Book House

This psychological crime thriller features determined heroines, nail-biting twists and chilling serial murderers

Author Devashish Sardana
  • The book “The Girl in the Glass Case” by Devashish Sardana is a crime thriller.


  • Simone Singh, assistant superintendent of police, refuses to let anyone stand in the way of her pursuit of the Doll Maker, a ruthless serial killer who dresses up little kids as Barbie dolls and displays their bodies in glass cases.


  • Another serial killer, the Clipper, when he is cast aside by the media in favour of the Doll Maker, turns his fury into blood-soaked revenge to capture the top spot. As corpses start to pile up, Simone fights to maneuver the Doll Maker into a clever trap. Can Simone take down the two serial killers and stop the psychotic competition before it gets out of hand?


  • Read an excerpt from the book below.


Simone slowed the Thar to a crawl as she turned on to Chhola Road.

The serene voice of the audiobook narrator whispered in her ears: ‘… when dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion …’

‘Tell me about it,’ Simone muttered.

‘… creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity. Don’t criticize.’

‘What crap!’ Simone laughed in mock amusement. ‘If you don’t criticize people, how are they going to learn?’

An outside broadcasting (OB) van of a national TV channel came into view. The channel’s crimson logo against the black background screamed for attention. Then, another news channel’s OB van came into view. And then another. Simone caught her breath and sat up in her seat. She removed her earphones. Alert.

How did the media always find out so fast? She sighed.

A police blockade was set up at the only sharp turn on Chhola Road, blocking traffic to the side street. A crowd had gathered around the blockade: a mix of inquisitive residents from the shanties that surrounded the defunct Union Carbide factory, curious passers-by who had stopped their vehicles in the middle of the road, and news reporters and camera persons who were trying to jostle past the traffic police who patrolled the blockade.

What curiosity! thought Simone. The boon and bane of police work. Gets in the way, slows progress but also finds witnesses and leads when there should have been none.

For a fleeting moment, Simone thought of parking her car at the kerb; the police could hardly pull her up for illegal parking—she was the police. But rules were rules, and they mattered to her more than most. She looked around for a parking spot. Despite the early hour, it was packed.

‘Damn these news channels!’ she gritted her teeth.

Finally, when the only other option was turning the car around and going back half a kilometre, an idea hit her.

Simone drove straight into the crowd. She jammed her hand on the horn. The horn shrieked without pause. It caught the crowd’s attention. They noticed the oncoming car and scattered, parting the way for the beast intent on running them over. Simone smiled. She parked in the space right next to the temporary police barricade.

The crowd spilled back in, filling every crevice around the Thar, like flies swatted away from food—gone one moment, back the next.

Simone zipped up her jacket. She adjusted the rear-view mirror, which reflected her tonsured head—a self-inflicted reminder of ‘the incident’. She was pissed off. Furious. She didn’t want to forget the discrimination. So, she shaved her head in defiance of the unfair suspension order. Now she wore it like a badge of honour.

Simone opened the glove compartment and took out a pair of rubber gloves and shoe covers. Maintaining the sanctity of the crime scene was her first priority, even if the foolish first responders failed to understand its importance. She slipped on the gloves and the shoe covers and then her peaked police cap. She slammed the door shut behind her. She was bristling as she surveyed the scene in front of her, her anger threatening to erupt any moment.

‘Kuch kaam-dhanda nahi hai?’ she shouted at the crowd.

‘Ma’am, do you know what happened here?’ said someone in the crowd as she jostled past them.

‘Move aside,’ Simone shouted.

‘Is it true, ma’am, that a little girl was murdered?’ said another.

‘No, I heard they found two dead girls!’ someone corrected.

‘Any comments for the camera, ma’am?’ a TV reporter shoved a wireless microphone in front of her.

‘Let me through!’ Simone was already regretting her decision to park in the middle of the crowd, even if it was a valid parking spot.

Finally, a traffic constable saw Simone, recognized the assistant superintendent of police (ASP) insignia on her shoulders—three silver-plated metallic stars—and rushed to help. He flailed the baton in his hand, spewing warnings.

‘Move aside! Let madam pass or I’ll hit you with the baton. I kid you not!’

The crowd parted, letting Simone through. The traffic constable saluted Simone as she stopped in front of him. Simone was too angry for gratitude.

‘Do your job and get these people away from here,’ she chided the constable.

The constable’s shoulders drooped; his jaw tightened. He saluted again and strode past Simone, shouting empty threats at the crowd.

Excerpted with permission from The Girl in the Glass Case, Devashish Sardana, Penguin India. Read more about the book here and buy it here.

 

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