21 September, 2020

Public Life Of A Private Eye

Detective fiction as a genre barely exists in Indo-Anglian writing. Sharmila Kantha attempts to break the jinx.

Public Life Of A Private Eye
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Detective fiction as a genre barely exists in Indo-Anglian writing. It’s no mystery why: the whodunit presupposes a degree of accountability which we don’t have in our society. Apart from the Inspector Ghote series, written by H.R.F. Keating without even visiting India, and the more recent The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes, I can’t think of any. Sharmila Kantha attempts to break the jinx.

She tells the story of the young Ramji, who works in a bank and sets up shop as a private eye in his off-time. The son of a second-rung civil servant, he is in love with Mandy Kaur, his co-passenger in a chartered bus. Mrs Mehrotra, a wealthy widow of a retired bureaucrat, has been murdered. Her niece-in-law, Mrs Kumar, is Ramji’s first client. Murderer-shurderer be damned, she just wants our hero to find the will. What follows is an eventful and amusing read.

Kantha effortlessly conjures up the colliding worlds of babudom and business, and dwells fondly on all the unlovely emblems of Delhi. Ramji handles the inevitable break-up with his sweetheart with aplomb; like the city...

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