Murder in Seven Acts: Lalli Mysteries by Kalpana Swaminathan is a collection of seven crime stories, where all the cases are solved by Swaminathan’s popular detective character, Lalli. The collection derives its name from the sixth story, ‘Murder in Seven Acts’, in which history combines with modern technology in the commitment of a crime and in solving it. The stories are narrated in the first person by Sita—Lalli’s niece and the Dr. Watson of the Lalli mysteries—and most of them feature Lalli’s usual collaborators: Savio, a police officer; Inspector Shukla, the local police officer; and Dr. Qureshi, the forensic expert.
There is an old-fashioned charm in Swaminathan’s writing. Even in the crime fiction and mystery genre—and, especially, for a work published in the second decade of the 21st century!—the pace of the stories is relaxed, almost giving a feeling of being in the days of cobblestoned streets, rumbling trams, and ornate streetlamps.
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