Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Cosmic Clues - Review

Sonia Samarth couldn't have predicted it. It had only been a day, but her first advertisement had drawn dozens of responses. In the bustling city of Pune, with its winding alleys and exotic customs, Sonia has launched a brand new business – private investigation guided by Hindu astrology. Her unique brand of investigation might raise eyebrows but before long, she seems to have found her niche.

When a cat leads Sonia to her very first investigation, she uses astrology to unmask the killer. Suddenly, clients begin streaming in – a persistent, handsome TV personality; a terrified bride-to-be; a missing husband with suicidal tendencies. These cases initially seem like isolated experiences, but Sonia soon finds that they are bound by an invisible thread. Very soon she will have to look closely at her own stars: a notorious international criminal has just crossed Sonia’s path – and he has his own plans for her future!

About The Author
Manjiri Prabhu lives in Pune, India. She’s been a  filmmaker and television producer for several years and a writer of two romances, two mystery novels and a non-fiction book on Hindi films. She is currently putting the finishing touches on The Astral Alibi – the next book in the Stellar Investigation series.

Whenever I think of a Detective Series, the one name that instantly flashes in my mind is ‘Sherlock Holmes’. I think harder, and smile at the thought of Agatha Christie’s brilliant characters – Miss Marple and Poirot. I knock my brain a bit more, and instantly the adventures of Feluda by Satyajit Ray come calling to me.

Reading good detective fictions are always a pleasure. You can laze around on your bed, tucked under a warm blanket, in a frosty rainy evening, imagining yourself to be one of the characters in the stories. A crime is committed, and your intuition targets the suspects, as you start forming your own personal opinions regarding the mystery. This is true for all good detective stories, and quite gladly enough, this works quite well with ‘The Cosmic Clues.’

‘The Cosmic Clues’ by Manjiri Prabhu brings forward India’s First Astro Detective (yes, that’s highlighted on the cover). I have read and heard of detectives solving cases through careful observation and precise deduction, but never by reading horoscopes. That’s exactly what Sonia Samarth does, and does it pretty well. Sonia, along with her able assistant Jatin, runs Stellar Investigations, a detective agency, where they combine investigation with a study of horoscopes of the people involved. Isn't it unique?

It’s the distinctive plot that initially grabbed my attention, and I couldn't wait to read about the cases that they solve using astrology. The book narrates the progression of Sonia, from a nobody to a house hold name who has a penchant to crack open mysteries with her unique reading of horoscopes. Though this is what makes the book different from others, it also makes it vulnerable.

Not everyone can read horoscopes, and thus find it intriguing. A lot many people do believe in it, and trust the words of the astrologers. Isn't that the reason why most of us glance through the horoscope section in the morning dailies?

Sonia uses her power to deduct human characteristics through horoscopes to solve cases. It all looks great initially, but as she begins to unearth the modus-operandi and identifies the criminals all-too-perfectly, the conclusions of subsequent cases appear to be mere formalities. Her reading of planetary positions is often difficult to comprehend for a layman, and me being one, with completely no clue about horoscopes, ‘Cosmic Clues’ does leave me clueless at times.

However, Manjiri Prabhu provides us with a book that can keep us engaged and urge us to read further. I liked the cases, and though often I found them solved too easily with the means of horoscopes, I honestly admit that I wouldn't mind picking up the next book in the series. There is a compelling lucidity in the language, something that you can read and find soothing. The smooth flow and the clever link between the different chapters also add to the fluency of the book. And yes, I enjoyed the conversations between Sonia and Jatin - light-hearted and humorous.

If you too want to have a go at this book, enticed by its attractive cover and blurb, do pick up a copy. It’s definitely a one-time read. It doesn't disappoint, rather Manjiri Prabhu does a real good job with the genre. However, a bit more of ground research by the detectives to solve the cases (and not merely through the reading of horoscopes) could have made me rate the book higher.

Nevertheless, there is always a next chance, and am really looking forward to ‘The Astral Alibi’ – the sequel.

Title: The Cosmic Clues
Author: Manjiri Prabhu
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genres: Fiction, Detective, Mystery
No. of Pages: 324
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 3/5


  1. Sherlock, played by Antony Brett, looovely ... Miss Marples, sweet, and Poirot ... omg, don't even get me started on him and his lovely brown eyes ...