Book Review: ‘Death in Shambles’ by Stephen Alter

Intrigue story that uncovers mysteries


Book Title: Death in Shambles: A Hill Station Mystery
Author: Stephen Alter
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-9395853064
Date Published: Jan. 05, 2023
Price: INR 479

Death in Shambles by Stephen Alter Book Cover

Book Review

Author Stephen Alter, who has written over 20 works of fiction and nonfiction, has done an excellent job with this hill station murder mystery.”Death in Shambles” is a sequel to his 1978 novel ‘Neglected Lives,’ a tale about young passion. It was set in a fictitious village called Debrakot, inspired by his birthplace of Mussoorie.

Talking about the book’s plot, “Death in Shambles“, Lionel Carmichael, a retired police officer, finds consolation in Debrakot, his previous sanctuary from a turbulent affair in Lucknow many years ago. Despite his distinguished career, Lionel’s final year of military duty ended in suspension, destroying his image.

Nonetheless, he is well-regarded in his industry, and when a double murder upsets the peaceful lives of Debrakot’s varied citizens, Lionel is called in to investigate. He has no idea that a terrible double murder at Shambala Villa will upend his calm existence. Author Lionel Carmichael puts readers on a riveting trip as the former inspector becomes involved in a web of deceit and falsehoods, with the fate of the inquiry lying on his shoulders.

The author’s flawless description of each character and their opinions is one of the book’s notable aspects. Carmichael’s attention to detail is impressive, and readers will be intrigued by the story’s subtle intricacies. The likeness of the Pillow, in particular, is a fine detail that adds depth to the storyline and demonstrates the author’s good writing.

Furthermore, the language employed in the book is clear, transparent, and reader-friendly. The author’s writing style ensures a comfortable reading experience, with the tale flowing well from one chapter to the next. This simplicity does not distract from the plot’s suspense; it heightens the intensity and keeps readers interested.

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Death in Shambles” is a gripping thriller that mixes a fast-paced narrative with surprising turns to engross readers. The well-developed characters reveal their intentions, and the author’s ability to generate unexpected situations adds to the novel’s attractiveness. Stephen Alter deftly tackles a broad spectrum of human emotions, including love, friendship, fear, revenge, greed, and jealousy, giving the narrative depth and complexity.

The tale, set in the picturesque hill resort of Debrakot, eloquently recounts the upheaval created by a series of disturbing episodes, notably the double murders in the decrepit Shambala Villa, aptly titled. This is my third book from Stephan Alter, and I am always surprised by his writing skills. I wish to pick up his other books and enjoy his reading.

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