I am not a great fan of crime-mysteries, my favourite genre being general fiction, but I have always had a huge respect for the crime-mystery writers. A general fiction is about life and death and a mystery is about crime and death. A general fiction can be good or average, but a crime and mystery fiction can be very good or very bad. A good one can peak you career and take you to the top but a bad one can crash you career even before it takes off. Why! Because the basic premise of a crime fiction is to question and appeal to the sensibilities of a reader. A good one stimulates the grey cells and makes you think – whereas a bad one simply mocks your intelligence.
Second, the reader should never be able to figure out the ending. It has to be a twist -unpredictable and unexpected. It has to be challenging and stimulating to the core. If the reader can figure it early then you have lost it already. Third, all crime mysteries leave you thinking in retrospect - some unanswered questions – some missing links. What if he did this instead of that, or why did he do this when there was another option? And after every question you figure out the answer yourself and nod in agreement and admiration of the writer.
‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ is what a perfect crime-mystery should be. It gives you all the respect as an intelligent reader. It reveals a lot and hides some too – striking a balance between out in the open and the mystery element. It’s about M for Murder – but it’s also about love, friendship, devotion and human nature. It’s not witty and racy like other popular crime fiction, but intelligent and sturdy – making you squint your eyes and calculate the scenarios in your head as the story unfolds. Like all other crime-mystery books the murder happens in the beginning – but unlike others you know the murderer, method and intent – now you ask how it can be a CRIME-MYSTERY? Well that is the beauty of it!!
‘Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem?’
‘When an amateur attempts to conceal something, the more complex he makes his camouflage, the deeper the grave he digs for himself. But no so a genius. The genius does something far simpler, yet something no normal person would even dream of, the last thing a normal person would think of doing. And from this simplicity, immense complexity is created.’
‘Like making an algebra problem look like a geometry problem.’
I also loved the book for its Mathematical affiliation. Maths has always been close to my heart – despite what people say it’s as logical as creative. It may not be colourful or fashionable, but it is definitely abstract as well as beautiful. Knowing Numbers is a must in any given scenario. There is only one answer to all problems but there are a million ways to reach that answer. If you say there are a million assumptions to an answer then they all are just different problems. This is where the creativity and beauty of Maths lies. Not many can understand and appreciate that but those who can will be nodding in agreement with me.
“Every year there was someone who asked why they had to study Maths. Every year, he gave the same explanation. This year, since it was a student who liked motorbikes, he’d used the example of motorbike racing. Last year, it was an aspiring musician, so he talked about the maths used in designing musical technology.”
Finally the most interesting part of the book -the intellectual conversations and camaraderie of the physician and the mathematician. They challenge and stimulate each other perfectly but very subtly. You cannot help but feel a little sad as well as amused as two intelligent people work at opposite sides of each other. The mutual respect and understanding they share for the knowledge and each other’s intelligence takes the book a notch higher.
READ IT!! READ IT!I READ IT!!