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Indian writers discover mystery, detectives

CNN-IBN
Aug 10, 2009 at 11:40pm IST

New Delhi: Indian writers have discovered a new genre of immense possibility.

Moving away from the coming of age stories - bildungsroman by Amitav Ghosh, chutnification by Salman Rushdie, magical realism from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and even home-grown chick lit - the latest Indian writing in English is all about detectives.

Whether it's the sixtyish and silver-haired Lalli of the Page 3 Murders, the Indian version of Miss Marple, or the Sherlock Holmes-style old worldly Additional Sessions Judge Harish Shinde in A Nice Quiet Holiday, or Additional Commissioner of Police Nikhil Juneja assigned to investigate a suicide in a politically connected business family courtesy Reeti Gadekar's Man Asian Literary Prize nominee Families at Home, the latest books all feature the authentic desi detective.

DESI DETECTIVES: The latest Indian writing in English is all about detectives, whodunnits.

There is a lot to choose from and there are also page-turners like Mukul Deva's Lashkar series and Shashi Warrier's Sniper, which has tough-as-nails cop Anna Khan at the helm of affairs.

In 2007 Navdeep Singh adapted the Hindi detective novel formula successfully to the silver screen with the noir film Manorama Six Feet Under where the sleepy city of Jaipur became the hotbed of murder and conspiracy.

In most of these books, it is either a stately bungalow at the foothills of the Himalalyas or metros Delhi and Mumbai, which are become the perfect place for the perfect whodunnit.

Chief Editor and Publisher, HarperCollins India, V K Karthika says, "This genre of novels is becoming very popular because it is the authentic creation of the Indian setting and has a relatability factor to it."

In fact all the avid readership has led HarperCollins India to bring out two more installments of Deva's Lashkar series. The first thriller of the series sold 6,000 copies and the second, Salim Must Die has sold 5,000 since it was published three months ago.

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