Monday, July 16, 2012

The Man in a Red Coat and other Byomkesh Bakshi stories by Saradindhu Bandyopadhyay

I have polished yet another set of Byomkesh Bakshi stories, please see a short write up on all the stories below.

Raktomukhi Neela aka The Deadly Diamond - An occult blue diamond has been stolen from a King, the King wants it back at any cost and hires Byomkesh to retrieve it. A decent short story to open the anthology with, although the way Byomkesh is able to get the diamond in the end from a hardened criminal looked a bit flimsy.

Seemonto Heera aka The Hidden Heirloom - Another story about a stolen diamond, there is no mystery here as to who stole it but the task given to Byomkesh is to retrieve the heirloom. Byomkesh has to search for the diamond in the thief's abode and the location of the diamond is not much of a mystery but the cat and mouse game between Byomkesh and Digindranarayn Roy, the person who stole and then hid the diamond is very interesting. The way Roy constantly tortures Byomkesh is hilarious and also Roy manages to outsmart Byomkesh more then once in this tale of the hidden diamond

Achin Pakhi aka The Avenger - Byomkesh and Ajit are invited to a wedding where they meet a prudent but a little arrogant Policeman who is now retired, he narrates the story of the sole unsolved crime of his career. The Policeman who was on duty one night, saw a few men carry a bamboo cot, when the policeman shined his torch on their faces these men escape and left the cot behind. The bamboo cot had the body of a dead woman tied to it. When the policeman arrests these men they come up with a water tight alibi, later the prime accused is also murdered. A classic "Whodunit" with a shocking solution. One problem with Saradindu Bandopadhyay was that he was not very careful with Byomkesh's deductions, the main reason why Bymokesh finds out the accused in this story is very presumptuous. It was really a brilliant story spoiled by the method applied by Byomkesh which ignores a simple police procedure, saying anything more would be a spoiler.

Shaila Rahasya aka The Phantom Client - Byomkesh Bakshi over the course of his illustrious career has met some very strange clients, but this one takes the cake. A ghost wants Byomkesh to investigate his murder! read this one in the winters with hot tea and enjoy Byomkesh in the realm of the supernatural. Great fun.

Chholonar Chhondo aka The Man In The Red Coat - Worst story in the book, not much of a mystery just some case of two identical men and mistaken identities. The mystery is quite apparent to anyone who has ever read a mystery.

Chorabali aka Quick Sand - While Byomkesh and Ajit are on a vacation, they meet a financially troubled landlord whose daughter's tutor has mysteriously disappeared with the account books of his estate. Somewhere near the abode of the landlord is patch of quicksand and it hides more secrets inside it then what you see on the surface.

Room Nombor 2 aka Room Number 2 - A man is murdered in a posh hotel, the police suspect everyone from visitors to the hotel guests, but soon they realize that the man's past might be responsible for his present condition. Perhaps the best story in the book, memorable characters and a well hidden murderer.

I'm rating this 3 out of 5 stars.

Also entering this in the Color coded challenge.


  1. Rishi, would you suggest that I purchase this? I liked The Menagerie and Picture Imperfect. Rhythm of Riddles not so much, I left a comment on that post explaining why. I notice that this has not been translated by Sreejata Guha, that's why I'm hesitant.

    1. hey,

      ya go for it, much better than Rhythm. not on par with Sreejata Guha's translation but still enjoyable.

    2. Ugh, I bought and read the stories a couple of weeks ago and most of them are pedestrian at best.

      The Deadly Diamond - A pocket in the throat, yeah, that sounds plausible.
      The Hidden Heirloom - Snore.
      The Avenger - Why would he even confess to an ace crime detective...I mean, that makes zero sense...
      The Phantom Client - I so disappointed with this story. Byomkesh claims to be a 'truth-seeker', yet he happily agrees to go along with a supernatural explanation for this one. What a rip-off.
      Red Coat - Might be suitable for a episode of "Mr. Bean"
      Quick Sand - The only entertaining story in the collection, made up for all the follies of the previous ones. Barely.
      Room Number 2 - Decent enough, but I caught the 'clue' during my read-through.

      Overall, I paid Rs. 126 for this. Rishi, if I ever meet you in person, I intendo to take a hundred back from you for recommending this...

      Note to Rishi: Read up some Feluda stories already. If you found these entertaining, you'll probably have a seizure reading the Felu stories.


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