If you are a person who does most of your reading before hitting the sack, we would suggest that you find a different place to read Dead Men Tell Tales. That it is irresistible is just one reason, to begin with. Let’s assume you are a person with a healthy sleep cycle and are able to sleep at your normal time. It is possible that your sleep will be interrupted by images from some of the horrible murders described by author Dr. B Umadathan. But don’t stop reading right now. We promise you that in the end it is the secret wisdom that will keep you awake.
The Dead Men Tell Tales is a memorial of Dr. Umadathan, a well-known surgeon of Kerala. The book was first published in Malayalam as the Oru Police Surgeonte Ormakkurippukal in 2010. The English version released this year, two years after the doctor’s death. In this book, the author extends to a number of autopsy tests and investigations, throughout his work. The book has been translated from Malayalam to English by Priya K Nair, an English teacher at St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, Kerala. Priya also admits that the book is not an easy bed to read. Still, she enjoyed translating the rest of it. Translation was easy. “I don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for a forensic conversation,” she said.
Madathan was best known as ‘Sherlock Holmes of Kerala’. So, if you liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, this would be a safe bet. Sir Doyle’s characters were the stuff of his imagination, but all the people Umadathan talked about here were real and alive at some point. He begins the book by describing his life as a medical student at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and later developing an interest in medicine. The reason for this may be the body of a suicide bomber, who we saw as a child or who praised his professor Dr Kandaswamy. However, the accuracy with which he reminds each of the cases he investigated and each corpse in which he performed an autopsy leaves one in awe. The book reaffirms the student’s faith in the judgment system and that there is no such thing as a complete crime. Every criminal and every murderer comes down after a piece of evidence.
For example, in one case, the body was exhumed, and within a few weeks it was buried. This is because the dead man’s son saw the unique hole in his father’s shirt that he had worn on the day of his death. Forensic research and research later proved that it was a murder. In the past, people thought it was death because of a heart attack. In another chapter, he elaborates on the famous Chacko murder story. The upcoming Malayalam film Kurup starring Dulquer Salmaan is based on this particular case. Umadathan goes through the whole story of how Sukumara Kurup, the fugitive committed his death and how the medical team came up with the plan.
In Priya’s case, the only case that struck him the most was the death of Soman, a Police Sub Inspector. “I had learned a lot about this case when I was younger. It was interesting to find out how it happened, ”he said. The book also touches on Umadathan’s private life, friendship, family and temporary stay in Libya. The author refuses to see everything as black and white, and looks at the gray in the middle. His emphasis on mental health and criticism of public evil is commendable. The Dead Men Tell Tales reminds us that sometimes myths about the dead have a greater impact than others.