Book Review: Before You Breathe


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Book: Before You Breathe
Author: Tanushree Podder
Genre: Thriller
Publication: Harper Collins

Tanushree Podder

Mystery stories, as I have always said, happen to be my preferred read. So when the latest by Tanushree Podder arrived at the door step, I couldn’t resist.

The lazy town of Ramsar, an imaginary Himalayan town, is jolted out of its languid pace by mysterious and extraordinary break-ins on two consecutive days at two different locations. The break-ins are extraordinary because nothing seems to have been stolen from neither sites, the doctor’s clinic and affluent Shekhar Sharma’s bungalow.

The town is also home to retired army officer Colonel Arjun Acharya, an amateur detective with his skills somewhat honed while serving in army. Joining forces with town police, the colonel follows subtle links, reads between the lines, draws inferences which no one else thinks of and solves the strange incidents happening in town.

The book is a delight to read with glimpses of Tanushree’s love for Agatha Christie and Hercules Poirot showing up in the narrative. The amateur sleuth in colonel ponders on the hints and clues in a similar fashion as the famed Belgian detective Poirot. Colonel Acharya’s description and his quiet investigations bring out the tiny details of the case to the reader and tie the story up in one fluid narrative like Sherlock Holmes. In fact all characters are well thought of and have their own importance in the story.

A good mystery keeps you guessing who the culprit is. The story of Before You Breathe does exactly that. It keeps introducing characters who may have ulterior motives and then suddenly you feel you have solved the mystery but a twist proves you wrong. What you see may not be the whole truth and that comes out in the story.

For a long time I was not happy with the books that kept arriving for a review and I had given up on reading a good thriller. But Before You Breathe reminded me of mystery books I read while growing up… vivid description, subtle hints and no unnecessary blood and gore.

This book is an enjoyable light read. The ‘Shirt Pant’ nickname for a character brings a smile reminding me of the silly nicknames we labeled on people whom we disliked. There is no unnecessary stretching of the story. The narrative compels you to turn page after page.

I was happy to read this simple easy story.  Go read if you are looking for a clean and intriguing story.

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