Jan 212023
Detective Small and the Mystery of ‘The Thaali’ [Review]
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Title: Nisha Small The Knot of Gold
Author: C. G. Salamander
Illustrator: Rajiv Eipe
Publisher: Duckbill Books, Penguin Random House India
Type: Paperback
Pages: 80 pages
Recommended Age: 7 – 10 years

I’m posting this review on behalf of my 9 yo daughter.

Duckbill hOle books are my favorite because these books are written in Indian context. The font size is big and the language is so simple that I can completely focus on having fun while reading. My sister and I together check out the funny illustrations entering and exiting the holes.

C.G. Salamander has weaved a fabulous story around an Indian wedding. The book reminded me of the events in my aunt’s wedding I attended last month. Although nothing went missing there, but I am convinced all Indian weddings are incomplete without last minute surprises, elders arguing over better planning and every single family member having the stress levels at peak. Bride’s room looks like a war zone, no matter how organized she has ever been. Children and grandparents enjoy their freedom to eat all the sweets and treats when parents are busy with the rituals.

Jamie’s elder sister is getting married in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. His parents are very superstitious. Poor Jamie is nervous that he shouldn’t drop the thaali that was made by mixing gold from both families as a symbol of unity. Bad omens were not welcome at all but… first the bride’s engagement saree went missing and later the place caught fire! Jamie had to visit the dentist and the gold thaali was found to be fake when he returned. A team of the best detectives was hired to find the missing thaali but Jamie trusted his friend Nisha the most.

Nisha had been solving cases in her school and surroundings. It was her passion and she changed her name to Nisha Small that sounded more like a detective. You must read the book to find out how she connects the dots and finally uncovers the truth. The detectives also offered her to join their agency. Detective Small was happy to associate with best professionals. If only they had slightest idea of Tamil, they would have searched for ‘the gold thaali’ more effectively.

I could relate to the characters in many places. The joy of eating ice-cream after dental treatment, going breathless while talking in excitement and the annoying habit of elders underestimating children. I liked Small’s gesture of thanking the detectives for working as a team. Detectives were proud to find the youngest yet best detective in all of Madurai but they did not reveal it to her. Certainly they did not want her to settle for less.

The illustrations are great too. While the aeroplane landing was perfect, the hand coming out of hOle was funny when Nisha and Jamie run off. I liked the moustache part the most. The story was going in very serious manner but the illustrations literally forced us to laugh.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am happy to welcome Nisha Small to our Library of hOles. She is sure to give company to Mira the Detective and Shy Supergirl.

All of Duckbill’s hOle books come highly recommended for the topics they cover and of course, their humour.

The bookset of 25 hOle books is also available and works out awesome for gifting throughout the year!

If you enjoyed this review and want to solve the mystery of the missing thaali, you should grab this book from Amazon (kbc affiliate link),


Disclaimer: Mona and her daughters are part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher.

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