Book Review: Souffle

Author: Anand Ranganathan

The novel is a compelling page-turner and keeps you on the edge of the seats till the end and yet the last paragraph too leaves you wanting for more.

Business tycoon Mihir Kothari falls dead after he takes a bite of the specially prepared souffle earmarked for him. The circumstantial evidence points towards renowned celebrity chef Rajiv Mehra. Soon, other evidence emerge and that helps the police build a watertight case against Rajiv. So compelling is the evidence that the defence has nothing to counter the prosecution and Rajiv is sentenced to death. This brings an end to the high profile murder case taking the country by storm. However, Inspector Dayanand Apte, the case in charge despite soling the last case of his career before retirement, is not a happy man. He feels there is a void that can’t be explained, lacunae that can’t be filled…

Parallelly as Rajiv is transported to a holding place where the gallows await him, the vehicle meets with an accident resulting in the death of all the police personnel but Rajiv escapes with injuries.

The rest of the story follows the pursuit of finding the truth with a few red herrings thrown the reader’s way and I give it to the author for the vivid imagery he painted. helps keep you glued.

On the flip side, however, there are a few moments that turn the tide of the story but don’t seem to be plausible. For instance the execution of a capital punishment so quickly… however high profile the case may be we know how staggered our judicial system is. Also, Rajiv fighting a trained assassin and even managing to kill him, seems impossible… Or the inspector going way ahead of his boundaries post-retirement…like travelling abroad to find clues…There are a few of these absurdities.

The plot is brilliant and if these few drawbacks can be taken care of then the book is a masterpiece.

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