TRINOYONI: The Slaughterer of Sonagachi by Moitrayee Bhaduri
My take on the book:
Trinoyoni is the fictionalized account of the real-life story of Troilokya Debi, India’s first known serial killer. The story traces the life journey of Trinoyoni, referred to as Trina in her childhood days, from her birth in 1840 till she turns into a serial killer.
How circumstances forced a simple innocent girl from a traditional family to turn into the Slaughter of Sonagachi, the notorious red-light district of Calcutta is the USP of the story. From meeting her mentor Tara, to landing in Sonagachi unexpectedly, to becoming the most famous and sought-after courtesan to killing multiple people, Trinoyoni’s life is the perfect example of a roller coaster ride.
The story being inspired from a real life one, that happened more than a century ago, is the intriguing factor. While the title and the blurb do give away where the story is headed, the many turns that Trinoyoni’s life takes over the course of the book are totally unexpected. Even the epilogue has an interesting analysis of the psyche of a serial killer and the circumstances that shape them.
Along with an interesting storyline, the book also has a subtle but relevant commentary on the socio-economic conditions in those days — when the country slipped into the British rule, famines forced common people to retort to extreme measures to survive, widowed women had literally no life — these and more. The police procedures when there is no technology to crack cases is interesting in the second half of the book.
There are multiple characters, but the author takes care to weave them appropriately into the story without confusing the reader. Of course, Trinoyoni is the most intriguing and unique protagonist you would ever read about. I would have liked the author to provide more insight into her psyche and her relationship with Ram Babu, her readiness to be an accomplice, which ultimately turned her ruthless.
Pick this one to read about the woman who was believed to be the first serial killer of India and what and who forced her to be become the Slaughter of Sonagachi.