Hush A Bye Baby: The Cradle Will Fall — by Deepanjana Pal
Price: Rs. 350 INR(paperback)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2m88MAS
Dr. Nandita Rai is the gynaecologist for the stars. She is on TV and radio every other week talking about women’s issues. She is a South Mumbai feminist. Every woman wants her to be their doctor. Until the Mumbai Police raid her clinic when they get a complaint that she does sex selective abortions. Is the celebrity doctor aborting female foetuses? If she is, then the police need to build a watertight case. Dr. Rai has friends in high places, her patients clam up and her paperwork is clean. The case seems to be going nowhere until Sub-inspector Reshma Gabuji begins to dig up Dr Rai’s secret online presence and uncovers a ruthless vigilante group.
About the author
Deepanjana Pal is a journalist and critic with over a decade’s experience in writing about culture, gender and society. She has worked at Time Out Mumbai and First post and was the managing editor of News laundry. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Wallpaper, Caravan, India Today and Vogue. She also blogs, tweets and Instagram’s, but has admitted defeat to decoding Snapchat (even though its filters are way more fun). Deepanjana’s first book was a critically acclaimed biography of Raja Ravi Varma titled The Painter. She is also the author of A Book for Puchku, a children’s book about reading and libraries. The best thing about turning to crime fiction is that now she can validly describe the hours spent binge-watching crime series on Netflix as ‘research’. Hush a Bye Baby is her first novel.
My take on this book
This book was originally shared as episodes in 8 parts from juggernaut.in to its subscribed readers with each episode/part being revealed every 3 days. Now the entire book is available on their app as an ebook and as a published hard copy elsewhere.
The book starts on a high note setting the premise for the crimes and within a few pages, the suspense is almost revealed. This seems to be a trend as I observed recent books revealing the end at the start and then trying to hold the reader’s interest by taking them along the journey.
It doesn’t feel like the author’s debut novel as the narrative flows with a tight grip on the story and happenings, almost till the end. The protagonist Reshma is an intelligent and smart cop whose no-nonsense attitude is the major positive for the book. Her characterization is almost flawless and the main reason to engage the reader. Lad who is unintentionally witty has to be my next favorite. The author never wastes time with unnecessary deviations or descriptions or back stories, which helps the story to never lose momentum. A number of present day issues in the society have been dealt with in a sensible way and what is more appealing is the fact that it showcases that even the rich and highly educated are no exceptions.
What could have been better — there are too many hints dropped in the first few pages and the first half, there isnt much left for guessing. Shravan who shows much promise initially is not explored to the calibre of the character. Reshma also doesnt explore some important aspects of the case as her investigation becomes uni-dimensional towards the end. The pre-climax and climax doesnt live upto the promise the story shows mid way.
Overall, the book has some strong, well developed characters, and explores important issues faced by modern societies, like corruption and emotional vulnerabilities. With a better ending and more taut suspense, this could have been an extraordinary book which just falls a bit short. Even with those few flaws this is a must read and bet you can’t stop reading midway!