Book Review : A Degree in Death

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

The midnight murder of a student in the sleepy town of Dehradun rouses everyone with suspicion and alarm. Violence is incomprehensible in this institute located at the foothills of the Himalayas. With no clues or suspects, the police are unable to catch the killer. 

Professor Shantanu Bose, an eminent nano-expert and Dean of Research and Development, is deeply troubled at this havoc caused to his institute. Determined to bring back the peaceful academic environment of the campus, he begins his own investigation. 
Fear mounts as more bodies are discovered one after the other. Soon the professor finds himself in grave danger. as he realizes he is being stalked and his every move is being observed. Yet. he persists with his inquiry and discovers that the truth is more startling than what anyone could have imagined. 


Murder mysteries are something I adore. I kind of dream about them even when I’m reading other stories. It is as if I want a murder to happen in almost every book. Alas, all the authors don’t oblige me. Ruby Gupta did, though. She has killed more than one person in her book and I’m fairly happy with that. She has recreated a traditional murder mystery, one where you bump into dead bodies, suspects and nail-biting situations. Well, not exactly the last trait in this book, you have the other ones.

The stage is set in Dehradun, which I have heard is as picturesque as it could be. Imagine a science and technology institute set amidst serene hills and misty valleys. The author has managed to weave a good plot which will keep you busy till the end. As the blurb suggests, the book begins with the midnight murder of a student. What follows is havoc and chaos among the other students and faculty as well. An interested and inquisitive professor starts his investigation alongside the police and the author follows his trail diligently.

cbp3The plot is fairly taut and pacy, though there are a few slack spots halfway through the book. There are a few loopholes in the plot, for example, an incompetent police officer who has no clue about the suspects and relies on the professor. However, you could ignore them for the sake of the story. For most people, the climax would come as a surprise, but if you have read too many murder mysteries already, you might be able to predict the culprit. It won’t deter you from reading the book through the end. There are a few editorial glitches which become an eyesore while the read, I hope they will be amended in the next editions. The author has maintained a steady flair of easy Indian English, not entirely spoiling the language. A few Hindi words are interspersed wherever they were required. I would have loved the writing to be a few notches higher; it would have made the book much better than it already is.

Lastly, there is a very relevant and interesting sub-plot woven through the murders which is worth a read. I wouldn’t divulge more as spoilers. The book is recommended if you love to gorge on murder trails.

My Rating: 3.75/5

Image Courtesy: Goodreads

Image Courtesy: Goodreads

About the Author:

Ruby Gupta, initially a student of science, switched to creative writing, dabbled in journalism, went on to acquire 2 gold medals for Literature, and finally ended with a PhD. Recipient of the Pratibha Samman Award for journalism, she was also awarded the GSE for USA by Rotary International. She has published numerous short stories, poems, articles, interviews and research papers. Currently she is working as Professor & HOD Humanities, at Dehradun Institute of Technology, Dehradun, India.

She has also authored 6 books, which include: ‘Maya – A Novel’, ‘Khushwant Singh: Reality and Myth’, ‘A Collection of Short Stories’, ‘Basic Technical Communication’ and ‘Advanced Technical Communication’. Her latest novel is ‘A Degree in Death.’

Book Details: 

Language: English,  Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Author(s): Ruby Gupta

Publisher: Alchemy, Year Published: 2012

Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 280

ISBN-13: 9788180460845, ISBN-10: 8180460843

Reviewed for: Publisher

This review is also shared with the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at The Tales Pensieve

2 thoughts on “Book Review : A Degree in Death

  1. We are reaching out to you in your capacity as one of India’s leading book bloggers. Some of us bloggers have started a Facebook Page to showcase books by Indian authors and to feature all reviews by Indian bloggers. Request you to check out the page and leave links to any of your reviews of the featured books. Also if you want us to feature any books on our page, please let us know and we will do the needful.


  2. At last I have come across a gripping murder mystery by an Indian writer!

    From page one I was hooked and could not stop reading till the very end. The plot’s twists and turns had me in a thrall. I kept on suspecting various people to be the murderer, but the ending was totally unexpected!

    Great writing, simple language and fantastic story. A must read for all!!!


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