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The Mystery Of The School On Fire By Ravi Subramanian | Book Review

Childhood and growing years are an amazing part of the life. While growing up, we live in the world of fantasy and in addition to mythological and inspirational tales, we often love to explore the adventures. The popularity of Sherlock Holmes, Byomkesh Bakshi, Feluda, The Famous Five, and even Harry Potter, Narnia and other such book series are a proof of that.

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Ravi Subramanian is a popular author whose books mainly belong to – Banking Thriller arena Here are some of his books we got a chance to read and share our review about.

Recently, he penned down a mystery for Children and Young Adults – The Mystery Of The School On Fire. Actually, he has started a boo series named The SMS Detective Agency. We can expect further instalments in the series in future.

The Mystery Of The School On Fire (The SMS Detective Agency Book 1) By Ravi Subramanian | Book Cover

Book Cover:

Let us take a look at the cover page of this short book.

The Mystery Of The School On Fire (The SMS Detective Agency Book 1) By Ravi Subramanian | Book Cover

The Mystery Of The School On Fire (The SMS Detective Agency Book 1) By Ravi Subramanian | Book Cover

As the story revolves around a school located in the hilly terrain, it is obvious to expect an illustration of the same on the cover page. And, with the choice of right colors and right background, the illustrators has done job pretty effectively. The minute details in the illustration are eye-catching. The fire-flows in the side of title looks amateurish, but definitely adds the element of “Fire” which is indeed needed.

Overall, a cover page that will appeal the target readers.

The Plot:

Let us take a bird’s eye view of the story.

Aditya and Akriti are twins living in a hilly town named Solan. They study at the oldest and most reputed school there. Their dad is a banker and they live jointly with their grandparents. Kabir is their best friend. Though, they have different likes-dislikes and views for the school-subjects, their bond of friendship is very strong.

They love their school and are disturbed to know that a new school in the town is getting more popular amongst the kids and their parents due to various reasons.

The annual inspection of the school is approaching and they are keen to see their school getting the first rank. However, it seems very challenging in the current situation.

If that is not all, the chemistry lab of the school caught fire and now the school management have a very little time to renovate the same. Somehow, they got it almost done and inspector Gomez visited the school for the annual inspection.

But, the main question is how the school lab caught fire? Is there a person, a team or the management of the new school behind it? Is it possible that to get the first rank and eventually getting more popularity and thus students, a school can go ahead at the level of sabotaging the inspection of the competitor?

Will the day of inspection be a relief for this school? Or, the challenging time is not over yet?

Well, you need to read the book to get answers :).

Views and Reviews:

The good thing about the book is the protagonists are just regular kids. Of course, they are intelligent, brave and inquisitive, but, they are not perfect. And, that makes them realistic and adorable. Readers, especially, kids and young adults will find it easy to connect with them. And, that is, according to me is the biggest USP of the book.

The day to day conversation amongst the family of Adi and Akri (Aditya and Akriti) is really worth reading.

I like the way the primari characters are explored. In that sense all; Aditya, Akriti and Kabir are given due weightage. What I like even more is the way other characters also are paid attention to. Be it police chief, inspector Gomez, Sister Leena, Rehmat Chacha or others, the author took care of them all. For example, Aditya and Akriti’s mother – is a comparatively small character as it appears for a few scenes. But yet, you will love the way she takes care of the entire family. Especially her efforts to make Adi and Akri understand the importance of respecting their grandparents and behave with them with proper manners and etiquette. Especially, these wisdom lines remained with me:

“It’s not about what you say, Adi.
It is more about how you say it.”

Same way, Adi and Akri’s grandfather also appear for a few scenes, but it is one of his habit that prove to be a turning point for the book. The characters’ lifestyle and nature are explored interestingly. Sometimes the author elaborates them indirectly. But yet, a reader doesn’t miss it, and, that is a positive for the book.

Dad hurriedly entered the conversation. “Talk to them. Convince them,” he said as he pushed his chair back and got up from the table. The breakfast of rava upma was over.

Rehmat chacha and Pandey sir’s characters are also elaborated in the same manner. I also like the way the competitive school’s owner and Pandey sir’s interaction is explored.

Solan town is explored convincingly. At places, it reminded me of the way Malgudi is explored in Malgudi days. Of course, the landscape and other stuff are different like chalk and cheese for both them. I refer the spirit of a town here. Here is one line in respect of a place from the same:

The site was so magical – like a poster they would never tire of.

The book talks about how maths is mostly a hated subject, at least for many.

A maths test on a day filled with so much excitement and activity was quite the anti-climax.

“You know what maths is?” Kabir asked innocently. And without waiting for her response, answered, “Mental Abuse Towards HumanS”. Then he smiled at his own joke and walked away.

And, of course, for some of them, it is a subject of interest also. And, it is the only subject that will remain with you throughout the life. So, I think, a large number of readers will be able to find the above mentioned lines amusing. And, at the same time, the book talks about extra-curricular stuff, and attributes needed in life.

The School Inspector looked visibly impressed, if not at the intelligence, then most certainly at the confidence of a Fourth Grade student.

The book has some interesting lines regarding “detective work”, obviously.

To be a detective you often need to go with your gut. You need to have a theory or hypothesis. And once you form the hypothesis, you should go after that till you are convinced it right or wrong.

As detectives, we should not malign someone unless we have reason to suspect them.

I like the second block even more. Not only for detective work, it is applicable to all the aspects in life. Especially these days when we find people restless to get hurt and hurting others in order to teach lessons to others, without a reason. If we cannot appreciate other’s work, we shouldn’t, without reason, need to malign him/her. We need these values to be implanted in kids at very early age.

The book reflects some casual conversation amongst the youngsters like:

Kabir looked at him, eyes round with excitement and eyebrows raised. Aditya took that as an affirmative.

“Why do you always mother everyone? he asked, rolling his eyes so hard that Kabir thought that he would have seen his own brain.

The book has some interesting oneliners like:

When it comes down to one’s family, people are willing to do anything.

The author is good at building scenes and exploring the actions of the characters. Here is one such small yet detailed scene:

As Sister Leena tried to regain her balance she grabbed the nearest person for support, which, unfortunately, turned out to be Inspector Gomez.

I have avoided many scenes, attributes and information about some characters intentionally, to avoid spoilers. But, the quotes above must have given you a fair idea about the content and quality of the book.

One positive aspect of the book that I must need to mention is, the illustrations by Ayeshe Sadr and Ishaan Dasgupta. They are simple yet interesting, and adds the fragrance of energy and positive childhood vibes we used to enjoy when reading comic books.


If you are looking for a young-adult adventure exploring school days, this book is a worthy choice.

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7 out of 10.

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Over To You:

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