The Valentine’s Day Clue is the first in the coming “Nayak Brothers” series by Rupalu Rajopadhyay Rotti. In an India meets Hardy Boys debut, Rupali writes a tale of intrigue and suspense.

The backdrop of this story has been set up in Pune. Akash is an earnest young college going student who gets viciously attacked by some unidentified persons on his way back home. His Brother Dev asks his close friends Raj and Sandy to investigate this case which appears to be fallout of a post Feb-14 incident the college. Raj and Sandy are brothers and sons of city’s DCP, referred as “The Nayak Brothers” are Dev and Akash’s college mates with hidden aspirations to become detectives. They start their quest from the college canteen and soon find themselves in a tricky position when they too get a severe bashing by some goons who threaten them against continuing the investigation. This leads to the thought that there is more than just a post Feb-14 bashing to this case. While they went to find out the culprits of their friend’s brother (even after they kept getting bashing by the goons and surviving somehow), the story moves into the robberies performed by a dangerous Chilly-powder gang and their latest plans of repeating their act somewhere in Pune. How these two cases are connected?, How ‘the Nayak Brothers’ solve this case and help their friend?… the answers to these questions form the rest of the story.

Our Nayak Brothers are no Sherlock Holmes. However, if you have liked the teenage detective novels of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew then you will like reliving those days. The Puneites will be able to identify with the story easily as it gives a virtual tour of the by-lanes and mysteries of the Old city. The author manages to maintain suspense through the novel and keep the reader engaged.

Being the first novel by Rupali, credit must go to her that she did not choose the already cliched story-line of ‘fresh urban’ romance that the new breed of Indian ‘writers’ specialize in. There is not the already done to death love story, followed by a few lovey dovey scenes, some troubles and then a happy ending. Instead, Rupali takes up the difficult challenge to write a thriller set in India and establish a new brand name of young detectives in Indian fiction – The Nayak Brothers. She almost manages to pull it off – well almost.

I say almost, because the novel could have been much better than it is. Being the first attempt of the author, there are traces of amateurishness here and there. The attempt to establish the “Nayak Brothers”, for instance, through repeated reference to the phrase looks a bit forced. The writing should have been crispier and more lucid. A more careful proof reading and some better  editing could have helped.

Overall, I would say that the book was a decent read and I would expect newer and even better editions of the adventure of the Nayak Brothers.


Book: The Valentines Day Clue
Author: Rupali Rajopadhye Rotti
ISBN: 9381836469
ISBN-13: 9789381836460, 978-9381836460
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 2012
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
Number of Pages: 237
Language: English