Manjiri Prabhu lives in Pune and has been a filmmaker and television producer. She has also written two romances, two mystery novels and a non-fiction book on Hindi films. The Cosmic Clues is the first of the series where the protagonist takes the help of Horoscopes to find the culprits.
Bit intriguing, isn’t it? That is what caught my interest too. I have read a lot of mystery novels but the science of catching the culprit was always search for the evidences, search for the motive, search for the method of crime and then try to find the culprit. But, this was different. Here, the protagonist took help of Astrology to catch the culprit.
So, Sonia Samarth has just started “Stellar Investigations” – a private investigating firm guided by Hindi Astrology. She hires Jatin as her assistant and they both anxiously wait for their first case. Sonia and Jatin are mighty dejected with innumerable Horoscope reading and match-making pleas, until Nidhi, the cat, enters their office and brings some good luck. Their first case. A murder.
They solve the case even before the police inspectors could solve it. Yes, they get their first big break and the news papers provide enough publicity. Even the handsome T.V presenter, Mohnish Rai, comes in person to congratulate Sonia. Finally, Sonia is happy that people have begun to take notice of them and didn’t simply laugh them off as just another publicity seeking wannabes.
Soon, cases seem to be flying in and they (Sonia and Jatin with the help of Inspector Divekar) keep solving one case after the another. Sonia begins to get bouquets from anonymous person who calls himself a secret admirer but she brushes it off as a practical joke.
Mohnish and Sonia begin to get close and spend some quality time together.
There is one criminal that has kept the police of several countries on their toes. He is called as The Owl and nobody has seen him ever. He has a fancy for expensive jewellery and diamonds and keeps stealing them. Sonia takes a special interest in his case and begins to study him.
Who is her secret admirer? Is it just another practical joke or should she take it more seriously? What happens to The Owl? Find the answers to these questions in the novel.
She signs off this novel with a clear hint that she is penning the sequel.
The writing is nice but a bit too cheerful. Each and every character that appears regularly has his/her own presence felt and isn’t shadowed by the other although the main focus is on Sonia.
Sonia is young, ambitious, unafraid, intelligent and fun-loving. She wants to prove to the world that Astrology, just like any other science, isn’t wrong and that it’s the people/quacks who misuse it that bring a bad name to it.
Also, Sonia’s modus operandi is not much different from police or other investigators. She too first insists on facts, details and direct investigation and uses Astrology as her ‘map’ to manoeuver through the case.
Jatin is young, chirpy, happy-go-lucky, cricket addict, T.V addict, food addict and a very helpful assistant. Some conversations between Sonia and Jatin are really hilarious and chuckle-worthy.
Mohnish is a florist and freelance journalist and takes special care of Sonia. He has a strong personality and a sense of humor.
Inspector Divekar is like fatherly figure to Sonia and always read to help her with all her cases.
Nidhi, the cat, has a character of her own and she finds a mention in the novel quite often and she has been presented with quite a few anecdotes, feelings and actions/reactions. It was really funny to read some instances relating to Nidhi.
But, except one or two, the other cases were pretty clear and pretty easy to guess in the beginning itself. Partly, it may be because of the number of novels and movies I have read and watched in this genre. Partly because they were too simple and straight-forward cases.
Also, the novel needed some proof-reading as there were some grammatical errors here and there.
Overall, an eccentric mix of suspense, humor and a bit of romance. A nice read.