Author: Sonia Bhatnagar | Genre: Indian Literature, Thriller | Pages: 337 | Publisher: Harper Collins
Simla, British India, 1936. On a cold, wet night, Ratan, a wandering law-college drop-out, is called to pick up his employer, Sara Davenport, from a party at the Governor’s residence. As he arrives, he sees a figure in the dark running through the trees. The next second, he sees Sara stumble and fall. He rushes to her, but she dies in his arms. Her throat has been slashed with a knife.
Ratan has blood on his hands. Sara was his employer, his lover, his friend. He decides to flee. Ratan doesn’t know that when the body is discovered the next day, next to it would be a note … addressed to him. Set against a country grappling with the colonial rule, this is a thrilling tale about secrets uncovered and innocence lost.
Intriguing covers are my thing and this one slowly whispers “Come, let me tell you a story.” The eerie feeling that this cover exudes is enough to set the mood and make you grab a glass of wine and begin. I realised that later because I started reading it on a day I was fasting but you, dear reader, would be better off grabbing a favorite beverage and soaking into this roller-coaster of a ride.
Ratan, Lavanya, childhood friends get entangled into the mysterious murder of a Sara Davenport and one can only imagine what that would entail for these two colored people in a white court. This book is fast-paced, engaging, and smartly intellectual for the age its written for. I was enticed at every level learning more about colonial Mumbai and Simla, and the world therein. There is by far, one of the greatest USPs of the book. Characters are well portrayed and are quite savage in their skin. One can’t not be inspired by Lavanya – the author who gets termed ‘outrageous’ for her erotic books exploring female sexuality or smitten by Noor – the actress friend who is a nymph walking down earth charming one and all with her exquisite beauty or Ratan Seth, who appears to be a man evading his preset destiny but what’s in store for him, he had never imagined.
Together, they set out to solve a mystery and when the end comes, mind you, it’ll blow you. Somewhere through the first half, you start to get an idea as to who the culprit might be, but maybe it’s just an Agatha Christie fan testing her wits. The book flits between narratives and each chapter is designed to take the reader closer to the murderer. It is a fine demonstration of writing, plotting, and creating a mystery that is one of the best of its time. I can’t find any flaw other than the narration in some places that got bit me weary since they dealt with too much self-pondering. Having said that, there wasn’t a dull moment and it proved to be a thoroughly entertaining experience. I won’t be surprised if it gets adapted into a movie since it has all the qualities for a runaway hit.
Sonia Bhatnagar’s debut novel ‘In Your Blood I Run’ is a perfect potpourri of mystery, erotica, rebellion, colonialism, dark themes, enticing twists and thrills, that will keep you to the edge of your seat the whole time. Get ready to also experience colonial Mumbai and Simla and be gripped with their beauties. This book is recommended for 18+ for its adult themes.
P.S.: I received a review copy from the publisher but the review remains unbiased.
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Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!