KIPLING SAHIB by CHARLES ALLEN

“Kipling Sahib” by Charles Allen is a well-written, well-researched, fascinating look into the Indian part of Rudyard Kipling’s life, those relatively few years he spent in India, but which marked him for life. And for literature. Charles Allen brings to this book all the detailed yet seemingly relaxed research of …

THE MANDALA OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Jamyang Norbu

Ever wondered what happened to Sherlock Homes, after he fell over the Reichenbach Falls and was presumed drowned ? The only clue generations of Sherlock Homes fans had were two meagre sentences beginning “I travelled for 2 years in Tibet…” Jamyang Norbu’s clever, well-written novel fills in these missing 2 …

BESIEGED by Mahmood Farooqui

Does a reviewer have a moral obligation to finish a book ? If so, then this review must carry a caveat.  Half way through, mired down by too much information, and  too heavy a writing style, this reviewer abandoned “Besieged”. The writer has done a hugely impressive job of tracking …

DREAMING IN HINDI by Katherine Russell Rich

An Oprah-validated book, “Dreaming in Hindi” is a fascinating account of a middle-aged American’s woman’s foray not only into India and learning Hindi, but into living in small-town India, and in a joint family to boot. Part auto-biography, part academic treatise on linguistics and neurology, full of humour and self-mockery, …

THE CASE OF THE MAN WHO DIED LAUGHING by Tarquin Hall

The second book in what one hopes will be a long series of Vish Puri detective novels, showcases the author’s love and obvious affection for India, especially Delhi, and his eye for the wildly off-beat. The man who died laughing really did. At the Laughing Club on Rajpath. And from …

THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by Tarquin Hall

India finally has her own Precious Ramotswe. Her own home-grown, uncomplicated, tell-it-as-it-is private detective.  Punjabi by nature, by appetite and by his larger than life personality. Meet Vish Puri, resident of Gurgaon, chilli-grower, Sandown-cap-lover and solver of crimes in Delhi. Vish Puri is a clever, intuitive detective, of that there …

CALL ME DAN by Anish Trivedi

This début novel of Mumbai-based Anish Trivedi is well-written, sharply-observed, and a great read. The main character, Gautam, is a 30-year old lower middle-class young man, still living at home with his parents and sister.  Their life is frugal, traditional and distinctly joy-less. To his parents’ despair, Gautam doesn’t have …