The more crime fiction I read, the more keenly aware I am of how much crime fiction I haven’t read. There are so many talented authors that it’s impossible to read all of their work. But that’s part of the appeal of the genre, at least for me. Discovering the work of a new-to-me author is always interesting, and even more of a treat when I enjoy that work. So I’m delighted to be a part of the New (to me, anyway) Authors meme facilitated by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By the way, that’s a blog every crime fiction fan ought to have on the blog roll. If you’re not familiar with it, do visit and have a look around; it’s fantastic.
This past quarter, I’ve had the privilege of ‘meeting’ several new-to-me authors. One whose work stays in my mind is Aditya Sudarshan. Originally from Delhi, he now makes his home in Mumbai. Sudarshan studied criminal law at university and, after finishing his studies, served as a junior advocate. But he’d enjoyed writing since he was a teenager. So when the opportunity presented itself, he left the legal world and became a full-time writer.
Thus far, Sudarshan has chosen to write standalones. I first ‘met’ him when I read his debut, A Nice Quiet Holiday. In that novel, Judge Harish Shinde and his law clerk Anant travel to Bhairavgarh for what they think will be an enjoyable two-week holiday. They’ll be staying with an old friend of Shinde’s, Shikhar Pant, who has several other house guests as well. One of those guests is Pant’s cousin Kailish, a well-regarded writer. Also at the house are Kailish’s friends Ronit and Kamini Mittal, who run an NGO. The other guests are Pant’s old friend Pravin Anand and Anand’s son Avinash, as well as Dr. Davendra Nath and his daughter Mallika and sons Ashwin and Nikhil. With the house party together, the holiday begins. One afternoon, Kailish Pant is murdered. Inspector Patel begins the investigation, and he’s got plenty of suspects. For one thing, the victim was a supporter of a controversial report on AIDS in the area that the Mittals had authored. There are many people, including Avinash Anand, who find that report insulting. In fact, at first, Patel settles on Anand as the most likely suspect. But the Judge isn’t so sure. So he and his law clerk look into the matter more closely.
In Show Me a Hero, we meet Prashant Padmanabhan and Vaibhav Kapoor, who’ve recently graduated university in Delhi. Wealthy and privileged, he decides to make a film about cricket great Ali Khan, whose career was clouded by controversy. Vaibhav is struggling to put together an adult life, and he’s not exactly ‘well born.’ So he agrees (why not?) to work with Prashant on the film. What neither young man really knows is that Khan had made plenty of enemies. So looking into his life puts the filmmakers in real danger. Then, there’s a murder…
The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi is more a psychological thriller with elements of fantasy than it is a typical (if there is such a thing) crime novel. Tripathi is making a real success of himself in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). It all changes though, when he is abducted. He manages to get away with his life, but it’s clear that he is in danger. And, as time goes on, he sees that anyone close to him is also in jeopardy. Now he has to find out who has targeted him and what they want. It could be politically motivated (He’s a well-known liberal), or he could be in the sights of those who resent the privileged class. It could be entirely personal, too. And how much of this is real? How much is in Tripathi’s mind?
Want to know more about A Nice Quiet Holiday? It’s right here.
Want to know more about Show Me a Hero? It’s right here.
Want to know more about The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi? The information is here.
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Queen’s Breakthru.