“With Murder at Daisy Apartments, bestselling author Shabnam Minwalla brings her phenomenal gift for dramatic storytelling to a new genre.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Lockdown shuts two apartment buildings that face each other as Covid-19 begins to make its presence felt in Mumbai. Lily and Daisy are the two apartment blocks; Lily is home to the nosy Nandini Venkat, her twin Ved while her best friend Shanaya and her crush Daniel live in Daisy. As most apartments are, the buildings are run by the head of the complex committee the much hated Baman Makar who runs the society with a whiphand and insists that everything functions according to his diktat. A case of Covid gives him the perfect excuse for stealing everyone’s happiness with super strict protocols, including no non essential food orders and since the food has to be ordered through him, he knows exactly what everyone is up to.
Nandini is a teen with a Poirot fixation and she keeps a covert eye on most things that happen in Daisy – since her bedroom window faces the building. Occasionally, she is sharper than the CCTVs that Makar has installed and when the nasty man is murdered on a Friday she recalls a suspicious pair of black legs that she saw climbing the Daisy staircase at an odd time of the night.
Shabnam Minawalla has a talent for building up that creepy claustrophobic feeling and lockdown gives her the perfect opportunity. She builds a teen world deprived of waffles and junkfood with rumours rife and anxieties running riot. There is Kysha the super smart super mean granddaughter of Lina Almeida who is known as Granny Grotesque by Nandini and Co and there is Thea who seems to have been body shamed and the dashing Neville Khambata who possibly dopes. All this set again south Mumbai which houses privileged brats and plenty of atmosphere.
Ultimately through a world of parental issues like divorces, discipline and the other hundred and one problems that teens face, a murder mystery unravels. While Minawalla’s language is superb and sun-dazed and she knows her teens inside out, the revelation of the murderer falls slightly flat – though it does hint at the possibility of a sequel because surely murderers, no matter how innocent their intentions, cannot risk discovery?
Added 18th August 2021