Book Title: A Closetful of Skeletons
Author: Tanushree Podder
Total Number of Pages: 296
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Publication Date: 12 December 2017
Genre: Fiction / Murder Mystery / Thriller
As the title suggests A Closetful of Skeletons is a murder mystery penned by Tanushree Podder and published by HarperCollins. I hadn’t read any murder mysteries in a while and being a mystery fanatic, I was craving for some dark mysterious books to read.
At the heart of the storyline is a female protagonist, Ramola, who has been keeping out of the spotlight for a while. Her career in the film industry has been all shades of grey. At some point she has been manipulated and at others, she has played the role of a manipulator. But then, it is known that the film industry is never easy. From being casted in C grade films to becoming a sensation, her success story has left a sour taste on the lips of many of her wingmen (in the sense where important people who helped her to bag roles in the movies).
But, Ramola decides to retire from the limelight at the peak of her stardom. Now, why she chooses to do that isn’t revealed until the end. For her retreat, she picks a secluded place called Ramsar, a beautiful town near Almora. Not visited by many, this place is still hidden from the public’s eye, and her neighbours, let’s just say they know who she is but not really. Ramola, indeed chose a great place to save herself from being followed by the paparazzi.
There were five men who had left their mark in Ramola’s life and she did the same. The connection between Ramola and these five men is resumed after a long time when she takes it upon herself to invite each of them to her birthday party. Of course they try to play coy, rejecting her invitation at first. But they still have some attachments to her and are somewhat putty in her hands. Ramola doesn’t disclose the “important announcement” she is going to make, but she knows that they would show up.
Thus, comes the day of the reunion of Subroto Sen, the director; Sameer Kelkar, the politician; Vikram Ahuja, the star turned nobody; Arif Khan, the person involved in under the table dealings and Rohan Sharma, the dwindling actor. There are other characters who play equally important roles in the storyline but these are the main characters around whom the plot revolves.
Ramola decides to publish her memoir where all these five men make their appearances. Her account will contain all the tell-tale details and let’s just say she doesn’t conceal or sugarcoat any of the details. Now, you get the picture, right? Here is where comes the murder mystery part. I am not going to reveal anything further because that way I would be giving away the whole plotline.
Overall, I liked the book. From the cover to the blurb to the storyline, everything was good. But, the book wasn’t a strong murder mystery for me. I am more into the dark and gory type of mysteries. So, this wasn’t strong enough for me. Also, the storyline was a bit predictable.
The narration was really good. I liked how Tanushree Podder narrated the scenes in details but in a very compact manner. There weren’t too much of details nor too less of details. Just enough to keep you on the edge. Also, I liked how the chapters were really short and had a good closure to each of them. So, none of the chapters felt incomplete nor did I have a feeling that some more details should have been included even though they were short.
The cover goes well with the plotline and a glimpse of the story is reflected on the cover page.
The writing style was also good. Podder has managed to keep a continuous flow and she didn’t slow down or turned up the pace. So, it wasn’t lagging nor was it trying to rush down to the ending scene. The characters were portrayed well. Ramola was definitely a complex and the most developed character. The other five main characters, I felt could have been developed more. Since most of the focus was on Ramola, the characters of the five men, I felt, were a bit neglected.
The language used is lucid and that really helped the scenes to give a vivid picture. There were some minor grammatical errors and missing punctuation marks (like quotation, commas, etc.).
The dialogues could have been written in a better way, where they could have been expressed more with body gestures which I found missing most of the time. That way, I could have pictured the characters feeling happy, being sad, being angry and such.
To sum up, A Closetful of Skeletons makes for a good light murder mystery with a bollywood-esque style. If you’re someone who can’t handle dark mysteries, you can pick this up as it is not that dark of a read. But, you must keep an open mind because there are certain scenes and innuendos which can put you off if you are a very sensitive and delicate reader.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐.5 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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