I don't know about you, but I can't resist a crime novel whose main action begins with a food fight in a night club:
"A couple of screws in Qasim's brain mechanism came loose, and the very next moment a plate full of meat and watery sauce hit the young man in the face."That's from The Laughing Corpse, sixty-second of the late Urdu-language crime writer Ibne Safi's 125 Jasusi Dunya ("The World of Detection" or "The World of Espionage") novels about the aristocratic Col. Ahmad Kamal Faridi (an inspector earlier in the series) and his acid-tongued sidekick, Hameed. (The name Qasim may be mere coincidence, but my favorite line from The Thousand Nights and a Night is "Your wit is as heavy as Abu Qasim's slippers!")
Blaft Publications of Chennai, India; and Berkeley, California; has translated four of the Jasusi Dunya books into English. The Laughing Corpse has its slapstick moments, but it also has a cool, mysterious, manipulative protagonist in Faridi, and a surprisingly caustic sidekick in Hameed. Most of all, Ibne Safi knew how to create suspense and head-scratching mystery.
Ibne Safi began his writing in India in the early 1940s and continued from Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947. He wrote through the 1970s and died in 1980. Like many pulp writers of the Indian subcontinent, he was prolific. He wrote more than a hundred titles each in Jasusi Dunya and his other main series, plus poetry and satire.
Read more about the author at the Ibne Safi site. Read more about the fantastically broad and colorful world of Indian pulp writing at Blaft's Web site and in the informative editor's and translator's introductions to the books.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011