3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
A Passover in Peshawar by AM Sardar is the second book in the Charlotte Holmes mystery series. It picks up the threads of the story from where it ended in the previous book, A Christmas in Calcutta.
The story revolves around the two pivotal characters, Charlotte Holmes, a British national living in India, and an Indian, Dr. Watan. Though recovered from the confinement her husband put her through, Charlotte hasn’t completely moved on from the relationship. That becomes especially difficult when she has to meet her husband’s family to inform them about Charles' misdeeds, and how he is wanted by the British crown. Dr. Watan, on the other hand, is still mourning the death of his beloved, and decides to move on in life, and commit himself to matrimony. Though he succeeds in finding a suitable companion, his ‘wife’ comes with a son, and his marriage does not go down too well with his ex-patient, and now friend, Charlotte.
Impressed with her sleuthing skills in Calcutta, Charlotte is tasked with another undercover mission: to discover the truth about the proclaimed miracle child, the Mahdi, and thwart a rebellion in the Northern Territories by a local warlord, who is using the child as a pawn in his plan. Will Charlotte and Dr.Watan succeed in exposing the truth and prevent the uprising?
Though the book is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone. There is enough background given in the book, to give an idea what happened previously in the lives of Charlotte and Dr.Watan. The central story in this adventure is completely different from the one in the previous book, so thus far, the readers will face no problems on this count. There are a couple of grammatical errors, but more or less the book seems professionally edited.
The writing style though, gives the impression of a translated text, as though the author was thinking in Hindi/Urdu and translating it in English. Considering that one of the central characters is an Indian doctor, this adds to the authentic feel of the story. Overall, the writing style seems simple, even simplistic, but that does not effect the novel adversely.
Set in India, in 1901, what I liked the most in the book, was the dynamics between the characters in the book. The idiosyncrasies of the varied characters, the equations between the natives and colonists, etc, are wonderfully and quite accurately presented by the author. Readers from the formerly imperial countries, might find a few scenes or conversations in the book, a tad offensive, although considering that the exploitation and greed of the erstwhile colonial powers are well documented in history, I don’t feel that should be an issue. Personally, as an Indian, I found the book pretty engaging on this front.
The rebellion plot though, wasn’t as thrilling. There wasn’t a dull moment, but it wasn’t edge-of-the-seat adventure either. Parts of it are predictable, but there are a few unexpected twists to engross the reader, till the end. Readers who like to read about complex yet light, and even hilarious, human interactions, set in the backdrop of a mystery, would enjoy this book. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
A Passover in Peshawar
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like ananya92's review? Post a comment saying so!