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Reinventing himself as mystery writer

Reinventing himself as mystery writer
News & Gossips

Talking about his new whodunit One Arranged Murder, the author turned to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for inspiration

After writing seven bestselling fiction novels, some which went on to become Bollywood blockbusters, Chetan Bhagat decided to reinvent himself by turning to a new genre: murder mysteries.

He forayed into the unfamiliar territory in 2018 with The Girl in Room 105. Two years later, on Monday, he released another whodunit, One Arranged Murder. “I had to learn how to write a good murder mystery,” said Bhagat. And, as any good mystery lover, he, too, turned to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for inspiration.

“I think after a period of time you must reinvent yourself because people expect me to keep surprising them, do something new. So I decided to change my genre. But to write a murder mystery I didn’t have a background for it, so I had to read up a lot of murder mysteries and I had to learn how to write a good murder mystery,” the banker-turned-writer said.

If Christie had Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple to solve her crimes and Doyle gave birth to the larger-than-life Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, Bhagat has also carried the two lead characters from his previous book — Keshav and Saurabh – to solve another murder mystery. While not a sequel of The Girl…, One Arranged Murder takes the story of Keshav and Saurabh forward where the bored JEE tuition teachers have started their own investigation agency. Saurabh, now married to Prerna, finds himself at the centre of a murder mystery when his wife falls off the roof waiting for her husband on the night of Karwa Chauth.

“It’s not purely a murder mystery. It’s a story of friendship, love and relationships. It’s as much a Punjabi family story as it is a murder mystery. It’s quite an intricate book, quite an elaborate book. Simply written but the plot has lots of twists and turns and a lot of suspense,” said Bhagat who struck a chord with school and college students with his first book Five Point Someone in 2004.

The 46-year-old author was inspired to write The Girl… after hearing the story from a passenger on a flight. And he took inspiration from a real life event for his latest as well. Right after he was finished writing The Girl… in 2018, Bhagat came across a news story that a woman in Gurugram died after falling from the roof on the night of Karwa Chauth. “And I thought that it’s quite a strange setting, Karwa Chauth is not associated with murder and if you think about it only a known person would be aware at what time you will be on the roof and can planning something like this.

“So I thought it would make an interesting story based on a real event, and the rest of it I imagined — a fictional story of a Punjabi joint family. I thought it would be interesting to have suspects in a joint family,” Bhagat added. While the book, published by Westland Books, will be available in ebook and paperback formats, readers can also listen to it as an audiobook on Audible, an Amazon subsidiary, narrated by voice artiste Hrishikesh Kannan.

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