Kiran Manral’s The Kitty Party Murder is a humorous murder mystery revolving around the famous kitty parties of Mumbai.
With her satirical approach and simple vocabulary, Manral has spun an interesting laugh-out-loud story.
Kanan Mehra, aka Kay, our protagonist is a 30-something ex-career woman, and now a full-time mother who is bored of her mundane routines. Struggling with an ever-expanding waistline, a fitness enthusiastic husband and a naughty (to be read as witty!) 6-year-old son, Kay’s brutally honest parents and her high-headed helper and cook add to her woes.
Her struggles to stay away from junk food are made more difficult by her hyperactive son, who gorges on junk food, and more often than not, she gives in to his demands.
A call from her friend Runa brings in a ray of hope for her. Runa, a private detective, persuades Kay to assist her in solving a mysterious suicide case. It requires Kay to infiltrate a kitty group and get information from the members on probable clues, which would help Runa crack the case. The glamorous world of kitty parties is not just a grotesque show of wealth, gossip and scrumptious food, it is rocked by an unexpected crime.
Kay jumps on the bandwagon, hoping to win her husband’s appreciation, who has been growing critical of the way Kay has been spending her time. While steadfastly working on this case, Kay gets involved in investigating an unexpected murder in her apartment. With corpses lining up and gory details emerging, Kay is neck deep into solving both the cases.
It is impossible to miss the satire on urban living and new-age parenting. Manral’s attention to detail and witty style lends a special touch to the otherwise simple narration. Kay and her son Kabir make an adorable team, and their interactions are really humorous. Even the names of the chapters are quite unusual and interesting.
I have a few complaints, though.
The biggest one relates to the manner in which the murders were investigated. It is more comical than sensible.
Another is regarding the usage of metaphors. I just wish the author hadn’t incorporated so many metaphors.
Also, the stereotypical portrayal of women as gossip mongers and excessive fat-shaming is a little over the top. I understand the plot required it, but after a point it just stretched meaninglessly.
Despite the various murders and associated mysteries, it lacks the thrill of a typical thriller or a murder mystery. If you pick up this book hoping to read a fast-paced thrilling murder mystery, you are in for disappointment.
The Kitty Party Murder is a fairly reasonable choice if you are looking for a light read.
Don’t forget, this is a merger of murder, thrill, and humour!
I received this book as a prize for winning a short story contest on Penmancy.
Wordsopedia Rating 2.5/5
|Title: The Kitty Party Murder
|Author: Kiran Manral
|Publisher: HarperCollins India
|Publication date: November 20th 2020
|Genre: Fiction–Crime, Thriller, Mystery
|No. of Pages: 252
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About the author
Kiran Manral is an award-winning and bestselling Indian author, TEDx Speaker, columnist, mentor and feminist. She has written books across genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Based in Mumbai, she published her first novel, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Karmic Kids her first non-fiction work, is an introduction to parenting based on her own experience of raising a son.