Book Review: PUR ASRAR AJNABI (Jasoosi Duniya #9 By Ibn-e-Safi)

Introduction

An educated farmer, a strange bank robbery where nothing is stolen, two murders and three missing people… Faridi and Hameed are presented with another mystery to solve.

Plot Summary

Saeed, better known as Kisaan Saheb, is an educated farmer and a good man who lives in a lone mansion with his wife. One Saturday, as they are enjoying a quiet afternoon with the servants away for the weekend. An unannounced guests barges in, and forces himself as a guest on gunpoint, even offering loads of money. Hence the title, Pur Asrar Ajnabi.

He comes across as a gentleman, though. After dinner, they retire to bed and the couple hears scuffle upstairs. They nother man

They find another man dead in the middle of the room while their guest has disappeared.

Then, the scene shifts from suburbs to the city. Inspector Jagdish is at the national Bank talking to the manager D S Ganguly. There is a break in and nothing seems to be stolen. Another man, Saleem had the keys but within moments, his dead body falls from the rooftop. With that, our man Faridi makes an entry.

There are times that one feels Faridi’s viewpoint and his attention to detail resembles Sherlock Holmes. When Jagdish finds out about the murder in Saeed Manzil, Faridi and Hameed accompany him to the crime scene. Systematically, he explains what may have transpired that night uncovers more facts – new currency notes, missing sandal, and the identity of the murdered. He also has a terrific memory so he recalls every detail about the man.

The Key Players

  1. There is a kuwar Shamsher Mirza who went bankrupt and moved to Rangoon and subsequently died.
  2. Shamsher has an alleged heir Safdar Mirza, who is here with some evil plans.
  3. There is an out of mind artist who lives in out-of-order watermill near Saeed Manzil and gives shelter to the killer unknowingly.
  4. There is another man who looks exactly like the murdered man. This unnamed man has captured Saeed and his wife.
  5. Saleem is a miser and seemingly poor bank employee. Now deceased, he has purchased a big property Zamarrud Mahal. His sister Saleema lives in the same building.
  6. The bank manager Ganguly is also a suspect, and he is also missing.

The Highlights (*** SPOLIERS AHEAD ***)

Shamsher isn’t dead, nor is Safdar Mirza. Safdar and Anwar are brothers and are splitting image of each other. It was Anwar who got killed in Saeed Manzil. Safdar and Saleem conspire to loot the bank and replace it with fake currency. Shamsher was the one who called Faridi and Jagdish to stop the robbery. Saleem’s death was an accident. Ganguly is also in Shamsher’s custody.

All is well. Saeed and his wife are innocent, much like Faridi claimed they were.

Review

Although it started off well, I lost interest in the story midway through. I think it was unnecessarily complicated. It was way too complex for no reason and had too many characters. Even reading this review is a bit overwhelming. Imagine reading the novel itself.

If it wasn’t for occasional comic relief brought in by Hameed, it would have been a boring and dull read.

Hameed's comedy
Hameed’s comedy

That concludes the review for PUR ASRAR AJNABI – the first story in the third issue of Jasoosi Duniya. What do others feels about this one?

Shabana Mukhtar

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