Top 20 Crime Writers from India

In our efforts to make Noir Nation a truly international journal of crime fiction and bring our readers the many various and wonderful flavors of crime fiction from around the world we are starting a series of weekly posts where fans and followers can help us achieve that goal. Each week we will focus on a different country or region.

This week the focus is on writers from India. In an effort to educate ourselves and our readers about all the wonderful crime, noir, and pulp writers there are in India, please list crime writers from India of which you are aware.  It can be the form of your top 10 or 20 list, or just a name or two that you feel should be on the list.  They can write in English or Hindi, or any other regional language or dialect.  Also post any links to sites that contain Indian books or information about authors.

Please leave your Reply/Comment below.  Join the discussion!

Sincerely, The Editors

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About Alan Ward Thomas

Alan Ward Thomas was the editor of OPTIMISM MONTHLY, an international journal of poetry, prose and art, in Prague, from 1995 to 1998, and the current Eastern Hemisphere editor of Noir Nation. He has a degree in Physics and teaches higher mathematics in international schools. Besides writing and publishing, his current interests are in 21st Century learning techniques, Universal Design for Learning, and the balance of technology and human interaction in the classroom. He follows and writes about homelessness in the United States. He is married, has two children, and lives and works in Prague.

4 thoughts on “Top 20 Crime Writers from India

  1. We face immense problems in defining Indian Pulp Genre. It has been often argued that Indian pulp fiction is most feasible in languages other than English.The Indian crime pulp fiction seems to have metamorphasized from serialized 19th century European novels into a shorter story type. It appears that Sir Arthur conan doyle exerted the most significant influence on the Indian crime genre legacy. Therefore the earliest of the “Indian sherlock Holmes” were already adorning the bookstalls in British India in the late 1800s with the Indian ethos (now am not sure we want to call the likes of these pulp characters). But then we had our own genre of “Jasoosi upanyas” (detective novels, spy novels or crime novels).

    Saradindu Bandopadhyaya in Bengal creates Byomkesh Bakshi, Kamala Sathianadan’s detective Janaki (apparently India’s first English female detective, a loving mother with a boring husband and a horrible Mother in law); Tamilavanan’s “Shanker lal” in the Tamil language who travels around the world with his beautiful intelligent Indian wife Indra solving crime and helping the Governments of other nations but takes pride in his Tamil roots; as well as Pattukottai Prabhakar’s Bharat and susheela, a detective pair go about their investigations flirting with each other and handling the hard criminals mercilessly. Surendra pathak and Om prakash sharma were kings of Hindi pulp fiction.

    The list is quite long. I will update when I find time.

  2. Thanks Tokyo Rose! This is very helpful information. Indeed, India has a rich tradition in crime noir.

  3. Thanks for the remark Eddie Vega. India had a richer oral tradition in crime noir. Not sure how things are taking a turn now.

    The remark I made earlier about Indian pulp fiction bieng more feasible in languages other than English seems to haunt me these days. I have been myself reading more Indian English crime novels than in any other Indian language. But I must say the experiences differ largely (been reading crime fiction and magazines in Indian languages since the last 2 years). Would be great if somebody could give me some insights on these experiences. (making me wonder what the motive of crime pulp fictions in India is and whether they could be made to stand out as ” Indian crime genre” )

    “Delhi noir” recently offered a very mesmerizing tale of a chaotic city swinging between technology and age old traditions.It tells tales about sex in parks, “soulless underworld corporate dons”, male prostitutions, murderous servantsand saffron adorned swamis and gurus and the kinds. On my last trip to India,I asked several people from autorickshaw drivers to University students why they think something like Dehi noir is possible and the answers amounted to “oh all those things happen in a city like Delhi – its not fictitious, there is enough fodder for crime fiction in India” (so I land up having more problems- fiction and realism in the Indian context)

    I will come back with the “Inspector Lalli” soon:-)

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