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The Menagerie & Other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries

Saradindu Bandyopadhyay (Author) Sreejata Guha (Author)
Synopsis An irresistible volume for crime fiction enthusiasts.  When, in 1932, Saradindu Bandyopadhyay decided to try his hand at detective fiction-looked down upon in Bengali literary circles of that time as frivolous ventures-he scarcely expected Byomkesh Bakshi to become one of the most popular and enduring creations in Bengali literature. Although largely modelled on such greats as Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Chesterton’s Father Brown, Byomkesh’s appeal as the self-styled inquisitor, a detective not by profession but by passion, found him a dedicated following among generations of readers. The present collection of stories, all set in Calcutta of the fifties and sixties, brings together four mysteries that put the sleuth’s remarkable mental agility to the ultimate test. In The Menagerie (adapted by master film-maker Satyajit Ray for his 1967 film Chiriakhana) Byomkesh cracks a strange case involving broken motor parts, a seemingly natural death and the peculiar inhabitants of Golap Colony who seem capable of doing just about anything to safeguard the secrets of their tainted pasts.  In The Jewel Case he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a priceless necklace, while in The Will That Vanished he solves a baffling riddle to fulfil the last wish of a close friend. And in The Quills of the Porcupine, the shrewd detective is in his element as he expertly foils the sinister plans of a ruthless opportunist. Sreejata Guha’s translation captures brilliantly the thrill and ingenuity of Byomkesh’s exploits just as it does Bandyopadhyay’s remarkable portrayal of a city struggling to overcome its colonial past and come into its own.
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About the authors

Saradindu Bandyopadhyay

Saradindu Bandyopadhyay (1899–1970) was born in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh. His first literary venture was a book of poems published in 1919. While still a student at Vidyasagar College, Calcutta, he married his wife Parul in 1918. Subsequently he studied law, and then dedicated himself to writing. In 1938, Saradindu moved to Bombay to work on screenplays for Bombay Talkies and later for other banners. He worked in Bombay till 1952, when he gave up his ties with cinema and moved to Pune to concentrate on his writing. He went on to become a popular and renowned writer of crime fiction, ghost stories, historical romances and children’s fiction in Bengali and received the Rabindra Purashkar for his novel Tungabhadrar Teerey.

Sreejata Guha

Sreejata Gupta has an MA in Comparative Literature from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has worked as a translator and editor with Stree Publication, Seagull Books and Jacaranda Press. She has previously translated Picture Imperfect, a collection of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi stories, Taslima Nasrin’s Novel French Lover and Saratchandra Chhattopadhyay’s Devdas for Penguin. Her translation of Tagore’s Home and the World is forthcoming in penguin.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Menagerie & Other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries
Format Softcover
Date published: 02.07.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0143061968
length 318p.