Set in the exotic and mysterious land of Travancore of the 1950's, when life was still slow and detective work was done the old fashioned way,the novel captures the exploits of a self-taught investigator, Velan Poulose.As an orphan he grew up unloved and unfamiliar with the ways of the world but was gifted with a brilliant mind which had the ability to nurture his hidden talent as he built his life around solving complicated cases. Sometimes the cases would find him,at other times he would go after them;some took him to sleepy hamlets by the river bank or the houseboat on the backwaters,some to beautiful islands and hill-stations yet not one of them could escape his keen gaze or his razor sharp reasoning.
He didn't have a side kick but he didn't let that slow him down;he derived support from a most trustworthy yet inanimate companion - his custom built umbrella which kept him loyal company as he went after criminals without caring for life or limb; pursuing them through out the lush green countryside until he brought them to justice.
Although,these eight cases were the highlight of his career and it brought him much fame after the stories were published in the Travancore Chronicle newspaper ,they are not just about Velan or the numerous other characters but about a unique culture and a beautiful unassuming country where rare spices and coconuts grow and is the fantasy of many a traveller but it also had the power to spring some dangerous surprises on those who inhabited the serene land.
1. Corpse in the pond: A bloated body is found in the family estate pond. The family members are terrified but they all believe the killer is amongst them. Surprise yourself as Velan uncovers the facts.
2. The Men from Ceylon - 3 young men are shot dead while competing in a snake boat race. Follow Velan to Minicoy Island in his most perplexing case yet.
3.Sanku's strange dream- A bad decision to binge on moonshine followed by a disturbing dream or did his dying grandma actually show him a trunk full of gold? A confused Sanku seeks Velan's help to find the treasure which he believe's doesnt exist.
4. Four brothers - Three brothers dead in 3 days -Victims of a fatal virus or a cold blooded killer? Can Velan save the last brother before death comes calling or is he the real murderer ?
5. The Kanjoor Yakshi - Village folks always believed she was a myth until some strange disappearances occur. The murders are uncanny, the signs are real and the villagers believe she is back to take revenge.Velan is determined to bust the myth.
6. The photo puzzles - A well-known family receives some odd pieces of puzzles by mail.Velan is as confused as his client until he discovers that her son might be in danger. Is it too late or can he stop the killer before the son is murdered.
7. Minnamin - A perfect honeymoon on a luxury houseboat soon turns into a death wish. A couple’s worst nightmare comes true as the husband disappears into thin air.Velan must put his sharp instincts at work to save the woman's honour and find out what really had transpired.
8. The diamond merchants murder - Could their sleepwalking son have killed him and his wife? Or is it the Dewan who is the culprit. Perhaps his wife’s sister or her husband. A gripping tale which tests Velan's mettle as he nails the real culprit.