Review of Deal of Death by Sonia Chatterjee #Blogchatter

Sonia wrote this novel in one week and that is indeed a commendable job. Raya Ray reminds me of all the female detectives we grew up reading. From Miss Marple to Nancy Drew to the new age Bengali female detective Mitin Masi by late Suchitra Bhattacharya. In fact, Raya Ray was almost carrying forward the unfinished works of Mitin Masi. She can replace Mitin Masi literally, as Suchitra Bhattacharya is no more amongst us.

I liked Sonia’s layered approach to the novel. It starts ‘in medias res‘  and then takes us to Raya’s past. Her tragedy, her pain and how she found the motivation to become a detective. The character of Raya is very relatable. She is like any typical Bengali middle-class woman. Her bonding with her maid Sutapa is also relatable. Raya has been shown a woman who has her own vulnerabilities and I liked the bit where she cries in her sleep. This kind of gives a tender touch to her otherwise tough character.

I loved how Sonia also gave us a glimpse of the history of Munshigunj in her story. Funnily this historical bit brought me back memories of my puja vacations that I used to spend reading ‘Pandav Goenda’ the Bengali equivalent of Famous Five. In those stories there used to be lots of heavy historical facts. However, I felt that even though the historical trivia was interesting it kind of reduced the pace of the detective novel. As a reader, I like to read detective novels that are fast-paced. I agree Satyajit Ray often gave historical facts within his Feluda novels however he weaved it in such a manner that it never compromised with the pace of the novel.

Sonia is a great storyteller and the way she was narrating the whole story was commendable in itself. However, too much detailing has at times made the progress of the story slightly slow. Too many characters also made the novel less crispy. But I loved the premise of this story that deals with an extremely pertinent issue. I do not want to give a spoiler, therefore, I am not detailing the issue. As a debut detective novelist, I would give Sonia full marks for trying this genre and actually be able to write a novel in such a short time. This novel is promising and perhaps she should publish it soon. All the best.





8 thoughts on “Review of Deal of Death by Sonia Chatterjee #Blogchatter

  1. Shilpa Garg says:

    I have read Sonia’s stories during the recent Write Tribe Festival of Words and Bar-a-Thon and loved how effortlessly she weaves interesting and gripping stories. Your review has piqued my interest for Deal of Death. Will check it out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the bespectacled mother says:

    I have not read any of Sonia’s fictional work (or any others’) due to my personal limitation but I admired her enthusiasm throughout the Write Tribe Festival of words. I have known Bengali literature is rich but this post gives me a closer glimpse of the works done in the genre of detectives and crime solving in Bangla.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashvini Naik says:

    I’ve sincerely loved how layered the story is as it unfolds. Sonia is, indeed, an effortless master at story-telling & her eye for detailing even the minute nothings in writing a scene springs the story to a capacity of being made into a movie as the script is in itself sufficient to carry out a picturization.

    I’m yet to finish reading the entire story to the end as I’m pressed with other things equally. And, Balaka, this review perfectly reflects my admiration for Sonia’s pitcher full of talent!

    Liked by 1 person

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