The Lu Quartet
Nalini Das
age group: 
12+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Realistic Fiction


Super sleuths and other stories by Nalini Das is another collection in line in the long list of racy, adventurous, detective mysteries that we have in store for curious and sharp young minds. The book is a collection of short stories, each of which almost always has a mystery angle to it, and it is left up to the Lu Quartet to come into the picture and entangle the mysteries somehow.

Now the million dollar question is what is the Lu Quartet. No matter how dubious the name sounds, the Lu Quartet is nothing else but an unlikely group of four teenagers. These are normal, everyday school girls named Kalu, Bulu, Tulu and Malu and their world is always buzzing with mysteries. They're not only brave, smart, sharp and clever, but they also have a thing for sniffing out a mystery any place they go and also the knack to solve it with a flourish.

The book is a collection of 13 whodunits, and the only constant in all these stories is the Lu Quartet as they face daunting challenges, terrifying threats, strange characters and intriguing situations, when they set out to solve each and every mystery in the darkest of caves, the deepest of ravines and the most eerie of chambers.

One of my personal favorites out of the 13 stories in the book is "The mystery of the Zamindar Mansion". The story unfolds in the most dramatic of manner when one of the Lu Quartet members, Malu, goes missing. This mystery itself leads the quartet to many more mysteries which are lurking within the Zamindar mansion.The mansion is the house of the Lu Quartet's adopted grandfather, "Dadu", and it is where they spend most of their holidays and vacations. This particular mystery unfolds during one such Christmas vacation. As the quartet sets out to solve the mystery of their lost friend, they tumble upon other mysteries on the way that are all inter-connected, namely the mysterious letter for Anima Ma'am, their English teacher, Malu's missing red diary that holds many clues and most importantly the half-crazy man that follows them in Kanchanpur, thair neighborhood.

All these mysterious happenings help them, to understand the larger picture. The letter to Anima Ma'am which Malu had copied down in her red diary, held the clue to her family's lost treasure when they escaped from Burma and took refuge in India. Further, the letter had been written in a code and held no direct clue to where exactly the treasure was or even what the letter actually meant. It was Malu who had racked her brains throughout the night in the library of the Zamindar Mansion and deciphered the strange code. The code meant "the western wall of the library and the middle shelf". Malu struck that very place and found that the library actually held a secret passage as the cupboard divided into two and opened like a door. However, out of nowhere, Malu found herself drowning in its dark gaping hole as the doors of the library walls quickly shut. This was the mystery of Malu's disappearance and when her three friends, Kalu, Bulu and Tulu, eventually find her, they also unravel the mystery of the lost Burman treasure and the strange half-crazy man of Kanchanpur. This secret chamber was where the lost treasue was buried. It was Anima Ma'am's old ragdoll that held the precious gems and jewels that belonged to her family. And finally the half-crazy man was no one else but Rangalalda, Anima Ma'am's old house-help in Burma who was here trying to get the message across to her and was the one who had written the mysterious letter to Anima Ma'am,in that strange code so that she might unearth her family's lost treasure herself.

Phew! wasn't this something. This was just a brief account of what actually the book holds and a very slight sneak-peek into the busy and adventurous lives of the Lu Quartet. The books holds much much more as each of the story gets racier, more mysterious than the last. So join the gang, give your brains some serious exercise as the thrill only gets bigger when the Lu Quartet is around.


Reviewed by Sarah Shaikh