While I always buy myself books for my birthday, I’ve never had the impulse to share the details with others –at least not immediately; at least not until I’ve read them and loved them. Buying books for my birthday has always been a private joy.
This year however, I’ve decided to share. Because I’m excited about these books. Because I know, without even reading a single line in any of these, that I am going to love them. Because I know that when I am done reading them, I will rave about them. Because this year my birthday feels different.
Birthdays are a time for indulgence, and crime fiction is my bookish equivalent of birthday cake. Looking around for something, I chanced upon an article in The Ladies Finger, which referred to Kalpana Swaminathan’s Lalli series.
Honestly, I can’t understand why I’ve found out about this series so late! What rock have I been living under?!! How do I not know about this 60 year old female detective?
In any case, I had to rectify my oversight, and I bought the entire series. Featuring Lalli, a 60 year old woman retired from the police force, the books in the series are:
“…the cook serves up more than food at the Millennial Banquet. There’s murder on the menu.”
“Swaminathan borrows Lewis Caroll’s poem (that is where the title comes from) to create a delicious mystery rare to find in Indian writing in English.”
“The Monochrome Madonna has Lalli at her most astute as she interprets the nuances of a murder without motive.”
“What does the cardboard box with human remains have to do with Anais’s murder? And what significance do the peculiar knots round her neck have?”
“The solitary bone that surfaces in the garden there doesn’t mean much to police surgeon Dr Q or Inspector Savio. But Lalli, who collects curiosities, finds it curious. Things get curiouser when a dying gigolo whispers the address in terror, and curiouser still when a mummified finger with a chic manicure turns up in the same garden.”
“The missing children of Kandewadi become a cause célèbre as febrile activism and media hype keep the violence resonating. When Lalli ignores the smokescreen and sets out to reveal the truth, she encounters the unimaginable.”
At the time of writing this post, Greenlight still hasn’t been delivered to me, and isn’t likely to be until tomorrow. So I have some post-birthday book mail to look forward to 🙂
And while I wait for that, I have plenty more to read.
The next book I had to have was Chain of Custody.
“Gowda is soon embroiled in the investigation of a child-trafficking racket. Negotiating insensitive laws, indifferent officials, and uncooperative witnesses, he is in a race against time…”
I enjoy reading Sharanya Manivannan’s weekly column The Venus Flytrap in The New Indian Express. Her writing is bold, and fierce and honest, and these are the qualities that I expect will make The High Priestess Never Marries a very special read.
“The women in this collection are choice makers, consequence facers, solitude seekers. They are lovers, vixens, wives to themselves. And their stories are just how that woman in the bar likes it – dirty, neat and sexy as smoke.”
And when I’m already reading so much great writing by women, why stop there?
I’ve recently finished reading Annie Zaidi’s haunting novel Gulab, and have been wanting to read something else by her. In my search, I came across an anthology she has edited, of women’s writing in India for the past 2000 years.
2000 years of women’s writing!!! From poet saints like Andal and Mirabai to writers like Arundhati Roy and Pinki Virani, Unbound has a huge range of writing that promises to be not just writing by women, but an read rich in intersectionality and diversity. Even without reading, I’d reccommend this as a must-have for any home library.
“Divided into eleven sections, it encompasses writing on various aspects of life: spirituality, love, marriage, children, food, work, social and individual identity, battles, myths and fables, travel, and death. While many of the pieces are commentaries on the struggle that women undergo to overcome obstacles—social and political—all of them showcase the remarkable creative ability of their creators”
So that’s my birthday book haul.
Have you read any of these? Do any of these interest you? Let me know in the comments!