On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.
As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singhs life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.
Faced with the investigation of a crime that appears to have as many suspects as there are motives, Vishwanath Sharma probes the sinister web spun around a tangle of lies and deception.
Praise for Tied to Deceit:
"A remarkable whodunit thats as sharp as it is concise.
Brar enhances her taut murder mystery with an engaging setting that effectively incorporates the local culture. The smart, believable denouement will have readers looking forward to Brars next endeavor."
"A literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychological and cultural insights than your typical murder mysterys scenario."
-D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
Tied to Deceit, a Literary Mystery with a Conscience.
As Midwest Book Review noted, Neena H. Brars Tied to Deceit is "a literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychological and cultural insights than your typical murder mysterys scenario."
Parallel to the story of Devika Singhs murder investigation, there is a lot about life and people in general, marriage and relationships, the social stigma women have to face in Indian society, and the warmth, the cozyness of Indian culture. Tied to Deceit observes issues of conscience through the lens of fiction. The following quotes from the book reflects authors take on different aspects of love, life, and people:
Reflection on a marriage:
"He had swept her off her feet then, and was all charm and charisma but then the magic slowly diminished and finally died due to his secret betrayals over time. Thousands of little resentments had replaced the early warmth. But their hearts, although heavy with bitterness and anger at the failed expectations, had gotten used to the solace of each others company that often comes with years of living together, and they never stopped performing this morning ritual of their married life."
"It wasnt an unhappy marriage? Could a marriage be happy, standing on a shaky ground of adultery and a disregard for the wifes feelings? He didnt say anything; he listened to her DECEIT:quietly."
Talking about scars and wounds:
"Time heals everything, thats what everyone says. Wounds heal and leave only scars behind. But some wounds run too deep to heal, and pierce the deepest layers of ones soul. They stay there unhealed and ready to ooze blood at the first sign of grief."
"When she met Rudra, it was as if she had just awakened to the world and discovered its wonder. She knew a lot about dreams and a little about wickedness."
Youngsters in general:
"The young, thought Sharma, have this ability to suffer much in the time of grief, unlike the old who have seen enough sorrow and know it shall not stay forever. The young hardly know grief is like a thunderstorm. It comes whispering softly at first, a distant hum, a halo of vehemence in the sky, and then there is a sudden, violent, and copious outpouring; that drenches everything that comes in its way. It darkens the sky and turns every inch of green terrain dusky grey. But they dont realize its ferocity will become less with the lapse of time, and the sun will shine bright and warm, and wash the land golden, and no one would be able to tell there had been a storm. They scarcely understand this essential unfolding of grief isnt meant to last forever, and eventually, it shall come to pass."
The Children and Parenting:
"If elders could bequeath their experience and knowledge of life to children without the children making any mistakes, they would save them from a lifetime of heartaches."
"My brother shielded her from the harsh realities of life but, as you must know, the parents ought not to pluck the thorns out before they hand down the roses to their children; it is not always possible to shield your child against all the disappointments that life bestows. A day comes when a child has to face life on her own and, as a parent, one has to make sure that the child is ready."
"It was hard to tell with her. Like a chameleon, Devika effortlessly feigned the role she sensed the other person expected to see, subject to what she wanted in return-mere admiration, for which she had a vast appetite for, or to get something she desired at that particular moment."
"You know how your intuition warns you about someone, but you bury it because it shows the darkness underneath which you wish to ignore; the bright and shiny on the outside is so inviting, you dont want to look anywhere else?"
The People in general:
"Being rich and powerful does that to you. You dont get a chance to offer any clarification because people dare not ask you a thing. They would prefer to hear someone elses half truth, then make up the other half, and then whisper a twisted version in someone elses ear. The whole matter gets distorted in no time, so much so, that it no longer resembles the actual facts."
Dr. Rajinder Bhardwaj, the owner and the head physician at Lifeline Hospital, Sanover, had showered after his brisk morning walk and joined his wife for an early morning tea. Gayatri Bhardwaj sat with her second cup of ginger tea on her favourite old, worn, woven chair on the verandah which overlooked their front garden: a tapestry of blooming carnations, marigolds, roses, and chrysanthemums. She longed for a clear, bright day and the dazzling blue sky of summer.
It was her favourite spot to sit in the mornings; a place from where she could witness the brilliant dawn streaking half of the sky coral; raindrops soaking everything wet during the monsoon; specks of silvery snow falling from the sky during winter. She could take in everything from the serene mountain peaks and the forest to their house-its roof, windowpanes, and the pebbled driveway that snaked its way criss-cross toward the outside big iron gate. She would sit there until Dr. Bhardwaj joined her after his daily ritual of a brisk morning walk.
They had done this for years despite the changing seasons and the changing equation of their marital relationship. They had spent endless mornings of their initial married years there, when their hearts were still giddy with the feeling of young love, and they would talk about everything and nothing. Shed been a bride at barely twenty, young and naive. Hed been ten years her senior, already on the way to establishing himself as a successful physician, the younger son of a landlord aristocratic family with old wealth. He had swept her off her feet then, and was all charm and charisma but then the magic slowly diminished and finally died due to his secret betrayals over time. Thousands of little resentments had replaced the early warmth. But their hearts, although heavy with bitterness and anger at the failed expectations, had gotten used to the solace of each others company that often comes with years of living together, and they never stopped performing this morning ritual of their married life.
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Neena H. Brar lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, two children, a highly energetic German Shepherd, and a lifetime collection of her favorite books.
A hermit at heart, shes a permissive mother, a reluctant housekeeper, a superb cook, and a hard-core reader.
Tied to Deceit is her debut novel.
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