Title: Murder in the Palace and Other Stories
Author: Priya U Bajpai
Genre: Short Stories
Murder in the Palace and Other Stories is a delightful collection of stories where world building and exquisite language go hand in hand.
The book has twelve stories, short, sweet and tangy. Starting from a contemporary detective story, the book moves on to other genres that explore time travel, sci fi, romance, feminism among others with a wide variety of settings. There is a story for everyone here.
The book starts with the eponymous story, Murder in the Palace and the most striking detail of the story is the detective herself. It seems a complex whodunit but the answers are found surprisingly fast and through deduction. I liked the way the story gets straight to the point from the first paragraph itself and yet there is no glossing over the backstory.
Geisha is expectedly set in Japan. It is such a lovely and poignant story. I was transported to a world of beauty, grace, elegance and love that is expressed in subtle ways.
Horrific Holocaust is set in Germany and brings into focus the Holocaust through teenage angst.
I’m II is science fiction that is chilling and is a little too real for comfort. The narrative is captivating.
The Mysterious Globe is almost magical, but it teases and seems unfinished.
I liked the Killer very much. It has an interesting twist in the tale and was so different from the stories I had read till that point.
Mia of Maya is wondrous. The narrator here is from the Mayan civilization and it is not the mere life but the wiping out of an entire people that the story addresses.
Dazzled and Banon’s Conundrum are also very striking stories, with completely unexpected endings.
Neil’s Shoe closes this collection and I was left with an other-worldly feeling, not just from this story but from the heady mix that I had just finished.
What works well
Priya has a very literary writing style and a way with world building that is very elaborate and yet succinct. All through the book, I was constantly struck by how versatile she is, through the choice of the storylines.
Each story is a different world and an experience in itself. I did not read the stories in one go. I picked them at random, savouring them.
The cover art of the book is gorgeous and is a definite plus for the book.
About the Author
Priya U Bajpai is a short story author and poet. She has also been published in mainstream newspapers. This literature scholar is a versatile story-teller. She is adept at writing fast-paced and layered tales across genres. This extremely modest writer lets her craft do the talking.
This eclectic mix of stories show case a wide range of settings and emotions. Pick this collection if you like vivid descriptions and a literary writing style.
Download the book here. It is free for a limited period.