But the "Indian love story" takes up most of the 500-pager, a la Mills & Boon, with its innocuous pleasantries and the tortuously slow process of the hero getting into the heroine’s bed after getting into her affections. Even the promising whodunit peters out in the face of the genteel middle-class society that Singh creates where there is no place for revealing the awful truth that the boy’s mother is a murderer. The plot is thus resolved deux ex machina in the guise of the Fakir who prophesies the murder and then offers absolution for it.
But the greatest disappointment is the young divorced single parent, Maneka. Singh sterotypes her into an irrationally aggressive man-hating feminist who is finally brought back into the fold by falling in love with a good man. Singh’s commentary on the plight of women is undermined by the overly-aggressive Maneka. n Vinita Chandra