Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mystery of the missing Jasoos

It all began with Holmes of course. Though Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) can claim to have created the first detective in fiction, and Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone (1868) is regarded as the first modern detective novel, the adventures of Sherlock Holmes thrilled readers like no other. Agatha Christie's Poirot and Jane Marple, and PD James' Adam Dalgliesh followed the trail. Many decades later, these and a handful of other foreign classics — continue to fill the crime fiction racks here. No desi wannabe of The Great Detectives Club has ever managed to get a foot in the door.

It's not for want of trying. In the last couple of years, the genre of Indian crime fiction in English has seen many new titles. From Lalli of Kalpana Swaminathan's Page 3 Murders, additional sessions judge Harish Shinde in Aditya Sudharshan's A Nice Quiet Holiday and ACP Nikhil Juneja in Reeti Gadekar's Families at Home, to Shashi Warrier's Anna Khan in Sniper, the Indian jasoos is begging for a break. Ravi Singh, Penguin India editor-in-chief, says, "Compared to the near drought in previous years, there are now more crime and thriller writers, but the number is still small. And very few of them sell good numbers. Kalpana and Mukul Deva have been the notable successes in recent years."

Full report here Times of India

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