Priya U Bajpai´s debut book ´Murder in the Palace and Other Short Stories´ is a shining testimony of her expertise and calibre in the writing craft. At no juncture did I feel that I was reading a book written by a novice. She writes with the panache of a seasoned writer who´s well-versed in multiple genres of writing. What remains constant is her tight grasp on the language and its flow.
Priya´s writing style is minimalistic sans all fuss and frills. What this does is that the readers´ attention remains singularly focussed on the plot and its unraveling. And not distracted by how flowery beautiful the writing is. This clean focused style works in the book´s favour which comes with twelve captivating stories that is bound to leave you spell-bound by the time you finish reading it. Priya U Bajpai aces at literary minimalism lending this book an effortless air of sophistication. While she goes economical on words, Priya more than compensates for that with generous splurges of imagination.
The book cover has a classic aura to it. Very regal and intriguing at the same time! The font and light blue design at the end of each story highlights what a big difference small details can bring to the table. It´s these fine details which elevates the reading experience to a whole new pleasurable high.
The book dives right into a whodunnit murder mystery, one of the most popular genres in fiction. During the New Year´s eve party, Suzanne Smith, the hostess of the party is found murdered at the nick of midnight or New Year. There are five close suspects with pertinent motives of their own. Let´s see if you can guess the suspect right in this one. After all, who does not love a wild guessing game!
From a nail biting murder mystery, Priya takes you on a time travel into the futuristic galaxy in the Year 3018 AD in her next story ´Banon´s Conundrum´. The Earth finds itself mired in the centre of big cosmic change. The mighty Sun is about to toppled by a budding star called Banon, indicating the shift of the entire solar system or hinting at the complete erosion of the current one. Add to it, aliens from various planets are waiting to strike and battle for the planet´s vast natural resources. Kwakan, the alien protagonist visits Earth where she is escorted by earthling, Tanya. The story is fascinating to read with its rich imagery and ends on a determined note.
Priya takes you on another ´back in time´ voyage in her historical fiction story ´An Archaic World´. Set against the backdrop of Egypt, Oseye, the feminist protagonist undergoes an evolutionary transformation in her ideals and aspirations.
The next story ´Blueprint´ is a sci-fi story whose dark female protagonist, Dr. Tanya Jacobs leaves you with goosebumps at the end. The next two stories ´Dazzled´ and ´Geisha´ are romantic stories with a twist. Both the love stories are wholly different in its backdrop, narrative and emotion.
´Horrific Holocaust´ is a story that will leave you with a hole in your heart, lamenting at the fall of humanity. This one haunts me to this very day with its soul stirring narration.
Í´m II´ comes with a clever title with an even clever futuristic story that is set in 2049 AD. Being a sucker for all things adventure and fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed ´The Mysterious Ball´ which comes tautly packed with a thrilling punch at the end, begging you to know what lies next in store. ´Killer´ is a whimsical murder story that is easy on your senses. ´Mia of Maya´ is a historical science fiction that explores aspects of human greed, lust for power and control and the brutal ´survival of the fittest´ theory come into destructive play mode.
The spectacular book ends on a winning note with the paranormal tale ´Neil´s Shoe´ hitting the nail on the wall for its readers that this debut is no fluke stroke of genius. It´s a well-thought and laid out book that has dared to take risks and how!
I am not exaggerating when I say that each and every story in this book is a must-read. Each story has its own flavour that has to be savoured by the reader to understand its true essence and meaning.
It truly is very hard for me to find any serious flaws with this book. This is a big thing to say for a debut, which in most cases, are a work-in-progress.
Take a bow, Priya U Bajpai! You are born to write and delight and here´s looking to many ingenious books from you in the future.
You can download the book for free for a limited time period only here: https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/murder-in-the-palace-other-short-stories-by-priya-bajpai/