“Holmes of the Raj” by Vithal Rajan
March 26th, 2011 by Aldouspi


Here is the latest featured review of a Sherlock Holmes Pastiche: "Holmes of the Raj" by Vithal Rajan.

Holmes of the Raj

Sherlock Holmes Pastiches and Reviews: 

"Holmes of the Raj" by Vithal Rajan

Reviewed By Scott Harker

Publisher: Writers Workshop, Copyright 2006, First Hardback (no dustjacket).

Here is a series of related stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in India. There have been many pastiches written about Sherlock Holmes in India and Tibet - almost all of them occurring during the Great Hiatus when the world thought Holmes was dead. It is rare indeed when both Holmes and Watson are in India at the same time...

The Story:  The first story in this collection starts out with Holmes and Watson being asked, by an emissary of the Ranne of Kanchee to investigate the case of the Shankaracharya, a holy, religious figure who appears to have been framed for murder. And thus the two become involved in the Great Game of politics and intrigue going on the subcontinent of India.

The case is resolved, but before Holmes and Watson can return to England, Dr. Watson is asked to treat a young boy who has contracted malaria. While doing so, Dr. Watson begins to research the possible connection of a particular breed of mosquito with the spread of the disease. Meanwhile another mystery occupies Holmes's time.

Other stories in this book involve important Indian and British historical figures of the late 1880's from Lord Ripon and Madame Blavatsky to Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and Tagore. These figures provide glimpses into the historical context and perhaps the mindset of India under British rule. Other stories involve Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli (the Jungle Book) and Kim.

All and all, Holmes and Watson romp over much of India showing us another part of the Victorian Age...


The Writing:  Vithal Rajan is has lead an active life promoting peace through the world. He served as a "mediator" in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was a founding faculty member of the School of Peace Studies, Bradford University, U.K. He eventually returned to India where he is now the volunteer chair of the Confederation of Voluntary Associations, which works for communal harmony between poor Hindu and Muslim communities...

While not a professional writer, Rajan is a man of letters and the writing in this book is well done. There are some odd sentence structures and word choices which I attribute more to the English of India flavoring the literature. I should note that the activities of Dr. Watson are the main focal points through out most of the stories, while Holmes makes his appearances to make sure the mysteries are solved... The characterizations of Holmes and Watson are within the parameters of most viewpoint of these characters, yet there is a uniqueness, that I found fascinating. So also was I intrigued the recreation of 1880's India and its political and social culture.

This hardback version of this book is limited to 500 copies and was handmade by the publisher in India. You will find that the book has a variety of different colored covers which maybe different than the one shown here. A paperback edition from Random house is now available.

The Rating: ... I give this book 3 "Pipes." This is not your typical collection of Sherlock Holmes adventures and mysteries. While I found it enjoyable, it may not be your cup of tea...

To Purchase on Amazon:  Holmes of the Raj by Vithal Rajan


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