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 nobleman Muzaffar Jang being catapulted into a crime investigation when a friend of his is accused of murdering a powerful—but shady—nobleman. The investigation brings Muzaffar into contact with a varied lot of people: a beautiful and canny courtesan; an eccentric Venetian; a mysterious Englishman—and more.
Here are some reviews of the book:
“…The Englishman’s Cameo is a fast-paced yarn written in snappy prose. It also succeeds in evoking the Mughal era through its manners, fashions, jewels and architecture.” – Gargi Gupta, The Hindustan Times. Read more.
“…Its originality and freshness is its strongest point, and — after the dramatic resolution — one shuts the book hoping that Madhulika Liddle will continue with her literary project and act as a path-breaker for other history-mystery writers in order to build this fabulous genre’s South Asian avatar.” – Zac O’Yeah, Deccan Herald. Read more.
“…The writing style is vivid and descriptive…The book is [a] quick read, being just over 270 pages. The story finishes before one feels the toll of an overdose of history…” – Shakti Swaminathan, The Hindu. Read more.
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