A Perfect Murder and Other Stories by S.R. Nair is a collection of fourteen short stories on a variety of themes set mostly in India and the US. I’m usually hesitant to read short stories but the title “A Perfect Murder” made the criminologist in me revert with a yes when the author contacted me requesting to review this book. Now back to this book, it is a compilation of wide range of stories from murder mystery to one’s struggles in maintaining his cultural identity. Even with such diverse stories, the author has been able to do justice to all these plots in this incredibly small 170 pages book which is remarkable. I could have finished this book in one or two sitting if real life hadn’t gotten in the way.
The author has taken care to make the plots elaborate enough to make the readers feel that these stories well developed and authentic. The interesting well-developed characters, completely different scenarios, ability to narrate complex culture concepts, conveying their emotions are some key factors that makes this book a compelling and thought provoking read. Initially I felt the detached narration a bit jarring but later started to enjoy his casual writing style using the simplistic language. Certain plots were informative too especially in case of The Missing Wife that throws light to the dreaded Dowry Prohibition Act and how a law created with good intentions is misused today. Even though I enjoyed most of the stories some really stood out.
Salma’s Fate: Story of Salma who becomes a victim to her father-in-law’s lust, practice of Talaq and the significance of self-reliance.
IPad: An unique story packed with lot of emotions i.e. love and innocence of Hira Bai, an old and poor women ready to sell all she possesses just to get an IPad and her reason for wanting one will touch your heart. My personal favourite.
The Missing Wife: A man is falsely accused of Dowry Harassment. This was one such story I felt was informative.
Visa for America: A man falls in love with a women who he meets in a matrimony site. Was it true love or just an act for the Green Card? This is one story that deals with love, marriage and Visa.
Zubair: He was quite happy with his life in India and had no inclination to move to US. But later moves to US owing to family pressure. However things changes once they settle in US and he is not happy with it.
Overall, A Perfect Murder and Other Stories is a good collection of well developed, authentic, compelling and thought provoking stories with good plot twists. The diversity in the themes in plots makes this an unique read. Recommended.
An ARC was provided by author/publisher in exchange for a honest review.