(Plug alert: my latest novel, what it’s about, and some background)
Some of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while—or who know something of what I write about besides classic cinema—probably know by now that I am also the creator of a fictional 17th century Mughal detective named Muzaffar Jang. Muzaffar first appeared in a short story in a collection of South Asian women’s writing, called 21 Under 40. I had, however, already half-written a novel featuring this protagonist, and that book, set in the summer of 1656, went on to become the first full-length Muzaffar Jang novel, The Englishman’s Cameo, published by Hachette India in 2008.
Seven years later, and here I am, at the fourth book of the series.
Crimson City, the fourth book in the Muzaffar Jang series.
Despite the fact that I love reading as much as I enjoy watching films, I don’t read too much cinema-related writing. Part of the reason is that a lot of what I see in bookstores consists of biographies or autobiographies, and I have a horror of picking up one of those, only to find myself reading the sordid details of people’s personal lives. I’m really not interested in that; what I do like to read is about films themselves, and the professional side of those who make them. (Though I’m happy reading anecdotes like how Madan Mohan persuaded Manna Dey to sing Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare, or how Mohammad Rafi got to meet his idol).
So, when I came across Om Books International’s Housefull: The Golden Age of Hindi Cinema (Ed. Ziya Us Salam) and saw that it was a collection of mini essays about the best films of the 1950s and 60s, I decided this might be right up my street.
Engraved in Stone (Hachette India; 2012. ISBN: 9789350094488), the third book in the Muzaffar Jang series, is set in the winter of 1656-57 CE. This novel finds Muzaffar in Agra. The Mughal armies, led by the ambitious Diwan-e-kul, Mir Jumla, … Continue reading →
The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries(Hachette India; 2011. ISBN: 9789350092750) is the second book in the Muzaffar Jang series, and takes up where The Englishman’s Cameo left off. The problem of the cameo solved, Muzaffar has acquired somewhat of a reputation as an investigator. This is a collection of ten short mysteries, ranging from an odd bequest, to the theft of some wedding gifts, to the seemingly inexplicable disappearance of a woman travelling in a small caravan…
This is what reviewers had to say:
“…The series of mysteries in this collection are something else – from the elephant that killed his mahout to the murder of an artist, these ten stories will have you wanting more. I am always biased to good mystery stories and when they came with an appropriate historical background, it makes it even better…” – Vivek Tejuja, IBN Live. Read more.
“…In some way, these stories are a welcome break from the abundance of mystery writing that makes it impossible to distinguish one from the other. Where others would be lost for being too commonplace, Liddle has been ingenious in creating a detective who is set in a time which places him far ahead in any competition.” – Chitra Rao, The Asian Age. Read more.
The Englishman’s Cameo (Hachette India; 2009. ISBN: 9788190617338), published in French as Le Camée Anglais, is the first Muzaffar Jang book, a story about crime and corruption in Shahjahan’s Dilli. Set in 1656 CE, the novel begins with the young … Continue reading →
… and about me, and my sister Swapna. Swapna did a repeat of the Muzaffar Jang walk through some parts of Shahjahanabad – especially Chandni Chowk and just around, for a journalist, Priyanka Kotamraju of The Indian Express. Priyanka interviewed us along the way, and here’s what she came up with: a story about the Liddles and their love of history.
I’ve written long fiction. I’ve written short fiction. I’ve even written some flash fiction. So, when I got a mail from Peter Griffin at Forbes India, asking if I’d like to contribute microfiction for a post on the Forbes India blog, I jumped at the idea.
Anuradha Goyal, blogger, prolific reviewer of books, and a travel writer, interviewed me recently. Anuradha’s questions ranged from my early attempts at writing to how Muzaffar Jang was born, to what advice I would offer to aspiring authors who wanted to write historical fiction.
Muzaffar Jang, my Mughal detective, is busy solving more cases – in my head right now, as I write the fourth book in the series. However, you can read Muzaffar’s earlier adventures now in electronic form too. Some readers outside … Continue reading →