Dark fire 2004
I have read and loved each of these books! Hats off to this writer ! The characters are so believable. I learnt a lot about life in those days i.e. the life of ordinary people and royalty.
Since childhood, I have always wondered about life in ancient times, in India and all over the world. But the absolutely shallow social studies texts I had in school, which only focussed on names of kings, dates of deaths of kings and dates of wars, with zero information about anything else, left me dissatisfied & ignorant. I also had a terrible memory and barely scraped through the tests! If the history lessons had some depth of information, I am sure I would have enjoyed and learnt and remembered a lot more ! The DRY, B-O-R-I-N-G texts never gave any information about how people lived in those days, the prevalent economic system, agricultural practices, etc. I am referring to the social studies text books published or prescribed by the Karnataka State Government in the years 1971 to 1980. I also think that the kids who had access to Amar Chitra Katha comics probably scored more in social studies tests than the ones who had only boring texts, boring teachers and boring notes to rely on!
I had several questions in childhood and I never got answers until decades later when the internet came to India. My questions were also answered when I borrowed history books by British authors from the Toronto public library. (I learnt about Indian history in Canada...no access to books and no books in India about India! The Indian public libraries are appalling and people cannot afford to buy all the books they want to read). I am now getting information about life in India, the caste system, the superstitious beliefs, the agricultural practices by reading online things like the Karnataka Gazette, etc. There is such a wealth of documentation of all aspects of life in all parts of India, done by the British and now available online! One can also read from the British library archives online.
Some questions I had in childhood for which I never got answers from my history text books for a long time were:
(1)How did people stitch blouses for women and shirts for men? Needles were invented in the west and we were apparently wearing clothes even before the British came. So how did we stitch?
(2)Another question which bothered me was how did we know where to dig for iron, gold, diamonds, etc?
(3) I know that villagers shit and piss in the fields. But I was always curious about where the people in cities and the kings and queens especially went to shit and piss in the past centuries. This question haunted me for years of my childhood but no one knew the answers! Even with lots of 'educated' people around me, I could not get this answer. The elders would say things like, " Why do you want to know?" or say "Indians were smart. I am sure they had some sort of toilets".
(4)How did we know we had to melt the stuff to get metal? ( I never had any questions about diamonds as I was ignorant enough to think that the diamonds were shiny and we simply dug them out! I blame Indian movies for my ignorance.
Reading historical crime fiction by good authors makes history fun and exciting instead of dead and boring. And C.J.Sansom is one great author!
I will add other books to this list as I recall. I know I have read a few others related to Christianity (Knights Templar) but cannot recall now.
The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye is a romantic and adventurous historical fiction set in British India I enjoyed ! I have read it more than once though it is a huge book. I am sure all Indians who love romance, adventure and want to know about life in India in British times would enjoy this . I am saying Indians as I think Indians would be more interested than others in reading this.
I am looking forward to reading three crime fiction set in British India by Australian writer Brian Stoddart i.e.
A Madras Miasma
The Palampur Predicament
Other books set in Pre-independence India are:
The last Kashmiri rose
Ragtime in Simla
The Damascend blade
The palace tiger
Where Gods dwell
The body in the Bokhara
Upendra Dharmadhikari & Changali Anand
The princess in Black:An unheard story of the Mughals(2014)
George Macdonald Fraser
The (Harry Paget Flashman)Flashman series by this author are more funny adventures than crime fiction and there are 12 books in this highly acclaimed series.
The ones set in pre-independent India are
The Flashman papers book one 1969
The Flashman series book 4 Flashman and the mountain of light 1990
The Flashman papers-book 8 Flashman in the great game 1975
|Kim(not sure if this would be crime fiction exactly)
The crows of Agra(set in the times of Akbar, Mughal emperor of India)
The empress of India(British India)
In the green tree (some short stories are crime fiction set in British India)
The Englsihman's cameo
The eigth gang and other Muzaffar Jang mysteries
Engraved in stone
The deceivers 1966(set in British India)
Bhowani junction 1954
The lotus and the wind 1953
A rising man
Currently(fall 2015) I am reading a crime fiction set in New York of the 1890s called Murder on Washington Square by Victoria Thompson. I am enjoying it and it's a pleasure to know the life of people, especially women in those days. The days when women were not considered equal to men and good enough for work men did such as police work.
There is a whole lot of historical crime fiction being written all over the world and I will add to this list as I read them.
I hope these historical crime fiction set in New York of over 200 years ago will keep me happily engaged this cold fall!
I finished Murder in Gramercy Park and I find her style of writing very similar to Georgette Heyer's. Many phrases and words to capture certain emotions are exactly the same as Georgette Heyer. I am enjoying these books as it's a pleasant way to discover New York's history..the life of the rich, the middle class and the poor, the rich, women's lives and the challenges they faced due to society's attitudes toward them, the life of the immigrants such as the Chinese and the racism they faced, even the racism faced by Europeans such as the Irish in New York about 100 odd years ago!
I am sad that many of the current New Yorkers are ignorant and remain uncurious about New York's fascinating history.
The entire list of 17 crime fiction books by Victoria Thompson, set in New York of 19th century are:
Murder on Astor Place 1999
|Murder at St. Mark's Place 2000|
|Murder on Gramercy Park 2001|
Murder on Washington Square 2002
Murder on Mulberry bend 2003
Murder on Marble Row 2004
Murder on Lennox Hill 2005
Murder in Little Italy 2006
Murder in China Town 2007
Murder on Bank street 2008
Murder on Waverly Place 2009
Murder on Lexington Avenue 2010
Murder on Sister's Row 2011
Murder on 5th Avenue 2012
Murder in Chelsea 2013
Murder in Murray Hill 2014
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue 2015
Murder in Morningside Heights 2016
LA Confidential a movie set in 1950s LA is one of the best crime movies I have ever seen.