13 January, 2018
Five men are on their way to a hill station, where Ramola, a fading movie star, waits to make an announcement that will change their lives forever — reads the jacket of A Closetful of Skeletons. Uhuh. Is it something like Sunset Boulevard (film), we thought.
The similarities are there — the protagonist is a fading star, and the book serves some delicious gossip, the insecurities and cut-throat competition that prevails in the film world. But Ramola, unlike Norma (the ageing star in Sunset Boulevard) doesn’t live under any illusion that she is going to make a grand come-back. She is happy with the world she has created in Ramsar, a hill-station in up north, pursuing other interests, living a secluded, but not a lonely life.
But her past does have a presence in her present. Ramola has written her autobiography — ‘exposé’ being the right term. And, she has invited five men, from her past, to celebrate her new project. However, the men get jittery when they hear about the book. They have got everything to lose if their exploits become public knowledge. No wonder then that two days after the announcement of the book, Ramola is found murdered.
This opens up the trail of whos, whys and hows with ASP Tim Thapa and Colonel Acharya trying to outwit the killer/s. In the process, they figure out the enigmatic persona of Ramola, who is described variously by her detractors as ‘hard as nails’, ‘cold’, ‘calculating’ and ‘selfish’.
For a thriller mystery to click with the readers, it has to be fast-paced and a page turner. A Closetful of Skeletons is a page-turner, but the pace lags a bit when the author tries to set up a scene too lavishly. And, yet when the climax comes, the reader is in for a surprise. All our guesswork results in a naught. The credit is due to the author, whose first attempt at writing a thriller, gets a thumbs up.
2018-01-14 Verified purchase
Definitely Recommend This
Finally, after a long time got to read a nice mystery novel. Bought copies of it at the book fair and Amazon, as had heard a lot about it. This book definitely keeps you engaged from the first page to the end, the book has its moments and lives up to the hype. Definitely recommend it to every mystery bug out there looking for something different to read!
A Surprising Find
If you are an avid reader, it is quite possible that you build a certain image of an author and start associating them with certain genres. Tanushree Podder’s latest is that surprise find. Her book A Closet Full of Skeletons is a departure from her other books where at least three of them have the armed forces as the backdrop and two are historical fiction. Knowing fully well that it is a murder mystery (the title does its bit), I picked this up without hesitation. For one, her writing brings a sense of comforting familiarity. Second, her subjects are always thoroughly researched, thus ensuring a delightful read.
A Closetful of skeletons is the story of Ramola a fading star who decides to exit gracefully and move to the hills. Readers are given a glimpse of her brief tryst with the filmwallahs, including a mafia don with filmi connection. The book begins with each one of them receiving a phone invite to her upcoming birthday party where she plans to make an announcement - also connected to them. I will say that is the start of a mystery because along with the characters, it leaves the reader wondering about the announcement and the consequence it holds for each of them.
The hills offer a stark yet pretty contrast. This is where Ramola has made her home and finds some peace and contentment. A group of seniors who meet over gossip, and a game of bridge seem to be the only source of excitement in this sleepy town. Until a murder happens, that is.
On the day of celebration and announcement, Ramola’s two worlds – the erstwhile murky and the present jolly and peaceful – come together on the lawns of her bungalow. A night later she is murdered, which undoubtedly had been provoked by her announcement. What then follows is a thrilling turn of pages that leads to a nail-biting finish.
The characters from both the worlds are etched so well that it is not easy to get muddled up. The writing style is breezy (in fact some choice of words is a delightful find). It’s not easy to ignore the author’s love for travel, where Podder sprinkles the Italian connection quite generously.
With a tight plot, delightful characters, quirky connections and the charmed world of a sleepy mountain town as a backdrop, A Closetful of Skeletons is simply a treat for that lazy weekend afternoon.
It's such a fun read! The interplay between characters and the plot is excellent. I finished it in a day!
It's not exactly Agatha Christie level in the sense that the writing is much more modern but the atmosphere in the book and the closed-door suspense will delight all Christie lovers like me.
I was born in hills, so as I came ...
I was born in hills, so as I came across this book it felt that, "Wow, hills". A book having a urban touch alongwith a traditional style. Satirical. Innovative way of penning.
Enjoyed reading about Ramola's life
Enjoyed reading about Ramola's life. Spent time tracing and figuring out the murderer along with Colonel. The journey was every bit enjoyable as thrilling. Good Xmas read.
Great holiday read. It is fast paced and well-detailed. Would definitely recommend to all murder mystery enthusiasts.
25 December 2017
Format: Paperback| Verified Purchase
A riveting read!
Customer Review5.0 out of 5 starsA great accompaniment for a winter afternoon!
By Kalpana on December 25, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
A suspense story that goes well with your cup of hot tea and a wintry afternoon; with an interesting twist towards the end.
As the story unfolds, the author takes you through the tiny sleepy town of Ramsar and the lives of its myriad inhabitants. If you love idyllic towns with natural settings, you are bound to fall in love with Ramsar. I know, I did.
Ramola, a former film star is one of the more recent residents of this town. She has a few skeletons in her cupboard and they in turn, have their own. So, when there is a danger of these skeletons tumbling out, she gets killed and the whodunnit begins.
Get ready to spend some time in a sleepy hill-town, chasing killers and clues, all from the comfort of your room.
Five men are on their way to a hill station, where Ramola, a fading movie star, waits for them to make an announcement that will change their lives forever. Ramola withdrew from the public eye at the peak of her stardom. Now, surrounded by retired couples spending their twilight years gardening and gossiping, her life is idyllic. Or at least it was, till the night of her birthday party, when she announces that her tell-all memoir will soon be published. The book, documenting her rise to fame, puts each of her ex-lovers' careers in jeopardy. As each desperate man tries to save himself, Ramola is drawn back into the very web of lies and deception she'd left behind. By the time the party is over, Ramola's neighbour, retired army officer and amateur sleuth, Colonel Arjun H. Acharya, has found his first murder to solve. A Closetful of Skeletons reels you into a cosy world of fresh mountain air, long-drawn bridge games and bloody murder.
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