With its pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters, the picturesque hamlet of Movim in Goa seems like the perfect holiday spot for detective Janardan Maity and his friend Prakash Ray. But when the father of a local teenage girl receives a letter asking for a large sum of money in exchange for his daughter, Maity and Prakash find themselves in the thick of an unlikely mystery. For, they discover, the girl has not been kidnapped at all, and is safe and sound in her house.
As they begin to investigate, the duo encounter the mysterious characters who inhabit the tiny village, each hiding a secret of their own – not least the frail and shy Sally Sequeira, who keeps to herself but steps out at night to dance to the notes of a piano.
What truth does Movim hide? And how will Janardan Maity solve a crime that has not yet been committed?
Thank you Hachette India for providing a review copy! All opinions in the following review are my own honest thoughts.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Things I liked about the book:
- The plot line was really nice. It can be difficult to write a well-rounded detective story, but Chattopadhyay manages to pull off the “mystery” factor pretty well.
- The story was not one filled with unnecessary details. It is short, compact and hooking.
- The whole assembly of a variety of characters. Detective stories have a typical way of incorporating a certain group of new characters for every installment, and this is what makes each novel different and interesting. The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira has realistic and smoothly written characters that enhance the plotline.
- The setting. I have never been to Goa, but it seems to be a rather smart choice for a backdrop. I don’t remember reading anything before that has been set in Goa, especially not a detective novel, and I was charmed by the beautiful descriptions and the secluded and breezy feel it lent to the story.
Things I didn’t like about the book:
- Being a Bengali, I have been brought up on the steady diet of fish and Feluda novels. There was too much of the latter in this book. There is a very fine line between inspiration and plain echoing, and I wish this book had more of its own style to offer. The author is clearly a good writer, and I personally feel that he could reach his best potential by letting go of the Byomkesh-Feluda-Holmes-Poirot vibe that overshadowed everything else.
- I wish I liked Prakash a bit more. Since the Feluda comparison is inevitable, I can’t help but compare Prakash to Topshe (who I LOVE with all my heart, just saying).
The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira is a great beach read. If you are looking for a short and fast-paced detective novel to read, this one is perfect. Although the book has its limitations, I believe that the author has a lot of potential and can grow better at this art with a few alterations in style. Sidenote, the cover of this book is gorgeous.
Visit Amazon to get yourself a copy of this book: https://www.amazon.in/Disappearance-Sally-Sequeira-Bhaskar-Chattopadhyay/dp/9351951723