Bookworm Posts: The Raja Is Dead

January 28, 2012

As I mentioned before, the number of books I read last year really put me to shame. This year I plan to read many more. I don't want to lose out on all the extremely interesting literature that is out there on account of my own laziness or habit of procrastination.

The beginning of the year was celebrated with a short trip to the beach with the parents. Apart from the five bottles of sunscreen I carried in my bag, I took along The Raja Is Dead by Shivani Singh. The book, which was brought home by the big sister when she was in college (so about 6 years back. Yikes!) had been lying in my book pile for the longest time. So I figured it was about time I gave it a read.

The book is about the time right before Independence in India, when royal families were aware of the impending change in the country but were weary of the change in their lifestyle. The caste system was still strong with the Rajas holding the top spot. The plot, however, is a work of fiction set in the royal household. As the name suggests, it involves a murder and almost everyone is a suspect.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The narrator is the granddaughter of the raja, who finds herself stuck in the middle of a royal mess. In the heat of the situation, she decides to find the culprit.

The manner in which the practices of that time were described by the narrator, in almost a matter-of-fact sort of way, made it very easy to visualize the story. The characters felt real, even though one wouldn't find them very easily in modern India. The mystery of the murder was a little loosely held in the book and at some parts I found myself a little anxious. But the mixture of charm and pretentiousness of the royals made up for it.

The mixture of a good read and a great surrounding made it a wonderful vacation for me and the folks. I had reached a level of saturation with the city and was extremely happy getting away from it for a few days. It was a good start to a new year. 

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