Top positive review
Overall a nice murder mystery which makes the reader nostalgic at times, a little long though.
26 September 2018
I bought "The Tree Bears Witness" - A Birbal Mystery - a while ago from Amazon India, during a promotion; but got a chance to read it recently. It is comparatively a long book (usually, Birbal stories are smaller) where Sharath Komarraju (the author) tried exploring a murder mystery.
Emperor Akbar recently got married to Hira Kunwari. Most of the royal marriages are more of a political treaty and a promissory note amongst kingdoms. Eventually, the marriages may turn into the real bond of love between the husband and the wife, and it may happen that the things fall apart.
Hira Kunwari's relatives are also at the Palace of Akbar.
While two guards were doing their duties inside the palace, near a garden, they were approached by an influential figure, whom they let go inside. Actually, one of the guards don't know the person, but the other one identified him as Sujjamal. Being a relative to queen Hira Kunwari, Sujjamal is definitely an influential person and a guest who must be honored.
There happened something wrong when both the guards were in the conversation. Suddenly they hear (from the far) that Sujjamal's cry and eventually seen him getting stabbed also! Yes, Sujjamal is stabbed to death, but they couldn't see who did it!!! They ran towards Sujjamal and one of them has fainted midway! Sujjamal was taken to Hakim's place, but, he was declared dead.
The situation became very tricky in terms of political circumstances. If Hira Kunwari's relative doubt/believe that Sujjamal was assassinated by the emperor or his confidante, the political balance and relations between the Rajputs and the Mughals will be facing a storm.
The mystery needs to be solved at the earliest, and there is only one person the emperor could trust in such troublesome moments. That is Mahesh Das, aka Birbal.
How Birbal tries finding the clue in order to solve the mystery, is the rest of the book.
Views and Reviews:
The book is a good mystery which at places you may find stretched but never get bored of.
The mystery involves a large number of characters but the main on which you should keep a watch includes Akbar, Birbal, Azgher Abbasi, Rashid, Man Singh, Bhagwant Das, Sujjamal, Gulbadan Begum, Mirza Hakim, Nazneen, Raja Bharmal, Hira Kunwari to name a few. If you mix up them while reading with each other, probably you will not enjoy it properly. It is tough to write a mystery where a number of characters are involved and especially linked with each other. The author did a good job here.
Here are some of the character-defining lines from the book:
A man who is impossible to bribe, Mahesh Das, is a man that can be scared.
Rajput women do not abandon their husbands no matter how grave the grievance.
The book has its own dose of Sarcasm:
Some dead people make the most charming companions. Way better than the living.
And here is an advise a lot of men need to remember:
A woman’s heart ought to be won over with patience, not snatched by force.
The way the author weaved the components together is something worth going for. Also, the author is good at explaining the scenes. Overall, I’ve enjoyed reading it.
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.