Dipy Singh – Private Detective : Review

Dipy

The Book

is about Deepinder ‘Dipy’ Singh Gehlot, a tandoori chicken loving, beer swilling private detective. This anthology of short stories all feature Dipy tackling various cases, on the trail of ciminals of various stripes.

My Thoughts, Let Me Show You Them

Somewhat unusually for a fictional series bound by the conceit of a writer immortalizing a detective’s cases, the ‘writer’ in this case appears as himself. So Ketan Joshi is writing about a writer named Ketan Joshi who…writes about himself and  Dipy Singh…

Blank

Moving on.

 The book consists of six stories, with the first one setting up the frame for the entire anthology, where the writer Ketan Joshi meets the detective Dipy, and gets to talking about his exploits. The writing itself is engaging and undemanding – you don’t need to spend too much time trying to figure out who the killer is or how they did it – in most cases, if you’ve read enough detective fiction, you would be able to draw your own conclusions easily.

Which is good, in a way. I hate the kind of lazy writing where an intelligent reader could never put together the pieces of the puzzle by themselves because of what I like to call “Abbas-Mastan” plot twists. To wit, I’ve seen a lot of thriller movies where the criminal is always the least likely person, with twists you would never see coming and hidden motivations for the criminal’s actions which are revealed in a flashback. If the only way you can explain your antagonist’s motivations is through something the reader could never have foreseen, then anyone could be the criminal. You might as well have Chetan Bhagat or Tom Cruise turn out to have some event in their past that made them set the plot in motion that mysteriously, only the sleuth protagonist could guess.

This book isn’t like that – the twists aren’t too challenging for the dedicated reader of crime fiction. The stories are written in a breezy, conversational tone.

I would suggest that the stories themselves be shuffled in their arrangement, since it starts off with a story about a vampire. It then moves onto a story about an impossible thief (again, a paranormal explanation is given) all of which Dipy accepts calmly. The very next story in the book, however, has Dipy described as: “Dipy  was a hard-boiled private detective, with enough cynicism for a truck load of people.”  A simple reshuffling so that the paranormal mysteries feature at the end of the book would make everything fit the right way, showing that though Dipy is cynical, he’s good enough a detective to be able to make the intuitive leap into the unknown when the case requires it.

Secondly, while touted as a deductive genius, Dipy is really not that smart.

From The Case of the Sweet Smelling Godman:

After a minute, he looked up sharply at Dipy. “Why aren’t you affected?”

Why indeed? Dipy had no answer.

I read that paragraph and I was so bemused, I ended up saying “Seriously?” to a crowded metro train compartment, so thanks for that, Ketan Joshi.

It doesn’t say much for your genius detective when a casual reader can see the reveal coming a mile away. It would have been miles better for Joshi to build a series of reverse-detective stories, with the readers along on a journey with Dipy as he tries to gather evidence to prove the wrongdoer guilty. After all, it isn’t enough that a detective deduce what has happened, in order to bring the guilty to justice, he has to prove it.

The book seems to be self published, and like many indie books, this one could do with a good editor. However, in the spirit of solidarity with a fellow independent writer, I’m willing to overlook these little issues and recommend the book to people looking for a fun, easy read.

Why You Should Read This

Overall, it’s a nice, light read for a commuter with nothing much on their mind. Better than passing the time on your phone!

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