Novels in the series –
Here falls the shadow
The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira
About the Detective –
Janardan Maity, like Byomkesh Bakshi (by Saradindu Bandopadhyay) is not quite fond of the word detective attached to his name. Prakash Ray, an out-of-luck journalist, who is also the narrator of Maity’s adventures, has a chance encounter with this unusually intelligent and observant man at the birthday party of Ray’s uncle, Rajendra Mukherjee. Mukherjee introduces Maity as one of his closest friends who has never lost a game of chess. After the host and his second wife get murdered, all the guests gathered for the birthday party of the host turn out to be suspects in the eyes of the police. It is Maity and his logical reasoning that helps solve this mystery putting the murderer behind the bars. The climax of the novel brings back memories of Satyajit Ray’s Feluda who was also in the habit of assimilating all the parties involved in a case before revealing the truth and the identity of the killer.
In the second novel, Maity seeks out Ray, who is now shown to have quit his job to become a full-fledged writer, to accompany him to a place called Nimdeora in Deoghar. Maity is expected to solve the mystery of the death threats that the famous novelist Sangram Talukdar has been receiving. This is the second time that Ray encounters Maity’s thinking and methodologies closely and their lives get intertwined to bring them as a team now. In the third novel, Maity and Ray are found to be vacationing at Goa. The landlady of their homestay requests for Maity’s help in solving a strange mystery of a letter asking for ransom for a case of kidnapping that has never taken place.
Like the famous duos of Holmes-Watson, Byomkesh-Ajit, and Yukawa-Kusanagi, Maity and Ray is a partnership formed out of mutual understanding and respect. It is through Ray that we are taken into the world of crime and criminals while Maity continues to peel off the layers of lies in an attempt to seek the truth. Despite the three novels written by the author, very little is known about Maity as an individual. In the first novel, Maity is told to have his ancestral base in Bangladesh and his trait of not sticking to a regular job. His background, his family (if any) or his journey as a detective still remains a mystery. But what makes Maity unique is the fact that this voracious reader and well-to-do sharp-minded investigator hardly ever accept money for solving the pieces of a puzzle. What starts off as a story based out of Bengal in the first book travels to the Eastern zone of the country in the second novel and finally, the duo is seen to get a nationwide recognition through the premises of the latest novel. It would be interesting to wait and watch if Maity takes on a case of international interest next.
My bookish connection –
I had purchased Penumbra a couple of years back. Quite unlike me, the book stayed unread since I was in the process of relocating from Bangalore to Kolkata. It was only four months back that I discovered this book while opening a sealed carton lying untouched for a while. This was the time when I was battling with multiple health issues and could barely write. The bibliophile in me was also struggling hard to stay afloat. I picked up the book without any expectations since it was my first introduction to the author and his work. Finishing it in three days, the book left me enthralled. I was transported back to my childhood when I would wait eagerly for the exams to get over so that I could lay my hands on the next Feluda book.
After finishing Penumbra, it didn’t take me a minute to order the next two books in the Maity-Ray series. Having read all the three books, there was a lingering feeling of sadness once the realization sunk in that there was no fourth book to look forward to. I sincerely hope that the author has plans to come up with more books in this series because as a reader, I would definitely want to know more about my favorite detective, his backstory and be a part of his future expeditions.
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This is the 6th post in my ‘Favorite Indian Detectives’ series. You can check my first post on Feluda, the second post on Mehrunisa, the third post on Vish Puri, the fourth post on Byomkesh and the fifth post on Inspector Gowda.
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