August 11 , 2008

Picture Imperfect

and other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries


Classic tales of crime detection featuring Byomkesh Bakshi, the master inquisitor Written long before Satyajit Ray’s Feluda series, Saradindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi mysteries heralded a new era in Bengali popular fiction. Set in the old-world Calcutta of the Raj, these stories featuring the astute investigator and his chronicler friend Ajit are still as gripping and delightful as when they first appeared. Byomkesh’s world, peopled with wonderfully delineated characters and framed by a brilliantly captured pre-Independence urban milieu, is fascinating because of its contemporary flavor. In the first story, Byomkesh works undercover to expose an organized crime ring trafficking in drugs. In ‘The Gramophone Pin Mystery’, he must put his razor-sharp intellect to good use to unearth the pattern behind a series of bizarre roadside murders. In ‘Calamity Strikes’, the ace detective is called upon to investigate the strange and sudden death of a girl in a neighbour’s kitchen. In the next story, he has to lock horns with an old enemy who has vowed to kill him with an innocuous but deadly weapon. And in ‘Picture Imperfect’, Byomkesh Bakshi unravels a complex mystery involving a stolen group photograph, an amorous couple, and an apparently unnecessary murder. Available in English for the first time in a superb translation, these stories will captivate every lover of crime fiction, young and old alike.
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