Kiss of salt book review

Title: Kiss of salt

Author: Smita Bhattacharya

Genre: Cosy Mystery

# of pages: 265

Release Date: 30th July 2019

Published by: Rumour Books

Kiss of Salt is a cosy mystery set on the beaches of Goa. The mystery is based on a beachside community of Heliconia Lane, where a young woman stumbles upon documents and conversations that turn her into an amateur sleuth.

Darya Nandkarni is taking a break from her work and from her controlling relationship. She spent this time in Sea Swept in North of Goa. Sea Swept held a special place for her. It was the place where she would come to meet her Uncle Paritosh and Aunt Farideh during holidays. But, twenty-five years ago, her aunt went missing and left her uncle devastated, something from which he never recovered.

Now, her uncle has passed away and her father, Vikas, suffered a heart attack so, Darya takes up the responsibility to go to Sea Swept and wrap up things. Once she reaches Heliconia Lane, she realizes it’s not as safe as the residents would like to think. As she is fixing things in the house, she comes across pieces of evidence which make her reconsider the disappearance of her aunt. Soon she realizes, while investigating the case, the reality she knew will change forever!

It is a short book and filled with intriguing elements. With the backdrop of Goa, the book is a pleasure to read. Darya’s character as a woman who came on a break to a woman investigating a case happens with a gradual pace.

The author has described the scenes of Goa vividly, and the reader will have no difficulty imaging the scenes inside the house or on the streets. She has an innate sense of storytelling. She describes the street scenes with honesty and clarity.

The book has a few characters, and each one of them has a role to play in the story. Each character has a motive to cause harm. And similar to Agatha Christie, Darya also brings everyone together to reveal the culprit and their motives.

The subject of the book hints towards domestic violence, and the author has done a brilliant job of showcasing it. The victim does not realise the abuse, only in hindsight they comprehend the red flags. And, often the society turns a blind eye towards them as it’s not their problem. She also portrayed how the victim feels isolated and helpless in such situations.

Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, pushing the reader to keep reading (readers can finish reading in one sitting).

Thinking of reading a good mystery set by a seaside, this is your pick!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

About the Author

Kiss of salt book review

Smita Bhattacharya writes atmospheric cosy and psychological mystery fiction. She is also a management consultant, coffee lover, and gipsy-in-her-head. She lives in Mumbai but has solo travelled to 40+ countries and thus, her stories are heavily inspired by her travels and by those she meets. 

Smita has six published books and counting. She has worked in a vineyard, in a newsroom, in a school, in a library, in a bank, in an audit firm. She has too many stories to tell and not enough time. 

Smita thrives on crime and coffee. Though she prefers cafés, she occasionally also hangs as @smitabe on Twitter and Instagram. You can read her colourful travel and life stories at

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