*AWARD WINNING! WINNER OF AutHER AWARD 2022 for Best Author-Children’s category
Title: Murder At Daisy Apartments
Author: Shabnam Minwalla
Age group: 13+ years
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books/Young Adult
(Note from Asha: This is being posted by me on behalf of my soon-to-be 14 year old daughter, Aarini)
A murder mystery set in Mumbai during the 2020 Lockdown.
It’s about Nandini Venkat, a 15 year old girl, who goes on a murder-solving adventure from her room, since where she lives – The Lily and Daisy Twin Apartments, were sealed off by the BMC after one positive case of Covid-19 was detected.
The first 6 chapters are a little slow, but I kept going, because after all, a crime was promised! These chapters are more about introducing all the characters who live in the twin apartments. For instance, the gossipy, shiny-clothes-wearing teens and their parents – her very amusing neighbours! Also the author describes how weird it was to live under a lockdown!
By the way, Nandini has a twin, Ved, who is more prominent towards the end.
The story goes like this:
Nandini (who lives in the Lily building) and her best friend, Shanaya (who lives in the Daisy building), were lockdown bored. And since they couldn’t go to each other’s houses, they decided to watch the same movie at the same time on their own laptops. After bickering for a couple of minutes on what movie to watch, they finally settled on Mean Girls, a movie they had memorised perfectly!
About halfway through, Nandini looked out her window to “just check on” Daniel, her neighbour (the guy she thinks is the one for her), when suddenly she saw a pair of legs in the staircase of the Daisy Apartments. Now normally, this wouldn’t make a difference, but ever since the lockdown, it was lights out pretty early for the apartments, and no one really roamed about. Nandini took note of the legs, plus a couple more iffy things, and continued watching the movie.
Next thing you know, a lot of neighbours were crowded in front of a bedroom door in the Daisy Apartments, getting ready to kick it in, little knowing that they were about to come across a barely alive neighbour – Baman Marker.
Suddenly Nandini, Shanaya and Ved find some masala in their lockdown lives. I mean, who wouldn’t want to solve a murder in the building?
Forged notes, green detox juice, annoying group chats, suspicious people leaving when the morning still looks like night (even though there’s a pretty strict lockdown going on), and a spirit-calling-trio that Alfonsa, their live-in maid is a part of, are just some of the other things that make this book so exciting and hard to put down.
It has an amazing story line! There’s just so much to unpack! In fact, towards the end, I had so many theories, as to why the murder took place, and of course, who the murderer was. I absolutely love the book because it has such incredibly unpredictable plot twists. It’s pretty relatable for an adventure-seeking teen (well except for the murder part), especially since most of us in India are still stuck at home in a lockdown.
Also, I need to mention, there’s a bit of a cliffhanger, which drove me nuts! I kinda wish there were 2 more chapters (making it 30) so I didn’t have to wonder… But then again, that’s probably what makes a good book a great book.
Overall, the perfect read for teens who enjoy murder mysteries.
Saira Zariwala Is Afraid is another book by Shabnam Minwalla. Her other books are available on Amazon here.
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