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Title – The Rosogolla Murders

Author – Debeshi Gooptu

Type – Fiction  / Mystery

Reading Prompt – #4 – Related to the word ‘murder’

Just one word prompted me to buy the book. Rosogolla! Being a foodie, and a Kolkatan to boot, I took a chance. So, did the thriller by Ms. Gooptu deliver? 

A retired judge dies by poisoning at a lavish party in Kolkata. Soon, a spate of murders takes place The link between them?  The rosogolla. 

Death by chocolate is so yesteryear. Make way to the Bong connection as the delectable dessert finds itself as the villain. I laughed out loud at the mention of the obnoxious song Tumpa Shona. I went on a trip down memory lane with the protagonist Mrinalini aka Mini as she visits the red brick-and-stucco structure housing the Calcutta High Court. The famous New (or not so) Market also makes an appearance. Any book with a Kolkata connection is incomplete without food. Don’t blame the writer if one craves sinful treats. Apart from the titular sweet, one is in for a sumptuous spread. Platefuls of ghughni vie with cakes & char siu pork for the readers’ attention. 

But I cannot rave about the book just because it delighted the semi-Bong in me.

The first chapter is titled ‘Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot’. I cross-checked with my friend concerning the grammar. Later, Grammarly reconfirmed my doubt. However, a friend of mine informed me that it could allude to the song Auld Lang Syne.

I decided to continue with the book.

Somewhere down the line, Arindam became Jaidev. I wonder what the team of editors were doing? Humans are prone to errors, but with a hawk-eyed reader, this becomes a mess.

The premise is novel. The motive of the killer points to a deeper issue prevalent in the schools, fueled by the rich-poor divide. But how could the third victim just pop up a rosogolla in her mouth, knowing well how that particular brand was linked to the previous two murders? Also, the red herrings strewn across the novel were too evident and did nothing except add pages to the book. 

One cannot miss the stereotypes. The stylish Panjaban and her haye rabba, the mention of her ample bosom, and her readiness in jumping into bed with anyone wearing pants. Thank God the author spared us of an unnecessary romance between Mrinalini and Officer Satyajit Saha. 

The Rosogolla Murders is a breezy read. Anybody with a Bengali or a Kolkata connection will lap it up, as the action takes place in the City of Joy, aided by mouthwatering sweets & savouries. But like the chilli-flavoured rosogolla, this left behind a trail of mixed emotions. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter. Not exactly enjoyable, but trying to like it for the sake of nostalgia.

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