A film set becomes the scene of a murder when filmstar Ryan is killed. The accusing finger points at his lover Sheila, as the two of them had a huge row. Time for detective Vikram Rana to step in and conduct an investigation…
Vikram Rana Series #3
Vikram Rana knows he is lucky to have narrowly escaped the scorn of his wife, Veena: he forgot all about her birthday but found a brilliant solution: a holiday for two! Veena most certainly never may find out that the vacation was booked by Vikram’s secretary on the very day of Veena’s birthday… Now, all is forgiven and the couple looks forward to having some quality time together in Darjeeling before picking up their little daughter, staying with Veena’s parents in Kolkata. But those who know Vikram are well aware that the detective has a knack for turning up at the right time and place when a murder most foul is committed…
Darjeeling – a luxury bungalow. The scene is set. The scene for the next bit of film to shoot but also the scene of the murder… We meet director Paddy, producer Rusty and leading stars Ryan and Sheila, a couple both on and off-screen. Also present are Sheila’s mother, Jaya, and another film star, Olivia. And there are more people… but for now, the attention is focussed on Ryan as he is clearly in agony because of his stomach aches. Jaya’s mother has medicine to cure him but the following events come as a shock to everyone: Ryan is found dead. Murdered. The accusing finger points at mother and daughter, Sheila and Jaya.
But there is more: Sheila, in utter distress, tries to commit suicide. Or so it is believed. To everyone involved, Ryan’s death seems an open and shut case now since Sheila obviously admitted guilt with her suicide attempt. Or did she? Veena, an old friend of Sheila, is determined Vikram has to intervene and stop Sheila from being arrested for murder. There goes their holiday! But every clue Vikram follows, leads to Sheila – did she murder Ryan? They were lovers and had a row so perhaps it was a crime of passion? When the film crew moves on to Kolkata, Vikram and Veena follow suit – determined not to rest until the killer is caught!
Behind the Scenes is a cleverly plotted detective novel in which we meet again (for me, as this is the second book in the series to review), with Vikram Rana. As he is on a holiday with his wife, we learn a bit more about their relationship and that is lovely. The Indian ‘Bollywood’ scene is so interesting and at the same time, shows remarkable similarities with the Hollywood stories about the loves and lives of the famous. The love for Agatha Christie shines through in all the author writes – and here it was a sentence that kept catching my eyes and I was very sure this was a major clue as to not only the murderer but also the how.
Little did I know… but that is for you to find out! I cannot even quote the sentence here because that, again, might be giving it away! Apart from the attention to detail, which for me, could have been less as it distracts from the plotlines and mostly, is not necessary for the story, I only wished Vikram would not judge everyone to such high standards – a protagonist with flaws is easier to empathise with! The author has captured the sights and flavours of India perfectly and crafted her plot (with twists!) well, which makes ‘Behind the Scenes’ an enjoyable and exotic detective novel, recommendable for fans of Agatha Christie.
About the Author
Sharmishtha Shenoy is the author of the book Vikram Rana Investigates. Her short stories have been published in Efiction Magazine and Woman’s Era. She also loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she herself likes to read. Her favourite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series. She was born in Calcutta and has done her post-graduation from the University of Reading, Great Britain. She lives in Hyderabad.