Enough has been said in this blog about Feluda and its creator Satyajit ray in the past 10 months, I guess. Nevertheless, let me introduce him again – Feluda is a young detective character created by Satyajit Ray, inspired by Sherlock Holmes, as Ray himself has mentioned in the preface. Adventures of Feluda appeared in the Bengali children’s magazine “sandesh” run by Ray himself (Founded by his grandfather Upendra Kishore Ray). There are 35 Feluda novels on the whole and this book is a collection of 16 novels, translated in to English by Gopa Majumdar. This is a highly enjoyable reading experience and I mean it hundred percent.
One good thing is that all the novels in the collection are in the chronological order of their appearance in “sandesh”. So, we can actually see the growth of Feluda, ourselves. “Danger in Darjeeling” is the first novel. I liked the ending in it a lot. “The Emperor’s ring” is an interesting novel. It has Ray style wierdness in the plot, at some places, for example – Bonobihari babu’s zoo. “Kailash Chowdary’s jewel” already appeared in a collection I read recently-“The royal bengal tiger mystery and other stories”. This is something that did not appeal me very much. “The Anubis mystery”-is a good novel, again. “Trouble in Gangtok” – though it was a bit predictable, some elements in it were very interesting and aroused curiosity, like for example – the possibility of the German young man being the son of SS. “The Golden Fortress” – this also turned a bit predictable, but, again, I felt the plot was interesting. Ray used different kind of scenarios in his novels. He definitely had a great deal of imagination. “Incident on the Kalka Mail” – I mentioned about this some time back, here. It was an interesting read. “A killer in kailash” – appeared in the “Royalbengal tiger mystery…” collection. It arosed quite a deal of curiosity. I did not feel like reading this for a second time, though.
“The Key” – Good narrative. The narration was highly animative in the crucial scenes, I should say. Next comes – “The royak bengal tiger mystery”, which appeared in the collection with the same name. It was good and the climax was a highlight. “The Locked Chest” – too I read before. But, I did not mind a second reading. It was interesting. “The mystery of the elephant god” – was full of doubts and twists. Again, the narration was a bit different and had a Ray mark on it. I liked this particular narrative very much. “Bandits of Bombay” was in the “The locked chest” style with regards the “villain’s” character, but, it was interesting on its own too. “Mystery of the walking dead” – I read this before too. Nice plot. “The secret of the cemetery” also happens to be the one I read before, though it did not come in the way of experiencing the joy of reading it. “The curse of the goddess” – was also a second read for me, though, again, its a pleasure to read Ray always.
However, one thing that I noticed was the number of novels with plots related to Antiques and stuff. Very few differed in the actual theme. But, it was the narration which was different. Perhaps, that is what which made all the repeated mentions about rings, jewels, statues etc throughout the collection a “not-boring” affair. Yeah, the influence of Holmes is easily seen, but Ray himself said that Feluda is inspired by Holmes. I liked the “cleanliness” of the novels throughout. It is difficult to write detective novels without the mention of high violence or vamps. But, Ray did that and he was commited to doing that till the end.
Perhaps, this is the only Indian detective in literature. I am not sure. Atleast, it should be so in Children’s literature. All those Bengali kids who grew up in his heydays as an author are very very lucky, which includes the translator – Gopa Majumdar too. This pook is a Penguin Edition, costs 450/-. For the first time in my life, I felt – it is not costly. It is apt. Imagine, 16 novels for Rs 450/- ! I have seen individual copies of these novels priced as Rs 99/- each!
I wonder if there are any such writings in Telugu… or did anyone attempt to translate these works to telugu. These are surely a joy to read. I hope all the children who just entered adolscence will read it, and enjoy them. I recommend this book strongly to anybody who is interested in reading detective fiction. If you like Holmes, you will like this young Holmes-style detective too. Ray rocks! I salute the master-story teller. Should see if Volume-2 is anywhere within my reach now!