When it comes to crime fiction, there are some books that are well known, like Sherlock Holmes or any of the Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple books of Agatha Christie or Inspector Virkar series of Piyush Jha, to name an Indian author in English off the top of my head. Then there are some books which are kind of hidden gems. One such book is Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai. I don’t remember how I came across the book, but it was the cover page that first caught my attention even before the blurb made me pick it up.
It’s never easy to read about issues like child abuse and such, and for a fact, I know it’s very difficult to write about them. So to take up such a theme in a book, and combine it quite nicely with other issues too, and on top of that, make it a murder mystery, it was quite breathtaking. Durga is a child who is the main suspect in a murder case, the victims being her own family. But Simran Singh believes that she couldn’t have done it. She’s a survivor, and as much a victim as the rest of her family. And sets out to solve the case and prove Durga’s innocence.
The introduction penned from the viewpoint of Durga and the detailing of that scene… it creeped me out, but it kind of rung true. How the police view the case and how they want to close it was well dealt with, and it was saddening to read too. I liked the character of Durga’s sister-in-law too, who believes in Durga’s innocence more than anyone else. I also liked how she’s brought into the picture and how the character develops. And I like the ending as well. The book is a mixed bag of things, like I said before. While that works in favor of the novel, it also works against it, because at times, it takes away from the genre of the novel. The power of that introduction dies away after a bit because of the social issues that one is left to ponder on.
I do feel that Witness The Night is a book that needs to be read. But it definitely could have been better. Not a one-time read, but definitely an easy read.
|Title: Witness the Night|
|Author(s): Kishwar Desai||Genre: Crime Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9788172239220||Publisher: Harper Collins|
|No. of Pages: 213||Price: INR. 225|
(© 27th April 2015)