Thank you Neena for giving me a free copy of your book in exchange for and honest review
A mystery set in a small town in 70's India, Tied to Deceit is an awesomely delightful read full of complex layers. Tied to deceit is primarily a whodunit. I am a believer in that the strength of a good murder mystery is that you should not know about the identity of the killer until the last scene. The conflict in the story comes from the weaknesses of human character, unsuccessful marriages, greed, human nature and blackmail: you name it this book has it.
The best thing I loved about Tied to deceit is its characterization. Neena did a wonderful job of developing her characters, adding plenty of light and shades to their personality. In delving into the personal lives of these people, we are shown the clashes of modern and old society, the difficulties faced by women and the strictures imposed by social expectations.
Dr Rajinder Bhardwaj and his wife Gayatri are a highly respected upper-class couple in a small town Sanover. Dr Bhardwaj runs a hospital and has ancestral wealth too. Dr Rajinder’s is an unhappy marriage but in reality, but Gayatri gives an illusion of a happy one. She knows full well about his infidelities but chooses to turn a blind eye. One day she catches him red-handed with Devika, a receptionist in the hospital.
Neena’s writing style honestly made me detest Devika, I couldn’t feel anything but detestation for her. Devika is an attractive, cunning, thoroughly immoral, and vicious young woman. Devika is unpopular at the hospital where she works and is disliked by members of her own family because she chose to be independent and live apart from her husband. One morning, she is found murdered in her bed
It is up to SP Vishwanath Sharma and SI Rawat to solve the mystery. The investigation looks straightforward in the beginning turns out to be more complex as the mystery deepens. The story and investigation follow Superintendent Sharma and his assistant Rawat, as they painstakingly question all the suspects and unravel the hidden secrets of Devika’s life. They slowly put together her final days and find out who killed Devika and why. As the investigate gains momentum it becomes clear that there are too many murder suspects and motives; almost everyone who knew her seems to have a motive for killing her. Sharma rightly believes that quite a few of the interviewees are hiding something, and he receives a note that seems to point him toward a killer—or possibly a scapegoat.
The book is much more than a stereotypical murder mystery it has deeper layers; a story not only of murder but of infidelity and its devastating consequences, human relations, and social normality. I found the books ending to be fast, to the point and nicely tidied up. Neena wraps the story up quite well there are no long chapters or unnecessary details. I would like to think of myself as murder mystery buff (I’m quite good at Cluedo) and this book kept me guessing till the end I honestly had no idea.