Sometimes, you need to look past a book’s title to get a feel for its subject. The title—in this instance, Corpses in Colombo—doesn’t tell you the full story. But the red and green colour scheme, those gift wrapped presents, the stocking, the bells and holly, and most of all, that Christmas tree, tell you it’s set during Christmas. And since (at the time of publishing) we’re well into December, it’s high time I review a Christmas book. What better way to do it than with the well-worn Christmas tradition of a cosy mystery? And one that adds to the Christmas spirit by listing some great Christmas tunes to listen to (with a link provided to the playlist on Spotify)?
One of the wonderful things about cosy mysteries is that you don’t have to read the entire series to follow along. These are episodic adventures perfectly contained between the book’s covers (even if they’re virtual, Kindle-only covers). Corpses in Colombo is the fourth in Nadishka Aloysius’ A Sri Lankan Mystery series, but the first one I’ve read. As the subtitle highlights, this is a book set in Sri Lanka, a setting you don’t see all too often in English-language books. Its Christmas backdrop is a fun way to look at the season, through the prism of a country where it is celebrated, but not as widely as in Christian countries.
At an estimated 147 swipes on your Kindle, Corpses in Colombo is a brief read, and one that feels even shorter. It’s easy to read this novella in a single sitting; you can kick back, relax, and read a fun, unchallenging story. Although brief, Aloysius manages to introduce readers to its mystery, its characters—leads Kimaya and Vino, and all the suspects you’d expect to find in the genre—and its world, including the backdrop. From the moment I started reading Corpses in Colombo, I was transported to Sri Lanka, which is painted in vivid detail. I felt like I was there, in a land I’ve never visited.
Throughout Corpses in Colombo, Aloysius casts an entertaining mystery surrounding a murder at a Christmas party. The mystery entertains and draws the reader along for the ride as Vino and Kimaya investigate. It takes a little longer than I’d like for the plot to get moving, with the murder not happening until about a quarter of the way in. But following this, the mystery is taut, with all its elements coming together.
Part of the reason Corpses in Colombo takes so long to get the plot moving is because it not only spends time establishing the world, but also introducing the reader to Kiyama and Vino, and establishing them. As a new reader to the A Sri Lankan Mystery series, I appreciate the effort the author went to in establishing the characters, but feel it would have helped the pacing and the flow if it was interspersed through the plot a little more, rather than forming a long introduction. Having not read the preceding three books, I don’t know how this compares to them, but do wonder if this works for returning readers, or feels at all redundant. Kiyama and Vino are thoroughly engaging characters, and following them is entertaining throughout. The other characters work well, but given the book’s length and the genre, it doesn’t delve into them in any great detail.
As engaging as the characters are, the dialogue isn’t as sharp as it could be. The characters all sound similar, without much variation in their speech patterns. Likewise, while the author establishes the world nicely, the prose lacks character. It describes the events and the characters, but does so without much flourish. The dialogue and prose both convey a sense of humour, ensuring it entertains, but a little more variation would have elevated it.
Like any good Christmas story, Corpses in Colombo features themes about family, and making peace with those you love. And like many entertaining Christmas stories, it features romantic entanglements. Both aspects work well in cosy mysteries (no doubt a reason why the genre works so well in stories set in Christmas), and both aspects add a little bit of heart to the story.
Corpses in Colombo is a light read, both in length and its story; a blend that you can pick up, read, and not think too heavily about. Its characters are engaging, and its mystery is entertaining. Although the prose and dialogue lack character, and it takes a while to get started, its backdrop adds to an entertaining Christmas read that is a little different to most.
I awakened to a sliver of sunlight dancing across my eyes and the strains of more kid-friendly Christmas songs downstairs. Vino was still huddled up in the bed at the other end of the room. I lifted myself gingerly off the mattress and grabbed my toiletries. However, Vino opened one eye and stared blearily out at me.Corpses in Colombo: A Sri Lankan Mystery Novella, Chapter Five
Corpses in Colombo: A Sri Lankan Mystery Novella was provided by StoryOrigin for the purpose of an honest review.
Corpses in Colombo is available on Kindle, exclusive to Amazon.
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Interested in purchasing Corpses in Colombo?
Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.Corpses in Colombo : A Christmas Cozy Mystery Novella in a Tropical Setting (A Sri Lankan Mystery Book 4)