Book Review: The Master Key by Shruti Johri

Book Name: The Master Key

Author: Shruti Johri

Publisher: Rupa

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Blurb: She uncovers incredible and amusing stories from luxury hotels in India. She captures extraordinary episodes of infidelity, bigotry and brings to light the absurdity of travellers. She highlights the struggles of white-collared, blue-collared and non-collared staff to break the stereotypes around hotel professionals. While much has been written and read about star hotels in the West, the tales from India remain untold.It’s time we read these stories!

Review: The book tells the encounters of Gauri who works in a five star hotel. There are all sorts of tales with sexual escapades, lonely aged people and a Sheikh who would book twin rooms for a romp.

Gauri tells the events including cheating spouses and affairs hidden and buried in the plush rooms of hotel rooms. This could have been a much better book but the author has chosen to sell it by overselling the sexual and carnal aspects. The very first chapter tells the account of Chotu who catches two employees in a compromising position. There is a riveting account of a Sheikh with a fetish for foreign sex workers.

“News would spread like wildfire. The staff waited to hear from the grapevine. What had the Sheikh chosen last evening? Was she Russian, Chinese, European, African or just local Indian?”

There are however emotional tales especially of second-wrung workers, the nondescript staff who told day and night to make the occupant’s stay a comfortable experience. In my opinion, the focus should have been on more such tales Nevertheless, its still worth a one time read and the author can only develop from here.

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