A new book: My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories

For those of you who associate me only with Muzaffar Jang and historical fiction, this may come as a surprise (though a pleasant one, I hope): my third book has been released, and it has very little to do with history.

My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories(published by Westland Limited, ISBN: 9789381626870) is a collection of contemporary black humour, with some stories being more humorous than black, while others are darker and less funny. All, however, do have one signature element that I particularly like: the twist in the tale.

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More about Muzaffar…

… 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.


Some news, some reviews

No, I’m not vegetating somewhere. I am actually working on the fourth book in the Muzaffar Jang series (so, if you like the series, you’ll probably have guessed that the third book is already written). I’m also doing the occasional writing assignment, and some more offbeat but interesting stuff, also connected to Muzaffar Jang. Continue reading

Photos from the Muzaffar Jang Walk

As I’d mentioned earlier, we’d planned a ‘Muzaffar Jang Walk’ through parts of Shahjahanabad yesterday, December 11, 2011. It was organised by Habitat World and was led by my sister, Swapna Liddle. I won’t let the cat out of the … Continue reading

Coming Up: The ‘Muzaffar Jang Walk’ Through Shahjahanabad

When The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries was launched in August this year, my sister, Swapna Liddle – historian, ardent enthusiast about Delhi’s history, and a person who’s been leading heritage walks in Delhi for over a decade – said, “How about a Muzaffar Jang walk?”

I’ve been on dozens of heritage walks led by Swapna. Walks for Habitat World (at the India Habitat Centre); for the Delhi Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH); even informal exploratory expeditions through the maze of bylanes and necessarily-single-file alleys of Shahjahanabad. What I love about Swapna’s style is that she knows a lot, and she knows how to tell it like a story – with delightful anecdotes, interesting facts, and little tidbits that help bring history alive. So of course, when Swapna suggested a Muzaffar Jang walk, I jumped at the offer.

Here it is.

On December 11, 2011, at 08.30 AM, the Muzaffar Jang Walk. It’s being organised jointly by Habitat World and Hachette India, and Swapna will be leading the walk. She’ll be talking about Shahjahanabad, of course, but with a special emphasis on buildings, areas, even other little details that feature in the two Muzaffar Jang books, The Englishman’s Cameo and The Eighth Guest. And no, it won’t be just the predictable Red Fort and Jama Masjid.

So come along for the walk. It begins at the Jain Digamber Lal Mandir (at the end of Chandni Chowk, opposite the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort. The walk begins at 08.30 AM. Please register with the Programmes Desk at Habitat World by phoning 011-4366-3080/90. Places are very limited, so register as soon as you can.

See you there!

Two Reviews of The Eighth Guest

My latest book – The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries (released in August 2011) – has already begun to receive some reviews. Read on for a couple of excerpts.

The first, by film-maker, writer and blogger Batul Mukhtiar:

“… For anyone who is fascinated by Mughal monuments, clothes, way of life, these detective stories are a pleasure to read…

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The Eighth Guest: Book Trailer

With the launch date of The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries just around the corner (August 19th, 2011), here’s something to whet your appetite: the book trailer.

Here it is, in normal resolution:

And in high definition:

Buy the book online at: Landmark | Flipkart | Crossword | IndiaPlaza

Announcing: The Eighth Guest & Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries

A number of readers have been asking me when the next Muzaffar Jang book – the sequel to The Englishman’s Cameo – will be out. So here it is.

Muzaffar Jang features again, in this series of mystery stories, nearly all of them set in Shahjahanabad, the Dilli of Shahjahan’s last years as the Mughal Emperor. As the blurb on the back of the book puts it:

“It is the year 1656. Muzaffar Jang, that rare creature in Shahjahan’s Dilli, an aristocrat with friends in low places, is recovering from injuries sustained during his recent adventures involving two mysterious Englishmen and some reprehensible activities against the Imperial Exchequer.

Muzaffar’s bruised shoulder has yet to heal when he finds himself catapulted into a series of mysteries: An elephant in the Royal Elephant Stables goes berserk and kills its mahout – or does it? A scholarly nobleman – but, oh, such a pompous bore – is left a very puzzling legacy by his father. An artist at the imperial atelier is found murdered next to one of his works.

Muzaffar must pit his wits against treacherous noblemen and scheming traders, greedy villagers and lovelorn men – and women.

But who knows? Before the year is out, Muzaffar may just meet his match…”

I am especially fond of writing short stories, so this collection is one I’ve particularly enjoyed putting together – and they’re stories I hope you will like. The book will be formally released in Delhi, at the India Habitat Centre, on August 19, 2011 – but you can pre-order now on any of these online bookstores:

Landmark | Flipkart | Crossword | IndiaPlaza

And yes, there’s even an early review already published, on this blog.







Forthcoming books – and a contribution

Apologies for the long silence. It isn’t as if I’ve packed up pen and paper (rather, my laptop) and gone off to vegetate somewhere. There are things happening in my world of writing; the problem is that writing takes such a long time. There’s many a month between the inception of an idea and the day the book hits the shelves… I have a book coming out probably in October 2011; this will be the sequel to The Englishman’s Cameo, and I’m currently writing the sequel to that book. So, Muzaffar Jang fans have something to look forward to – both this winter, and the next.

In addition to that, Westland-Tranquebar will be releasing a collection of my short stories – all on the theme of dark humour – probably in November 2011.

And, meanwhile, here’s another book to which I’ve contributed: The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies do to Writers. It’s an anthology of film-related writing from well-known Indian writers who don’t typically write about cinema: Manjula Padmanabhan, Sumana Roy, Amitava Kumar, Anjum Hassan and others – including me.  Published by Westland-Tranquebar, compiled and edited by Jai Arjun Singh, the book will be formally released in March 2011. It’s already available online on Flipkart, though, so if you live in India, you can order it here.

The stories in this book promise to be very interesting. If you’re a cinema buff, don’t miss this one.


Oh, and yes: an excerpt from my essay for The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies do to Writers. I contributed an article on one of my favourite themes from cinema, suspense thrillers from Hindi cinema in the 1950s and 60s. The piece is called Villains and Vamps and All Things Camp, and here’s a sneak peek:

“The spy kings also seemed to command the hottest molls and the most ingenious torture equipment. I suppose finances come into that; you can’t have Helen as a ‘secretary’ who operates a machine that slowly grills the hero over a bed of coals, when all you’re doing is running a backyard bootlegging outfit. But ooh, the spy kings, with their truckloads of dirty money! They were the ones who could afford the works: the leopard skin-hot pink satin-mirrored ceiling dens, the bars crowded with bottles of Vat 69, the hordes of henchmen clad in too-tight pants and T-shirts.


There’s something so giddily, gorgeously glorious about it all.”

Happy reading!