When V.K. Thajudheen, a middle-aged man working in Doha, returned to his hometown, Kannur, after a few years, little did he know that instead of celebrating his daughter’s summer wedding he would be put behind bars for stealing a gold necklace.
The local police, smug at apprehending a criminal in record time, wanted a confession to lock it in. Horrified and bewildered, Thajudheen showed proof that he had been busy with the wedding at the time of the crime. But all proof he provided crumbled in the face of the CCTV footage from that day, for it showed clearly that it was Thajudheen on the scooter, riding away from the crime scene. But how could he be in two places at the same time?
And so started a cat-and-mouse game between Thajudheen and the police — the former trying to prove his innocence and the latter hell-bent on pinning the crime on Thajudheen. The media caught whiff of this case and the whole of Kannur was talking about it.
The Stolen Necklace might seem to be about a small crime in a small town, but with its incredible twists and turns, it is ultimately the story of a common man who fought the system and pulled off a miraculous victory.
My personal opinion differs. When I read the title of the story and its summary I was intrigued about the narrative style and Thajudheen and his family’s suffering. However, it has been a game of twists and turns.
In the first five chapters, the story moves steadily. Shevlin Sebastian has exhibited some amazing narrative skills in building tension to the climax. From the introduction of Thajudheen and his family to their meeting with the police to Thajudheen being arrested, the story never feels boring. As a reader, I was engrossed in the story as I experienced their pain, trauma, confusion and anger.
Thrillers are a genre of books where I love being wrong. And Sebastian impressed me with his twist that was, at the same time, obvious and unexpected. Often, the suspense or scenes seemed to be too unreal to be inspired by true events. However, Sebastian has been able to ground me back to reality with his writing style.
From chapters six to ten, for about one-third of the book, the pace was too slow for my liking. I felt like Thajudheen’s life story had been inserted forcefully which jarred us from the reality of his struggles. I appreciate Mr. V.K. Thajudheen for having come forward with his story, to serve as a cautionary tale for many others. I also respect him for the life he led, his journey and his struggles. However, as a book that I was reading for my entertainment, I felt that his life journey could have been included in a more concise or smooth manner. Right now, each incident that was not related to the theft seemed forced and non-related.
However, Sebastian has done an amazing job of concluding the story on a realistic note. He has tried his best to explain the current situation in the state. I especially appreciate his honesty and courage in expressing his true opinion. This courage is what has made many more readers like me, appreciate this book. He is able to present his political opinions in a clean and polite manner that highlights his ideas while respecting others’ beliefs. According to me, this is the most beautiful aspect of this book.
“The Stolen Necklace” does an amazing job of bringing forth cases of false arrest, highlighting the plight of the arrested person’s family and the trauma that the person has to bear for life. A small fault or attempt by the police can change someone’s entire life in a matter of seconds. However, the judgement of society that passes a verdict without any proof is the one that deserves to be blamed the most.
So, if you are someone who enjoys a thriller and does not mind some slow stories, do reach for this book and order it as soon as possible. Every book has something to teach and “The Lost Necklace” has many lessons for you about your role in the society and politics of police.
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