The human mind often baffles through its unexpected sartorial choices. We tend to be amnesic towards a simple storyline while holding a memory of steel for deadly, ghastly, or horrendous narratives. One would definitely love to read Gogol of Jhumpa Lahiri, appreciate the chain of dramatic events, however, if anything like Byomkesh Bakshi comes along, none can repel that thrill. Can we? The spine-chilling corridors of crime, the quizzical adventure of discovering an otherwise gullible man as the murderer, convoluted plotting, unimaginable reason behind the crime, and many more. The excitement of a crime-thriller novel is abysmal and it hypnotizes, to say the least.
As the rainy days wave at us, it’s a great time to find a cosy corner with a cup of hot tea and some menacing crime stories. This blog post is going to name some of the best crime novels of India, which could carve an impervious niche in the readers’ community.
- Byomkesh Bakshi by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay
If 221 Baker Street is your haven for unriddling some impertinent crimes, you are welcome to meet our very own Indian version of Sherlock Holmes. Byomkesh Bakshi. Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay can be called the father of Indian crime-thriller writing. One would find a peculiar similarity between Sherlock-Watson and Byomkesh-Ajit. While Sherlock is on the verge of being a sociopath, Byomkesh is a family man. Unlike other detectives of the world, Byomkesh marries, ages, and also wishes to have some material gains. The stories tread on human emotions, palliative reasoning of crime, and highlight Byomkesh’s unwavering memory and knowledge.
- Dead Meat by Ankush Saikia
Gripping. Gory. Mysteriously thrilling. Dead Meat gives us the introduction to detective Arjun Arora. He has his own troubles, with alcohol, with a divorce and then he is hired to find a missing accountant who has disappeared with 10 crores. Soon he lands up with a chopped body in a Tandoor and the missing case spills out a murderous affair. Based out of New Delhi, this crime novel is going to churn your innards.
- Yesterday’s Ghosts by Nikhil Pradhan
If you have gone gaga over Family Man 2, you shall undoubtedly fall in love with this mysterious novel by Nikhil Pradhan. Three decades since the Black Team disbanded in the wake of the disastrous war in Srilanka, they thought they have hidden their secrets well until an anonymous code reached their threshold. Brave. Convoluted. Yesterday’s Ghosts will keep you hooked.
- A Murder On Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
Not always one likes to read a police officer running over the hills to catch a criminal. Subtle, intelligent, composed, A Murder On Malabar Hill is about Parveen Mistry, one of the first female lawyers of India. Mr. Omar Farid’s will, his widow’s curious decision, followed by a murder; set in 1920s Bombay, this book is an internationally acclaimed crime novel.
- Cut Like Wound by Anita Nair
A master storyteller, a stupendous crime-weaver; Anita Nair will coax you to sympathize with the criminal. A psychological thriller, the story begins with the ghastly murder of a male prostitute on the first day of Ramadan. Juggling between ruined marriage, complicated relationship with his ex, Inspector Borei Gowda starts the investigation. Soon, one murder becomes two, and two becomes three and before Gowda could find a clue, he was handed over a stack of dead bodies. Anita Nair makes you think, rethink through the labyrinthine aisles she creates. Not only Cut Like Wound, Nair’s all other works are quite marvellous and close to that of James Patterson.
- Painsatth Lakh Ki Dacoity by Surender Mohan Pathak
The list of Indian crime novelists is barren without the mention of Hindi novelist Surender Mohan Pathak. This novel has been translated into English as well- The 65 Lakh Heist. A non-heroic approach to pulp fiction, this novel is ideal for anyone who visualizes stories on the Bollywood screen. If you are a connoisseur of pulp fiction and Hindi literature, Pathak’s work won’t disappoint you.
- The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi
Ashwin Sanghi’s novels have a quirky thrill. Although a Google search may bring his name in the front, however, his style is hugely influenced by Dan Brown. Drawn from mythological cultures, ancient beliefs and blending them into a scientific conclusion, Sanghi’s works are provocative. His creations are so realistic that one often loses the fine line between fiction and reality.
- The Cosmic Clues by Manjiri Prabhu
This book comes to the list for its unique approach where the criminal investigation is guided by Hindu astrology. Sonia Samarth who runs a private investigation agency soon starts tracking down a few cases through her cosmic powers. However, the twist in the tale comes when she starts checking out her own stars. Unusual, alluring and peculiarly refreshing for the thriller genre.
- Witness The Night by Kishwar Desai
Crime is always an outcome of social prejudices, hypocrisy, constant abuse, and violence. Witness The Night is an ideal novel that draws an integrated chain of events in the most dramatic way. A family of 13 members is murdered and the house is set on fire. However, Durga, a 14-year-old girl is found tied to a bed, beaten. Being alive she remains the prime suspect but slowly as the secrets are unveiled, the novel takes us to a different plane altogether. The ink bleeds out the criminal instinct that is latent in every human.
- Feluda Series by Satyajit Ray
The list of crime-thrillers shall go in vain if Feluda doesn’t come into your reading list. Satyajit Ray’s Feluda is a Bengali private investigator who is accompanied by his cousin Topshe and Jatayu, a thriller writer. Witty, quirky, and extensively researched on science, world history, and mythology; Feluda by Satyajit Ray washes the barrier of age, gender, and social strata and also highlights the magnificence of Ray.
Enjoy this roller coaster ride with mysterious crimes and dreadful criminals and do let us know if you think we have missed something worth a mention.
Article by – Atrayee Bhattacharya, Criticspace Literary Journal
A gold medallist in Applied Microbiology from VIT, India, Atrayee is a Health Educator and works in the internal communications department of a renowned MNC. To cut her long educational qualification short, her journey as an editor started with Elsevier and Cactus Communications. She is an author by herself and has published three works of fiction. She has done 5 ghostwriting projects which have been published under good banners. An avid reader of English and Bangla literature and a chai person, she sits with us as an editor, translator, and ghostwriter. She calls herself an introverted city-life hater who one day plans to live in a small hut with a bunch of rabbits.