DHARMA, A Rekha Rao Mystery

Book Cover

DETECTIVE MYSTERY CRIME FAMILY

Contemporary

Vee (Vijaya) Kumari

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Logline

Rekha Rao, an Indian American professor of Art History, follows her dharma (duty) to find the killer of her mentor and father figure. In the process, tastes the prospect of an unexpected romance, and discovers her true calling.

Genre

Detective,Mystery,Crime,Family

Short Summary

In the opening scene, Rekha is at the police station, where, under Detective Al Newton's critical eye, she's examining an idol used as the murder weapon. She manages to stay grounded despite her PTSD resulting from her father's murder three years ago, and her growing attraction for Al.


Rekha is convinced who the murderer is but having no evidence, she calls him in to extract a confession. The killer reveals several details about the murder and tells her why he killed Faust. Al and his team arrive to arrest the killer who in a later interrogation, reveals all the details.

Setting

Pasadena, Eagle Rock, Culver city

Based on a True Story

No

Plot - Premise

Quest,Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Twist,Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Rekha Rao

Age: 30+

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Educated,Insecure,Modest,Romantic

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Rekha Rao, a thirty-something Indian American professor of art history, disillusioned by academia and haunted by the murder of her father, moves away from her nosy Indian family, and as luck would have it, gets entangled in a second murder, that of her mentor and father figure. Walking a thin line between her match-making family and the Homicide Detective she’s attracted to but distrusts, Rekha finds the killer, and in the process, discovers her calling and tastes the prospects of an unexpected romance.

About The Author

Vee Kumari is a Professor Emeritus (a fancy word for ‘Retired’) of the UC Davis Medical Center and USC Keck School of Medicine. She loved teaching neuroanatomy to medical students for over 35 years. Since her retirement in 2012, she has pursued writing and acting as careers. “Dharma” is her debut novel, inspired by her love of the mystery genre and based on her observations of the Indian immigrant and Indian American lives in the US.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal,LGBT Leaning,Female Leaning

Group Specific

Greater Los Angeles

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Great Life Press

Year Published: 2020

Hard Copy Available

No

ISBN

978-1938394423

Genre

SUSPENSE

Brief

An Indian professor of art history makes investigations of her own to find her mentor's killer. After a long and dangerous investigation process, she is able to find out who the assassin is and uncovers an unexpected fact about the victim.

Overall Rating

FAIR

Point of View

THIRD PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: FAIR

Premise: FAIR

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes, it is accurate, but the author didn't add the characteristic of any of the supporting character.

Draw of Story

The fact that it is a mystery story led by an Indian-American female character, something different from usual.

Possible Drawbacks

The plot in general, as well as some situations, feel somewhat predictable and derivative.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

A female Indian-American amateur investigator à la Indiana Jones conducts the narrative.

Fanbase Potential

Yes, if adapted by a talented crew and cast, it might have a fanbase centered on the main character, who is a courageous and determined woman.

Awards Potential

Not quite the kind of story that earns Awards, and it lacks complexity and character development.

Envisioned Budget

MEDIUM BUDGET

Similar Films/TV Series

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK - IN THIS CLASSIC MOVIE, INDIANA JONES IS AT THE SAME TIME A HISTORY PROFESSOR AND AN ADVENTURER LOOKING FOR ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURES. THE INDIAN DETECTIVE - A NETFLIX TV SHOW IN WHICH AN INDIAN DETECTIVE, TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED FROM THE POLICE, HELPS INVESTIGATE A MURDER CASE.

What’s New About the Story

The most original aspect of the story is its inclusivity, especially concerning the protagonist and also Faust, the main victim, who turns out to be homosexual. However, the story in general is too generic and predictable to be unique. It should have more personality in order to be memorable in an adaptation.

Lead Characters

Rekha Rao is a very determined, courageous and intelligent woman, who will stop at nothing to conclude her journey.

Uniqueness of Story

Not really. It lacks originality, and a bit of further narrative character development.

Possible Formats

Film - Streaming, Film - Indie

Analyst Recommendation

WORK IN PROGRESS

Justification

While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

There would need to be an extensive revision and rethinking of the whole plot. That's because every beat of the narrative feels borrowed from other stories we've already read or seen. Not that everything needs to be original and different, there is no problem with repeating proven formulas. However, the narrative of the book doesn't seem to have enough going for itself, and that might strain its chances with an audience in an adaptation. Besides, the protagonist being such a courageous and defying individual, maybe the love interest for the detective character could have been handled in a different manner or even completely suppressed. It doesn't look like this particular story calls for a romance side plot, even though the author takes care to make it clear that the main character refuses to accept cultural or familiar impositions in this matter, which is the great aspect of it. In general, the story and characters lack development and more complexity, something that would enrich the whole narrative immensely and make an adaptation more compelling to watch.