An Invitation to Die was enjoyable, cozy, fast paced small town mystery series with amazing setting. It can easily be read as standalone.
An Invitation to Die (Colonel Acharya #3) by Tanushree Podder
Publication Date : August 2021
Publisher : HarperCollins
Genre : Murder Mystery
Disclaimer – I received this book as part of Blogchatter Book Review Program, in exchange for an honest review.
This post contains affiliate links.
It begins with a simple mystery – elderly widow Violet William’s van goes missing after her granddaughter Pia forgets to lock the door when using it to cater for a wedding reception.
But this is Ramsar, and soon, a simple case turns sinister when ASP Timothy Thapa finally finds the missing van, and promptly discovers a dead body inside it.
Enter Colonel Acharya, Ramsar’s resident amateur sleuth, with his merry band of bridge-playing Watsons.
As the detective begins his investigation, he finds that things are not what they seem, and with few clues, several suspects, and no leads to go on, Colonel Acharya might be facing his most challenging case yet.
An Invitation to Die was third book in Colonel Acharya cozy mystery series that revolved around the murder mystery in calm peaceful small town. The story was about murder mystery, small town life, deceit, family dispute, and friendship.
Writing was simple, lucid, descriptive, and steady to fast paced. The story was written in third person multiple perspectives. The setting of the fictional town Ramsar, Kathgodam in Uttarakhand state of India was most interesting. The plot was simple and predictable.
It started with character and Ramsar introduction, an anglo-indian resident of town found her van missing, used by her granddaughter for catering wedding reception, was soon found with a dead body in it. The case that looked like suicide soon turned into murder mystery followed by another murder in town that added pressure on you ASI Tim Thappa and amateur sleuth colonel Acharya helping police with murder case.
There were many characters in the book and they were introduced so well I didn’t find myself missing anything from the previous book and that proves it can easily be read as standalone. Now from title I expected Colonel Acharya as the main character but the story gave equal importance to Tim and other side characters that also took much more focus than necessary and showed Acharya’s character. He might be introduced and might be given more role in previous books but here I found his character superficial and I don’t think this book might have added much to what might have been revealed in previous books about him.
I found Colone Acharya‘s sleuthing amateurish. One thing I would have liked to know more about him from previous books was how he came to work unofficially with the police. He was wise, clever, and interesting gentleman. His life accounts weren’t described in detail but we see enough glimpse about his adventurous army career and life before he retired and settled in Ramsar with his wife. We also read a little about his detective skills from previous books without spoilers.
Tim was young police officer. His character was lively and cheerful but I found he was officer in just name even though author tried to give him more role through police procedural. He didn’t have much experience with crime bein officer of small town and I found his deducing skills very poor. Most of the work was done by Acharya and he was happy to go along either by his superior’s suggestion even though they were illogical and he knew in heart weren’t right or followed Acharya’s footstep.
Even with lack of depth of characters, it was interesting to read about them and see how they connected with case and solved the mystery.
My favorite part of the story was setting. I enjoyed detailed description of the picturesque hill station Ramsar that was occupied by retirees, widows or family of people who joined army, streets of Ramsar, residents of the town, small town community, gossips and dramas. It was amusing to read about characters, their perceptions, and life.
Mystery was okay. Twist and turns were predictable because of fewer suspects and hints given too early that made it easy to identify culprit even before 50% of the book. I was much more interested in reading when and how they will identify the culprit and how they were going to catch him. Climax was not bad. Acharya and Tim’s plan was good but like I said it was predictable. End was as I expected but it was rather dragging because of whole repetition of both cases which I found unnecessary and could be shortened. If you read that last chapter first you wouldn’t have to read whole book so you get what I mean.
Why 3 stars-
Like I said, characters didn’t have much depth, in fact, I would say there was no distinct main character. Sometimes characters’ descriptions were bit repetitive. The mystery was dull and predictable. There was no thrill in story or catching the killer. It was a mystery for beginners who would like to try this genre for first time. Some scenes and characters didn’t add much to story and made it rather dragging and like I said end chapter repeated the whole murder case which I found unnecessary.
Overall, An Invitation to Die was enjoyable, cozy, fast paced small town mystery series with amazing setting.
I recommend this book if you like,
Small town setting
easy and light mystery
gossips and drama
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