A Closetful of Skeletons by Tanushree Podder is a fast paced and intriguing thriller. Set in the serene and picturesque town of Ramsar where a yesteryear actress retires after reaching the pinnacle of her career, the story revolves around her decision to publish her memoir, where the dubious and shady characters of some of the most well-known men from country is at stake.
Ramola Sharma, a successful actress who ruled over the film industry for over a decade invites five illustrious men to her fortieth birthday at Ramsar. These men have been a part of her life once and she had moved on very quickly from one to the other. Interestingly, they ranged from a film director, an actor, a politician, an underworld don and her not-yet-divorced- husband. Each of these characters had their own stories to tell and would have lost their reputation had Ramola’s memoir come out. In the wake of this, Ramsar witnesses a deadly murder. This is when Arjun. H. Acharya, a retired colonel who settled in Ramsar steps in to solve the mystery of the dead. The story progresses with the colonel’s findings till the guilty is punished.
Podder has beautifully drawn the character sketches in details. The best part of the novel is that every character has shades of grey to it. The absence of a demarcated black and white dichotomy within these characters helps to make the mystery more challenging for the police and the sleuths to solve. In fact, at times one might be visualising these characters as real-life personalities as the film industry indeed has no shortages of illustrious and illicit love affairs in its history. The relatability of these characters and the situations, makes A Closetful of Skeletons realistic and of imaginable consequences without any freedom-of-expression-exaggerations.
Moving deeper into the title of the novel, A Closetful of Skeletons symbolises the relations and memories Ramola shared with each of her –ex-lovers. These memories were deeply buried for a long time, till her announcement of publishing her memoir jolts these skeletons of their graves, or maybe their closets. It is only a matter of time to witness how far a person can go to prevent the memoir from being published.
The language of the book is lucid and simple. Yet, it has the power to make you so engrossed in between the lines that you would lose track of time. In fact, it has the ability to transport you to Ramsar and make you a silent witness to the murder, the suspects and the hidden demons in the minds of every individual present in the story.
A Closetful of Skeletons is that similar to an Agatha Christie novel which has the capacity to get your mind working and would not let your curiosities stop haunting you till you read the last pages of the book. This is the perfect accompaniment for long journeys or quiet vacations where you have time to relax and indulge yourself in an unputdownable read.
Author(s): Tanushree Podder
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: December 2017
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