Before we start – cards on the table time.
I was sent “How to kill a billionaire” by Juggernaut, to test and review their new app for reading on your smartphone. Click here to read my review in my other blog.
But boy oh boy, did ever I make a good choice when I picked this title out from a list Juggernaut kindly gave me to chose from (ouch – that’s a pretty ugly sentence).
“How to kill a billionaire” is an absolute cracker of a read, and I loved it from start to finish – I didn’t work one whole afternoon, ignoring my computer and a pile of editing, in order to finish this gripping book.
And what a clever book it is too. You are told the facts of the crime almost at the outset, but it is the unravelling of the where’s and why’s and how’s that grips you.
I am (I like to flatter myself) by and large a nice person, so there won’t be any spoilers here. Pukka.
But since the blurb says, upfront “When a billionaire’s son goes missing after a young girl commits suicide…”, you know from the outset that it’s going to be a book about dissecting a crime and its repercussions. And that is as far as I’m going to go, otherwise I really will spoil the book for you.
The setting is “Thirty Thousand Courts” in Delhi, and it took me a page or two (e-page, I suppose one should call them) to twig.
Thirty Thousand Courts = Tis Hazari. (Yeah, I’m quick like that.)
The descriptions of the cramped, squalid offices where so much of Delhi’s legal work is done are excellent and I learned some legal odds and ends along the way :
Did not know cross examination was so crucial.
Mr. Talwar writes well and cleverly, and through the voice of his main protagonist, we get a glimpse of life in the cramped, seedy, corrupt-but-functioning world of Thirty Thousand Courts:
I also learned a little more about Indian food – how have I never eaten a “fain”, in all my years in India?
As the story unfolds, over tea and “fain” and sometimes kebabs and whisky, the lawyer talks to Lord Patel – and to we, the reader – explaining what happened, and no, don’t worry, I am not going to tell you & spoil what is a truly great read.
100% recommended for both Indian and overseas readers. Since Lord Patel, to whom the narrator directs his story, is a foreign based Indian, who has supposedly lost touch with some of the ground realities of living in India, the narrator often explains things to him – a boon for readers who may not know India intimately.
Click here to read an interesting Q&A with the author.
To read this gripping novel, first download the Juggernaut app onto your smartphone if you don’t already have it, then download the book.