The Mystery Crackers: Tattooed Music by Jinal Shailesh Doshi is a mystery thriller novella featuring twin brothers Prash and Nish. This is the second book in the series – the first one was ‘A Chest’s Tale’ – where these two boys solved a deadly mystery. Thereafter, they become quite famous in the town of Jhiljila.
The novella takes us to a hill-station called Jhiljila, which fills the backdrop of the book. Jhiljila is a cool and chirpy place – people enjoy and carry on with their businesses. Well, if you have read Ruskin Bond or R.K. Narayan, surely you know that most puzzled mysteries take place in placid places.
Through Mr. Soni, the richest jeweler in the town, boys come to know about a stranded pirate’s ship at the Saihaj Port, not so far from the Jhiljila town. According to the reports, the ship is found abound with skeletons, weapons, and explosives. People of the town have been instructed not to go near the ship. However, both boys get the chance to solve the mystery with the help of the senior inspector Rathod. At the same time, inspector Golu, who is always jealous of these boys, is also solving the same case.
As the boys begin searching for clues, they come across tangled human skeletons, silk clothing, flags, cigarette pipes, jewelry and so on. On red flags a picture of blue harmonica was printed. The pirate loved music, though he was a brutal plunderer. A close look at one of the portraits reveals that the pirate had a blue tattoo of The French Treble Clef on his left ear. Well, now the question is how this ship met its fate and what happened to the pirate. Is he alive, if so, then where he is now? And what brought this ship near the Jhiljila town.
While searching for clues from the garbage barrel, they chance upon a pair of battered leather shoes and a chit with Mr. Soni’s name written on it. It was Mr. Soni who informed the boys about this ship and later he also showed them prints of muddy shoes and a silk handkerchief on which the music tattoo was printed and Black Piper was written. Boys find out that the pirate had something to do with Mr. Soni and his name was Black Piper. Here onwards the novella gains momentum and the boys, inch by inch, gather proofs and interrogate a few persons. Soon, it becomes clear that the mystery has something to do with the diamond necklace Daulihaam which once belonged to Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan’s wife Sanyogita. The rest of the narration is about unraveling criminal plots and villains involved in the mystery.
It is a highly entertaining novella and the way the author has narrated tales of adventure, courage, and intelligence is worth praising and at the same time each scene triggers the imagination of the young readers and may make them enjoy every moment of reading. If you are looking for stories similar to Mark Twain’s work, then you will surely love this book. It is a well-fit for all sorts of readers.
Jinal’s selection of words, language usage, and narration – in fact everything was good. She can make a big name for herself if she decides to continue writing for children’s fiction. The only suggestion is that the author could have made the backdrop setting more scenic and refined. Overall, a gripping story with an excellent plot.