Rani is a journalist in a small local newspaper in Bareilly, India. Besides her schoolteacher father, who is also the neighborhood poet and drunk, her family includes two sisters and a mother, Shakuntala, who has a past history of her own. The mother had run away from a small village, Rampur,... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Rani is a journalist in a small local newspaper in Bareilly, India. Besides her schoolteacher father, who is also the neighborhood poet and drunk, her family includes two sisters and a mother, Shakuntala, who has a past history of her own. The mother had run away from a small village, Rampur, in India, rebelling against a powerful father, who was forcing her to marry an ambitious and morally dubious suitor, Vir Singh. She leaves behind her only other sister, Savitri, who ends up marrying the jilted man. Besides being unethical, this son-in-law also had a wealthy first wife, who died in questionable circumstances, leaving behind a traumatized young son called Durlabh.
In the years that Shakuntala is away from Rampur, Vir Singh inherits both the wealth and the political legacy her father leaves behind after his death. Vir also rises in power and becomes a Member of Parliament from the dominant national party. His eldest son, Durlabh, from his first wife, is now engaged to the daughter of the Chief Minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh. This will end up solidifying Vir Singh's position both in the party and the State.
Twenty-five years after being disowned by her family, Shakuntala receives a letter from her sister, Savitri. Rani has been invited by her aunt to come to Rampur to help in the preparations for the forthcoming marriage. "I am unwell," says Savitri, "and cannot do this by myself." As enticement, she also adds that this will soften Vir Singh and improve relations between the two families for the future.
Shakuntala takes this invitation as an opportunity for her daughter to get details and photographs of the estate, so they can lay claim to her share. The Supreme Court of India, she says, now allows daughters an equal share in inherited family property.
With curiosity and a sense of purpose, Rani sets forth on the journey to Rampur, where she hopes, if nothing else, she will at least get a good story for her newspaper. She meets her three unfriendly cousins and the long suffering Durlabh, who seems incapable of standing up to anybody. The Aunt seems to have her own reasons for inviting Rani, which might just call for seducing Durlabh away from his powerfully connected fiancée in order to clear the way for her own wastrel son, Vijay. Meanwhile, the daughter of the house, Anjali, is playing a dangerous game in consorting with a lower caste boy from the village, who is the son of a political rival of Vir Singh. The youngest son, Roop, is also playing with fire when he begins to pursue the angry bastard of Vir Singh, who is born of the village courtesan clever enough to have contrived a good education for her son.
In this dangerous household, where she witnesses Vir Singh commit murder, Rani navigates her way to keep herself, and others she hold dear, safe. Will Rani achieve her goal of securing her mother's share of the ancestral property and bring the two families together? Will she stop her Uncle from wantonly destroying the lives of others, and get a scoop for her newspaper?
Read the book to find out what happens!
Table of Contents
Principal Characters (In Alphabetical Order)
Journey to Rampur
Life in Maya Prasad Mansion
The Wedding Planner
An outing with Durlabh and Sujata
The Murder and its aftermath
The Government Falls
Solving a Puzzle
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