Tied to Deceit

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Pub Date 06 Aug 2018 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2018
Penguide Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles

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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 Singh's 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.

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...

A Note From the Publisher

eBook available for $7.99 (ISBN: 978-1-7751580-2-8), hardcover available for $28.99 (ISBN: 978-1-7751580-4-2).

eBook available for $7.99 (ISBN: 978-1-7751580-2-8), hardcover available for $28.99 (ISBN: 978-1-7751580-4-2).

Advance Praise

"A remarkable whodunit that's 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 Brar's next endeavor."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A literary mystery saga that includes far more depth and psychological and cultural insights than your typical murder mystery's scenario."
--D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

"A remarkable whodunit that's 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...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781775158035
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 27 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Penguide Books for the eARC.
Set in a small town in India, this clever mystery is a huge treat. Having lived in India as a kid, I love books set there and this one is particularly good.
Devica Singh, a beautiful young woman, is murdered. She was vain, heartless and ruthless and universally hated in the community, so there are plenty of possible suspects. We are afforded many peeks into her life, showing why so many people could have wanted to kill her. She was definitely an accident waiting to happen...quite a piece of work!
SP Sharma, the detective, has an almost impossible job solving the murder; there are so many candidates for the killing. Like an onion, he peels the layers of Devica's life in order to figure out the case and the ending of the book was a shocker to me, great stuff!
The characters are very well drawn and I particularly liked the depiction of the strong women.
All in all this is more than an excellent mystery; it's good literature, a book to get your teeth into with gusto, Highly recommended!

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Tied to Deceit has all the classic elements of a traditional murder mystery: particular setting, a small town, a young, merciless, beautiful woman, a grisly murder and assorted relatives and friends. SP Vishwanath Sharma must sort our everything in the end.

The ultimate outcome is excellent: fast and nicely tidied up. There’s not a single dull moment throughout the book. As a reader, you follow Devika Singh’s life’s hidden layers keenly and try to keep up with what was going on around her life to gather your own clues about the murder. I admit I didn’t expect the final outcome and was completely left in shock.

If you love well-written mysteries with thoroughly developed characters and beautiful settings, you are going to love Tied to Deceit.

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This was a very quiet yet satisfying mystery set in a small town in India. When a young woman named Devika is murdered, there are many suspects as she was considered rude and unlikable and was also having an affair with the brilliant doctor for whom she worked. So many people are questioned and many clues are slowly revealed as Sharma and his team work to uncover the circumstances surrounding the murder as well as motives as her life held many secrets unknown to those closest to her. If you enjoy a good literary thriller, this is a lovely one--not as fast-paced as some I've read--but quite a wonderful debut with many facets that will leave you wondering up until the killer is revealed.

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This is a copy provided by the publisher and the author in exchange of an honest review. Thank you to them! 

This book was an amazing surprise! I have to tell you that the author captivated my attention since the very begining to the end. The plot structure is one of things that I liked the most, to me a good book has to have these on point like a way to guide my reading.

Another thing I enjoyed was the clues given in a slow and measured way. The whole mystery environment was created around the unveiling gradually which in turn made my reading more addictive. There has not been the typical breakthrough of the development of history, which in my view has become quite a favor in the linear structure of events and as well my immersion in history. The boredom never arose in contrast the complexity was gradually increasing with interaction of the characters thus, demonstrating the density that a good thriller has to cherish.

One of the main characters, the investigator Sharma, was without a doubt one of the great engines for the whole plot. For me it was the character who most fascinated me in the sense of being a totally out of the ordinary investigator, he was aware of his abilities and not arrogant, cautious and not impulsive. More points to that!!

In addition, the author makes the effort to provide an accompaniment through the thought of each character in the unfolding, making everything even more interesting. In this prespective, the characters became more dense and not so artificial, demonstrating their fragilities and fears rather curious.

Regarding the story I found it dense and constantly changing, now I was thinking of a line of reasoning as following everything changed. From part two the story evolves into layers that are explored by the characters. Involved their past, the characters become dense and consequently everything makes this genre of book full of mystery and even more intriguing.

Another aspect that I liked to highlight is the fact that small points of Indian culture were introduced during the plot, so it was very pleasant to contact this dimension making everything even more real and cohesive. In addition, the author made the point of attaching a glossary that allows the reader to find out more about what they are reading about some words that appears. So it was a good idea!

One aspect that I didn't liked so much was the fastest ending, not that it wasn't good, because it was very fascinating! But I felt that I needed more layers to ending the story! Since the whole story was created that way, with density at least the ending should be that way too!

So all the conditions that I said before are reunited and detailed now and I can only say that is definitly a good thriller!!

Highly recomended to all that enjoy reading thriller and mysteries books.

Happy readings, 

Next to a Book!

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4 stars
I would call this a cerebral mystery, in that there is only 1 murder and little violence. Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma is assigned to the murder of Devika Singh in the town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, located in the Himalayan foothills. He and Sub-Inspector Arjun Rawat begin a slow, methodical investigation into the murder, interviewing witnesses and building up a portrait of the murdered woman. Devika Singh was a manipulative woman who took advantage of almost everyone that she met. She had many enemies. As Sharma and Rawat begin to piece together clues to her murder, the reader is led down some false paths, but they discover hidden secrets about her and some of her acquaintances.
I enjoyed this mystery, but it was a little slow at times. I read it in 4 days.
Some quotes:
Sharma's wife describing her husband "Slowly, she had come to terms with the fact that he was not one of those husbands who help with children and other household chores."
Sharma's method "To suspect everything and trust nothing in a murder investigation had always been Sharma's motto in the two decades of his police career."
Thanks to Penguide Books for sending me this eARC through NetGalley

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Penguide books for a review copy of Tied to Deceit, a début police procedural set in the town of Sanover, Punjab in the early 1970s.

When Devika Singh is murdered Superintendent Sharma and his trusty sidekick, Sub-Inspector Rawat, are charged with the investigation but it's less than straightforward as the more they investigate the more they realise that Devika kept many secrets and each secret supplies another motive and suspect.

I thoroughly enjoyed Tied to Deceit which is an absorbing read with a good mystery, an interesting victim, an exotic location and a fascinating glimpse of Indian society at the time. It had me hooked from start to finish with the way it is plotted and written. It is not a fast moving book as it relies on Superintendent Sharma's interviews with various characters and his intuition to move forward but every chapter provides a fresh revelation for the reader to ponder and try to fit into their existing knowledge. I like the way it follows a logical, believable path with a mostly linear timeline. The language in the novel can be convoluted at times but I think it strikes the right note for the setting and era.

The novel opens with doctor's wife Gayatri Bhardwaj reflecting back on the murder, a year after it happened. How she is involved quickly becomes apparent and it is a neat touch to start the novel with her thoughts and deductions as it ends in the same way, a nice symmetry when most of the novel is told from Sharma and his investigation's point of view.

Despite the fact that she is dead Devika Singh is the protagonist in the novel because it is her past and actions which take centre stage and drive Sharma's investigation. Who knew one woman could have so many enemies and leave such a trail of destruction behind her? She was not a nice woman, stunningly beautiful physically she had an ugly personality, being completely self centred. It is fascinating to see how others react to her and much of it rings true in its detail. I was fascinated to see how this wayward woman is condemned by the society of the time as she is too modern for the majority.

Tied to Deceit won't be for every reader but I liked it and have no hesitation in recommending it as a good read.

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Devika Singh, a receptionist at the hospital in the town of Sanover, was not the most popular individual. She was having an affair with the chief doctor, she was instrumental in the suicide of a pregnant young girl… pretty much the complete package. So it comes as no particular surprise when she is found murdered.

The Superintendent of Police, Vishwanath Sharma, investigates and soon finds that the list of people with motives is much longer than he anticipates. As he delves into the personal lives of the primary suspects, and the links between them – both open and hidden – it seems that what seemed to be a straightforward case of murder may be far more complex than anyone anticipated…

Another debut novel that I have the pleasure of bringing to your attention via the blog, following Christopher Huang’s A Gentleman’s Murder, and another book that is very much in the style of the classic mystery – hey, that’s in the name of the blog! What a lucky coincidence. And Neena H Brar, just like Christopher Huang, not only lives in Canada but also, and probably more importantly to you, dear reader, is channelling Dame Agatha here, with a fairly finite set of suspects. But while Christopher was going for the puzzle plot with a healthy dose of character, here Neena is balancing the two aspects the other way round – a character-driven novel with a decent puzzle plot. In both cases, the two elements are strong, but the mystery here, while definitely worth your time, is a more straightforward affair. I suppose the best analogy here would be to compare A Gentleman’s Murder to Peril At End House and Tied To Deceit to The Hollow. Both strong books from Dame Agatha, but each with a different emphasis.

The author takes time as the tale develops to build up the atmosphere and the characters and the location – a town in the Himachal Pradesh state of India – makes for an unfamiliar setting for this reader at least, in a similar way to some historical mysteries. One word of advice – my review copy had a glossary at the back of the book which I didn’t discover until I got to the back of the book – I’d suggest the reader use it for some local words whose meanings were unknown to me and that I couldn’t always work out from the context of the text. That’s the problem with review copies – no contents at the beginning to let me know!

All in all, a satisfying debut novel that fans of character-driven mysteries will enjoy a lot. Well Worth A Look.

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I believe this is the author's first novel; let me say that I hope she will write many more. This is more of a slow-paced mystery, but it was a very satisfying read. Set in India, the geography, language and culture all play an important role in the book. Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma is a rather inscrutable, laid-back character, and slowly but surely brings the mystery to an end.

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An enjoyable murder mystery set in India with such a blend of characters you cannot help but love how the plot unravels. Thank you Netgalley for the eARC.

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