Six Suspects is a murder mystery novel written by Vikas Swarup, an Indian diplomat. He is well known for his debut novel Q & A which has been made into Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire. I have read this novel around 9 months before. It is just yesterday I’ve got the mood and time to write my opinion about Six Suspects. Actually I am running out of movies in my hard disk, and I don’t know what else to do in the little leisure time I get.!!
A suspect is someone who is accused of a crime. Here we have six different suspects as the title suggests and the crime they are accused of is a murder. It is a high profile murder occurred at the capital city of India and the victim, Vivek ‘Vicky’ Rai happened to be the son of U.P home minister. Vicky throws a party in his farmhouse in Delhi to celebrate his acquittal from a murder case which he did before 7 years. That’s where he was killed. Inside the farm there found six individuals, each one with a revolver in their possession and indeed with a motive that is enough to kill Vicky Rai.
Let’s see the suspects one by one.
- The actress – Shabnam Saxena, a Bollywood actress and heartthrob of many youngsters who lands herself in a bloody mess that takes away her name and fame.
- The bureaucrat – Mohan Kumar, a corrupt bureaucrat who claims himself as Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi after a mishap when he attends a reality show.
- The tribal – Eketi, a tribesman in Andaman and Nicobar who is on a quest to trace and recover a sacred stone that belongs his tribe.
- The thief – Munna, a petty thief who falls in love with a very rich girl and daughter of a politician that leads himself to problems that are unimaginable.
- The politician – Jagannath Rai, an ambitious politician who wants to take over the throne and become chief minister. He also happens to be father of the victim.
- The American – Larry Page, who visits India to meet his fiancé whom he knew through internet.
What is interesting about the novel is the way it is presented to the readers. The characterization of each suspect is superb and narrated cleverly. After the prologue, each character is introduced through a back story, their motives to carry out the task, i.e., the murder of Vicky Rai and the evidences in separate chapters .Though all the characters are etched out in a neat manner, the part of the actress and the politician are outstanding. The politician's dark and dirty games in order to attain the throne is superbly written. Others are also good except 'the American' part which I find damn boring. He could've been cut out from the novel and title can be changed to Five Suspects!!
Another interesting aspect about the novel is, many events in the story are derived from real life incidents. The case for which Vicky Rai was acquitted is based on Jessica Lal murder case. Other events like driving over the platform killing homeless people, hunting deer and other protected species from forests are also based on real life events. I don’t know their real life counterparts though. The novel also parallels the Indian political scenario, the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the way they operate for their benefits, the industrialists who run the government by bribing the ministers and so on. Being a diplomat, the author would not have much difficulty in expressing these things.
Apart from these aspects, the novel has nothing special to call it a great piece of work. Its like a commercial movie. No wonder if it is made into a movie in the future. By the time I started reading it, I was told that it was murder mystery novel. That’s the first reason I chose to read it. When we read a mystery novel, we know that at the end the mystery will be revealed. The revelation should be shocking enough to make you speechless. Unfortunately here the revelation is not much shocking, or at least for me it was not. I felt that, as the end is approaching, I found the plot getting convoluted. Nevertheless, this could be read for its distinctive style of narration and the real life inspirations. If you are an avid reader, and likes mystery and investigative genres, Six Suspects will keep you engaged and I could say you won’t throw it away in the halfway of reading.