Murder in Kathmandu – by Pepi Vilana – Review

I ask this because it almost reads like a true crime story. I am commenting on the amount of realism included in the story, of course. If it is not based on any real event then the fact that the author can make it appear like one is a real testament to her talent. Mystery and thriller novels are my favs but this one is unique because in spite of dealing with more than one premise I did not find the book confusing at all; rather, everything made sense to me and I kept turning page after page till the end. The use of present tense all throughout the book (which I must say is an absolute rarity) only heightens the amount of suspense.

The characters are everyday people who are easy to relate to.

The dialogs are unique and somewhat strange. I have not yet read something like this:

“When they talked calmly I heard nothing, but when she cried I heard it perfectly. She said, ‘All Westerners are equal. You come here, you climb our mountains. You’ve made me believe that I was different. I hope you die in the Annapurna!’”

“Words of hate,” says Mia.

“Yes. They are not words that are normally heard in a place like this.”

Some of the other dialogs made me chuckle, such as this one:

“Why do I also remember this place?” says James.

“How many of you have seen the movie Little Buddha?” says Pasang.

“I have not seen the movie,” says Mia.

“I have seen it, but I don’t remember it well,” says James.

“When we return, first of all we will go to my house and I will give you my DVD of Little Buddha, so tonight you can watch it at the hotel,” says Pasang.

Occasionally however, I found some of the dialogs quite unrealistic; they sounded rather stilted, not exactly the way people would speak in tense situations like that. At other times they sounded like back-and-forth questions and answers. But those are just minor flaws which can be safely overlooked. The ending was fitting and justified, and kudos to the author for doing her homework before writing this book! It shows!

Now let us just say that you have no interest in reading mystery novels. However, if you are an avid travelogue reader then too this is a great book for you. I am yet to set foot on Nepal myself and this book, thankfully, gave me a good idea about the exotic nature of the country. Maybe someday I will be able to be there in person.

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