Book Review: The Diamond Crown, by VS Rao

Crime fiction is a genre many writers seem to be attempting these days in Indian writing in English. This book came my way quite unexpectedly, and looking at the cover design, I never thought I would read it. As it turns out, it helped break a reading block that had been holding me back for a while.

Greed is one of the seven sins, and one that usually leads people to wrongdoings. In this case too, that holds true. The protagonists in this tale hatch a daring plan to steal a diamond crown, while making sure their crime isn’t discovered in time. The amount of money at stake is obscenely large, and the risk quite high, but the ringleader’s plan seems fool-proof. But plans very rarely go as expected. And secrets rarely seldom remain within the group. The crime is discovered, but when the police are unable to solve it, they turn to Detective Tempo.

The motive for the crime is good enough. Greed. The desire for wealth beyond the wildest dreams of the criminals that will solve a lot of problems for them. I liked that. To steal from those who seem to be conning the public felt right too, even if the criminals weren’t honest citizens themselves. But going by a detective fiction, I think the positive points, for me, ended there. The crime was discovered very quickly, the police acted quickly, the detective was called quickly, and the crime was solved quickly. Yes, a crime fiction thriller calls for action to happen, but this felt ridiculously fast. Detective Tempo arrives on scene almost at the midway point of the novel, and it’s almost as if he knows what has happened, and what the criminal’s possible next step is. So the plot moves on, and before the reader knows it, the story comes to a close.

Going in a movie style, it’s easy to predict the next step of the investigation even before Tempo does. I liked the villains more than the heroes, if only by a smidgen. Balaram felt evil, and the other three like putty in his hands. It felt right. Kumkum’s character was very cliche. Like I mentioned earlier, quite movie style, both in actions and appearance as described by the author. The narration is simple. It doesn’t add anything to the story, rather it just feels like the author is telling the crime instead of showing it to the reader. The editing is a bit shoddy at the start with the character name being spelled in two ways. It’s one of those things that irk me. Some sentences feel like they are literally translated from Telugu into English. I could imagine the dialogues in Telugu or Kannada, and it felt more right there than in English. Also, I might not notice this cover if it was on a shelf at the bookstore.

It is a quick read, so some of the flaws might go unnoticed. It might even work for those who like light movie-like reads too. Unfortunately, for me, this is perhaps, at best, an average work of crime fiction.


A Score Of 4 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: The Diamond Crown
Author(s): V S Rao Genre: Crime Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9789387022171 Publisher: Srishti

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
28th May 2018)

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