The Last Resort
January 3, 2024

Book Review

The Last Resort

reviewed by Dr. Sneha Pathak


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RV Raman’s The Last Resort marks the fourth installment in the series featuring Harith Athreya, a seasoned private detective whose age has only sharpened his investigative prowess. The novel continues the series’ tradition of setting its mysteries in picturesque locations, this time unfolding in the serene backwaters of Kerala, India.

In The Last Resort, Athreya, accompanied by his wife Veni, is recuperating from dengue fever at a tranquil resort. The narrative introduces a diverse cast, including the influential Gauria family, connected to Bollywood filmmaking, Bhagya, a struggling actress, and Kishan, a Bollywood fixer. The characters are intricately linked, particularly in their shared animosity towards Danuj Gauria, the family’s younger son. When Danuj is found murdered, Athreya’s holiday transforms into a murder investigation at the request of the victim’s father, Mahesh Gauria, despite the involvement of local police.

The novel expertly crafts a closed-circle mystery, with the isolated resort setting intensifying the suspense. Readers are drawn into Athreya’s methodical process of deduction, navigating through a maze of red herrings, false leads, and surprising twists. Raman’s writing maintains a steady pace, balancing a manageable cast of characters that, while initially complex, become increasingly familiar as the story progresses.

The Bollywood element adds depth and intrigue, providing the characters with layered, intricate backgrounds and multiple motives. The novel’s setting — a picturesque locale with resorts and houseboats isolated by water — enhances the story’s allure, blending the film industry’s glamour and kitsch into the narrative backdrop.

Significantly, The Last Resort marks the first appearance of Athreya’s wife, Veni, who plays an active role in aiding her husband’s investigation, adding a new dynamic to the series.

Overall, The Last Resort is a robust addition to the Harith Athreya series, sure to appeal to mystery enthusiasts who appreciate the classic whodunnit style. Its unique setting, compelling characters, and intricate plot make it a must-read for fans of the genre.

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