All Body Bags and No Knickers by Shawe Ruckus is a mystery novel, possessing all the ingredients to hook his readers from the very beginning. The squiggly handwritten notes, written on the torn pages of the hospital’s day-to-day calendar, peg the attention of the readers in the perfect place.
The story starts with a prologue probing into a flashback of incidents about which the readers know nothing. Then the plot glides on till it meets the main plot at the end, just like a circle, engaging all the bits of puzzles.
Catherine Roxborough and Chance Yang, a newly married couple, planned to head for China for their honeymoon, leaving London behind. Catherine is excited and curious to meet his new family members and to get familiar with them. But their merry mood is spoiled by three dead bodies including a child whose mother was a classmate of An, Chance’s cousin. She was the head bully who used to browbeat An’s Korean friend. What is going to happen next? What about those handwritten notes? Who is behind the murders? Is there any ghost story entangled with this mystery plot?
There are numerous characters drawn from different layers of life: – Catherine Roxborough and Chance Yang (a newly married couple and the protagonists), Orla (Catherine’s Co-worker), Hannah Robinson (Catherine’s neighbour), Eddy (Hannah’s husband who had already died when the novel starts), An (Chance’s cousin, who is doing her Master’s at King’s), Cecil (Cathy’s Godfather), Alexander Roxborough (Cathy’s uncle), Patricia Bennet alias Patsy (Cathy’s godfather’s partner) and more and more characters join like deluge as the plot progresses. When the story reaches Chaina, we meet the members of Chance’s family who are directly and indirectly involved in the mystery plot.
Ruckus did everything, from character building to infusing every type of material, to keep the intense level of suspense in this novel. The author introduces different countries and cultures. Various Japanese and Korean terms, used in the texture of this novel, are explained at the end of the novel for convenience.
But a whirlwind of incidents and characters has marred the pleasure of reading. Things get messed up so much that I feel the food is overcooked. This aspect is my ground of disliking. The incidents seem improbable sometimes. Again, horror and mystery don’t go hand in hand in this novel. For such incongruities, I deduct 1 out of 5. The book is well-edited and the author’s competency is in no way deniable. But I deduce one for the above-mentioned inconveniences. I recommend this book to every young adult, and fan of mystery and thriller.
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