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Monday, November 26, 2012

Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery by Bharti Kirchner

Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery by Bharti Kirchner
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (248 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A missing domestic-violence counselor. A wealthy and callous husband. A dangerous romance.

Kareena Sinha, an Indian-American domestic-violence counselor, disappears from her Seattle home. When the police dismiss suspicions that she herself was a victim of spousal abuse, her best friend, Mitra Basu, a young landscape designer, resolves to find her. Mitra's search reveals glimpses of a secret life involving her friend and a Bollywood actor of ill repute. Following the trail, Mitra is lured back to India where she uncovers the actor's ties to the Mumbai underworld and his financial difficulties - leading her into a web of life-threatening intrigue where Mitra can't be sure of Kareena's safety or her own.

Does Mitra really know Kareena?

When Mitra’s best friend Kareena goes missing, Mitra is determined to find out what happened to her. With no evidence of foul play, the police can’t offer much help. Even Mitra’s friends think she should stay out of what they view as a marital squabble. I could feel Mitra’s frustration as she struggles to make others take her seriously, and was very pleased to see Mitra take matters into her own hands. However, as she began to dig into the mystery, she gradually discovers she might not know Kareena as well as she thought. Layer by layer, Mitra steadily uncovers the truth of Kareena’s circumstances. What she finds will change her life forever.

Mitra is a very solid and likable character. She’s warm, caring, and very loyal. I’d certainly want a friend like her on my side if I were in serious trouble. Mitra’s pain and disbelief were palpable as she unearthed some hard truths concerning Kareena. Even though Mitra was at times deeply hurt by her new found knowledge, I admire her loyalty to Kareena and her determination to find out the truth no matter what. Mitra also seems to be at a place in her life where she is struggling to balance her past with her desire to find her current place in the world. Her inner turmoil makes her a very real and relatable character.

I had a very hard time understanding Mitra’s relationship with Ulrich, a relatively new romantic interest. He seemed like a nice guy at first, but as I read, it became clear that something wasn’t right. However, just like Mitra wouldn’t give up on Kareena, she didn’t seem to be able to let go of Ulrich either. While her devotion to those she cares about is admirable, I have a feeling someday she’s going to end up in serious trouble.

I must also mention that I love the way Ms. Kirchner works description into her writing that touches on all five of the senses. All the description in Tulip Season is blended so seamlessly into Mitra’s everyday experiences that it never feels overwhelming.

I truly enjoyed reading Tulip Season and getting to know Mitra. Anyone looking for a mystery with a solid, steady pace that awakens all the senses would do well to pick up a copy of Tulip Season today.

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