communication within the members of a family.”

Ekantika Pakrashi, the protagonist of Whisper To Me... , is a UPSC hopeful from a small town, who finds herself to be a person of interest in a murder that seems to be the work of a serial killer. “On a visit to Delhi, I noticed a subculture of sorts surrounding the UPSC, its aspirants and coaches. I thought it would be nice to set a story in this background as a deliberate departure from my previous books.”

Chakraborty, 36, is a full-time writer and says his process of creating is a bit chaotic.

“I figure things out as I go along. Writing has helped me understand myself better. I feel it is important that whatever line of work we are in, we should have evolved a bit from what we last created. I can’t be the same person who wrote my last book — that would be pointless. There has to be a sense of give and take between the creator and the creation.”

His next book which is already underway, is a sequel to his 2010 novel, That Kiss in the Rain . “The book had an open ending and it wasn’t until now that I was ready to explore the fate of those characters.”

Novoneel who began writing short stories in college admits that becoming a writer was not his first career choice. “It was while writing those short stories that I fell in love with the process of knitting together a plot, of telling a story and it dawned on me that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” he says, adding that any career choice in India that does not fall in the mainstream milieu is never an easy one.

Published by Penguin, Whisper To Me Your Lies (₹199) is available in bookstores and online.


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Printable version | Apr 5, 2022 1:51:22 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/books/whisper-to-me-your-lies-looks-at-the-cause-and-effect-of-crime/article37246707.ece