Barnabas – Book review

Another racy thriller is out in the market for all you whodunit lovers. It is called Barnabas and has been written by Sangeeta Nambiar. A murder mystery set in Mumbai, the book is simple, pacy and well-written. Researching a bit on Sangeeta, I found that she is a director at this link: and that she has vast experience in acting and theater at this link: So frankly I was quite impressed with her even before I started reading the book. Adding to this was the simple pretty cover and the leading blurb. Before I started reading the book I researched on the title, as I often do to find out any connections that will help me enjoy the book more and I found out that Barnabas, born Joseph, was an early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. Barnabas' story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. All this was courtesy but it didn't quite link up to anything in the book as I later discovered. No problem, my G. K. is enhanced.

Ok, getting back to the book now. Well, the story is not so complicated. It is about a woman who leaves her husband's house and is found dead in a remote, unlikely location. Some other characters are: the lady's domestic help, her husband, a friend, her sister, the police and obviously our very own Bombay's first private detective, Barnabas and his folks.

Barnabas C Mehta, Bombay’s first private detective does not disappoint at all. He respects you (thanks to Sangeeta) and your maturity. He does not crack corny lines every two minutes. With a challenging case before him, and in which the culprit is a complicated and brutal, but a daring person, who indulges in mind games with this private investigator himself, Barnabas is smooth and impressive. Raised to be a detective not so much with the wishes of his father, but because of his sharp senses, there is much that he misses out which obviously is essential if the story has to be stay interesting, but there is much more that he uncovers. By the end of the book, I was rooting for him loudly and cheerfully :)

The vocabulary can trick you at times but I love words so it wasn’t a problem for me. The author has weaved the mystery well, she has brought in beautiful elements of the independence era, tied it all up with the upbringing and philosophical side of Barnabas. The book manages to do everything she wants it to. The negative and belittling attitude of the British policeman, and the high-mightiness of their other kith and kin irritates you, the simplicity of our detective and his father charms you and the wit of the author delights you.

All in all, I rate this book highly. I prefer it over most Indian whodunits I have read recently. Go for it, I am sure you will enjoy the experience!

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