Book Post- The Sea of Innocence by Kishwar Desai

ImageKishwar Desai’s Masala Musings in The Week, is my weekly dose of candor and humour. From her columns to her books, this journalist turned author never fails to impress me with her writing. Her writing is blessed with a rare kind of quality, where candor is veiled with clever humour and gets arm chair activist readers like your’s truly  to have an opinion on the issues she writes about .

About the book – The Sea of Innocence :

This tale of crime fiction takes you on a journey through the underbelly of Goa .That murky part of Goa, which extends beyond the much advertised and admired, sunny beaches and the life beyond  quintessential Goan motto of  “Being Susegad”.

Meet Simran Singh, the protagonist, social worker cum investigative journalist who is determined to holiday with her adopted  teenage daughter in Goa.

However a disturbing MMS from her ex beau, a cop, gets her to put her sleuth mask on. And she is sucked into unraveling the mystery of a missing young foreign girl, Liza, driven by a mother’s instinct to protect a young one. A series of video clips, each one leading her to a cue in finding the whereabouts of the girl who seems to have been raped , abused and is currently trapped somewhere in Goa. Thrown in are a few characters whom she must deal with, to put together, the missing pieces of the puzzle . Each character, well defined and intriguing ala Liza’s astrologer sister Marian, and a shy hotel IT manager Vishnu and the English/French speaking vendor masseuse Veeramma.

Kishwar Desai spins a mean tale and does a fantastic job in reconstructing the murky underbelly of Goa, the one infested with drugs. The Goa, where young foreigners are lured into becoming drug mules to feed a drug habit  or the Goa where a generation of hippies are in a state of limbo, unable to move on ,addicted to the laid back  way of life. And the mention of a powerful politician involved in gambling and drugs,and another young woman trapped in his vicious web, leading a life of obligation and quiet despair.

Kishwar recounts  many a tragic incidents pertaining to  sexual violence towards women in India through the course of  the novel. The influence so pertinent, that it becomes difficult to remember  Simran Singh and Liza Kay are  fictional characters. There are references to Scarlet Keeling , the Delhi Rape case in December that took the nation by storm , the rape of a five year old early this year, or the character based on Geetika Sharma’s life. You will have to read through the  356 pages,  to know how the case of Missing Lisa Kay pans out with vivid details.

My favourite character was the unconventional Simran Singh, and the tiny cues that helps construct her persona through the book, like the mention of plump arms, or the tattoo of paisleys stringed together with Bingo wings on them . Many seemingly trivial but yet important references that help the reader envision the character in real life . Loved the detail in the characterization.

The only criticism I have of the book is: I wish it was condensed to maybe 200 pages, Certain portions of the book were dragged for many pages, or maybe I was the anxious impatient reader eager to find Liza.

Well, what can I say, Kishwar is no Agatha Christie but she is definitely right there,are at the  top in the genre of  Crime fiction. I hope I get to read more of her fictional character, Simran Singh and her adventures. For now, I am going to get my hands on her earlier books , “Witness the night” and “Origins of Love” .

And if you love Indian Crime fiction, do buy the book at

Flipkart –

U Read –

(Photo courtesy – Google search)


About Thumbelina81
A dreamer lost in this world. Part time Writer, Part time Gardener, A full time wife.

10 Responses to Book Post- The Sea of Innocence by Kishwar Desai

  1. KP says:

    A very good review kindling in readers minds the urge to get a copy soon

  2. magiceye says:

    Does sound interesting. Thank you.

  3. I guess this book has the potential to be a great movie.

  4. Rat says:

    interesting review. thanks for sharing.

    A Rat’s Nibble

  5. Shilpi Dutta says:

    Wow I am intrigued to read the book now! Nice one 🙂

  6. Priya says:

    The story sounds interesting, and I do believe Goa is a good setting for such a story. I haven’t really read much Indian crime fiction, but I would like to try this one. Could you recommend any other Indian crime thrillers or mysteries?

    • Thumbelina81 says:

      Hi Priya, Sorry for the delay in replying. f you like crime fiction and need to start off , I would suggest Shashi Deshpande. She is an awesome writer . I loved her books, If I died today and The dark holds no terrors. I hope this helps.

      • Priya says:

        Hey, thanks for the recommendations! I’ll surely look for her books on my next trip to the bookstore. 🙂

  7. Awesome review. The lucid style with which you introduce the author, the book and the characters prod me to pick up the book.

  8. bigjam says:

    hmm… interesting..

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