“I think Indian readers will find it interesting"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, probed an Indian mystery during his lifetime and now, it will be told in a new book.
Titled, The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer: Arthur Conan Doyle, George Edalji and the case of the foreigner in the English village, it is set to release in the week commencing March 8, 2021.
It is expected to release in India on March 10, 2021.
Doyle was drawn to investigate a real-life crime that involved a British Indian man.
He had been wrongly accused of a series of mysterious crimes in an English village during the 20th century.
The story of George Edalji, the British Indian barrister, has now come to light.
It has now been told in a new book written by London-based historian-author Shrabani Basu.
She came across the Indian mystery and brought it to life through past records and letters found over the years.
Shrabani said: “I think Indian readers will find it interesting that in 1907, Arthur Conan Doyle responded to a letter by a young Indian lawyer appealing to him for help to clear his name, and he took up the cause.”
Shrabani has previously written the likes of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan and Victoria and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.
“Even Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an 18-year-old student at the time in Harrow School in London, got fascinated with the case and remarked that George had no doubt been targeted because he was Indian.”
The story revolves around several threatening letters and the mutilation of animals.
George Edalji had been in prison for crimes he never committed. He turned to Doyle for help, who believed this mystery was worth his time.
The Sherlock Holmes author diligently put together all pieces of the mystery that led to a conclusion.
He figured that Edalji had been a victim of racism because he was a ‘Hindoo’. All Indians during that era were known by that term.
“What fascinated me was the fact that the only true crime that Arthur Conan Doyle investigated personally was to do with an Indian.
“To me, it was a story that was calling out to be told.
“Like most people, I am a fan of the Sherlock Holmes books and love a mystery.”
The story took place over 100 years ago, yet it resonates with modern-day Britain.
“The more I read the letters and the press coverage at the time, the more it felt that this could be happening now.
“Mistrust of immigrants, the fear of the foreigner, have been issues in Western society for a while now.
“The whole Brexit debate focussed on immigrants from eastern Europe entering the country and taking local jobs.
“Anonymous letters continue today, in the form of hate mail and online trolling.”