I’m Under Your Thumb, Under Your Spell, Can’t You See?*

Aditya SudarshanThe 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 a-nice-quiet-holiday1novel, 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 Show me a herocareer 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 Persecution of Mdhav Tripathifantasy 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 Aditya Sudarshan? His blog is here, and there’s an interesting article here.

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.


Filed under Aditya Sudarshan

26 responses to “I’m Under Your Thumb, Under Your Spell, Can’t You See?*

  1. These sound interesting – perhaps the straight crime ones more than the one with fantasy elements. I see from his Amazon page that he dabbles in science fiction short story writing too.

    • I’ve seen that too, FictionFan. And I do respect an author who can write in more than one genre. If you do get a chance to read some of this work, I’d be interested in knowing what you think of it.

  2. New to me too – thanks Margot

  3. That’s an interesting way to look at it, not “what have I read,” but “what haven’t I read”… 🙂

  4. Kathy D.

    The older I get, the more I find out I don’t know and the more books I realize there are which I have not read.
    This author sounds quite interesting, and I’ll think about his writings.
    I love reading new to me authors’ books. But the TBR lists and books are just daunting.

    • That’s the thing, isn’t it, Kathy? My TBR list is no shorter, trust me. And I’m the same way as I get older. There is just so much out there that I haven’t read and don’t know. Well, it makes me more open to learning, and that’s good.

  5. Excellent – after hearing Kishwar Desai speak about crime fiction in India, I was curious to find out more about the genre from that part of the world. Does Sudarshan write in English, or in Hindi (or other language) and then translated into English, do you know?

    • As far as I know, Marina Sofia, he writes in English. I’m sure that Desai’s presentation was fantastic; I’m very happy for you that you got the chance to see it.

  6. Margot: Sudarshan sounds interesting but there is a big TBR “but” especially since I was in Saskatoon last week and succumbed to temptation at two bookstores buying 4 Canadian books and 1 British book. I am thinking my reading spring will be spent in Canada as I have those books and the shortlist for the Arthur Ellis Awards Best Novel which is released April 23.

    • Bill – I know all too well what you mean about the ‘big TBR’ issue. I’m sure that’s especially true considering the Arthur Ellis awards coming up. I’ll certainly be interested in knowing who the Best Novel winner will be.

  7. I’m glad it isn’t just me that is amazed that despite reading so much there is still so much out there to discover!

  8. Col

    Thanks for the intro Margot.

  9. Isn’t it strange that a reader in Mumbai learns about a writer living in Mumbai from a reviewer almost halfway across the globe! Terms like Global Village are not just abstract concepts.

    I read his first book after reading about it on your Spotlight feature, and I liked it enough to want to order his second book. But only after I make a dent in the TBR pile.

    Thank you.

    • You’re absolutely right about the global village, Natasha. I love that we are all connected in this way, and can learn from each other. It’s one of the very best thing about the Internet age.
      I’m glad you enjoyed A Nice Quiet Holiday so well. I know all about the never-shrinking TBR pile syndrome too! If you do get a chance to read the second one, I hope you’ll like it too.

  10. Indian crime fiction is a big gap in my reading, so I’m glad to hear about this Margot.

  11. Kathy D.

    I’ll put this author on my TBR list, hoping that an extra day of the week will be allotted for reading or that days will be lengthened or months, whatever.
    I’ve read two books by Kishwar Desai, the first of which “Witness the Night” is good but daunting and brutal about misogyny. The second “Origins of Love,” is lighter fare, really soap-operaish, but deals with an important social issue, that of surrogacy, where wealthy Europeans contract poor Indian women to bear their children; they lose their civil liberties and legal rights under these arrangements. It’s a hodgepodge, but Desai comes out strongly for adopting the millions of abandoned children.
    And I read one lighter book by Tarquin Hall. I’d like to read more by him but don’t have the time.
    Also, a friend got me Netflix as a gift — so, invariably I’m watching lots of dvds, including global mysteries, instead of reading! My parents would be mortified! Meanwhile, more books keep arriving.

    • Some of those global mysteries really are terrific, Kathy, so I don’t blame you one bit for getting into them. And I’m glad you’ve mentioned both Desai and Hall. I like the sense of place and culture in both series, and of course, they’re good stories, too. If you do get the chance to read some of Sudarshan’s work, I hope you’ll enjoy it .

  12. Sounds very interesting, Margot. Someday I hope to try this author’s books sometime.

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