Book Review: Bhrigu Mahesh, PhD : The Return of Damayanti

For a reader who is fond of reading thrillers, this book looked quite interesting. I mean I am used to reading Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot and hence I got excited when I received this book by an Indian author, Nisha Singh. This is the second book in the Bhrigu Mahesh PhD series. I have not read the first one but am particularly happy that I got to read this one.

The novel is quite lengthy as its a 400 plus pages book (432 to be precise) but not for a single moment you would feel bored. I, for instance finished the book pretty fast as I was too curious to get to the bottom of this mystery!

The story is set in Krishna Dwar, a fictitious town in North India which is a popular pilgrim spot (as the name suggests). Bhrigu Mahesh is an ex Policeman turned private detective who works with his friend Sutte. The relationship between them bears an uncanny resemblance with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Sutte fails to read between the lines unlike his genius friend. He is called for help by a retired clerk Nataraj Bhakti who is haunted by his dead wife. Bhrigu Mahesh and Sutte go to Krishna Dwar and stay at Nataraj Bhakti's place to solve the mystery of his dead wife. Things take an ugly turn when Nataraj's sister is murdered.

Why is fate playing so bad with the poor retired clerk? First he is unable to lead a peaceful life because of the haunting by his dead wife. He had performed every ritual which was required to rest her soul in peace according to him. So why her ghost? And as misfortune would have it, his dear sister is murdered. Her beautiful, talented, widowed sister with whom he had communication problems but whom he loved and cared unconditionally. Bhakti was already living in hell with his parasite brother and his wife and was tired of being drained financially and emotionally. When his sister is murdered, his woes multiply by heaps and he is unable to tolerate anymore. Bhrigu comes to his rescue.

Now there arise two cardinal questions. Has his dead wife returned or is it a prank? Wo killed his sister? Why does he stop seeing his wife's ghost after the murder of his sister? Are these two incidents interrelated? 

This book unfolds mystery page by page as the genius Bhrigu Mahesh puts the pieces of the puzzle together. There are so many intriguing things. Bhrigu Mahesh is shown to condemn marriage at the beginning of the story and as the book progresses further, it is seen how marriage has so many problems. Here is an interesting twist as to how villagers are hypnotized by so called preachings of a famous priest. Finally the truth is unfolded whether the ghost is real or not!

What I did not like is that Sutte was portrayed as someone who does not read between the lines at all. It is analogous to 'Elementary my dear Watson'. I mean he must be intelligent enough otherwise how could he be Bhrigu 's assistant in the first place? Even then, the book is a non stop interesting read.

I salute Nisha Singh for coming out with this thriller based in a small town.

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