14 Books Based on Indian Mystery Places

list of books based on indian mystery places
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Team P3 curates a list of Indian mystery places explored in books by writers that are a MUST-READ for every mystery lover!

Mysteries are interesting, little things. An observation that doesn’t make sense, a dialogue whose meaning you can’t decipher, a story that keeps you awake at night. Or a place that harbors secrets of all colors and flavors. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of these places.

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It might be the whispering valleys of Mussoorie or the murders and hauntings of Malabar Hill. Here and there, we also look at mysteries holding a strong relevance in our lives, the Ayodhya dispute for instance. Without any more trudging around, hop along the ride, then?

Love Mystery? Check out Translated Mystery Books: 12 Gems you should not miss!

Books Based on Indian Mystery Places

Blood Island: An Oral History of the Marichjhapi Massacre

Title: Blood Island: An Oral History of the Marichjhapi Massacre

Author: Deep Haider

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 314

Pages: 192


Topping our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this brilliant read.

This is an eye-opening account of a dark chapter in post-independent India’s history. Haider sheds light on this barely known tragedy that unfolded on the remote Marichjhapi island in 1979. Stitching together interviews, survivor testimonies, historical records, and government accounts, the book reconstructs the transpired events. It’s a grim tale of around 1.5 lakh Hindu refugees, primarily from lower castes, seeking shelter on the island in the Sundarbans.

The book raises questions about the accountability of governments and the veracity of official accounts, particularly in cases of atrocities. Through research and interviews where he gives voice to the voiceless, Halder challenges the prevailing narrative that downplays the scale of the massacre. The writing is engaging and empathetic trying to look at and understand the many factors that went behind this massacre. A seminal work of investigative journalism and historical documentation, the book must be read by one and all. 

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A Murder on Malabar Hill

Title: A Murder on Malabar Hill

Author: Sujata Massey

Publisher: Penguin

Price: 301

Pages: 440


A historical mystery set in the complex world of 1921 Bombay, this novel examines gender, class, and cultural dynamics in colonial India. In a transitioning society, we meet the trailblazing Perveen Mistry, one of India’s first female lawyers. Combining elements of a legal drama and a classic whodunit, the book keeps you hooked until that last page. 

Massey’s characterisation of Perveen Mistry is on point as we also see her inner struggles and determination to challenge the patriarchal norms of society. Appointed to execute the will of a wealthy mill owner, she gets suspicious when it’s apparent that his three widows will soon be disinherited. But when tensions lead to a murder, things would get a lot more complicated. 

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The Bangalore Detectives Club

Title: The Bangalore Detectives Club

Author: Harini Nagendra

Publisher: Constable

Price: 308

Pages: 304


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

With a culturally rich 1920s Bangalore as the backdrop, The Bangalore Detectives Club is an enthralling novel filled with a cast of intriguing characters. Kaveri, a young woman, recently moved to Bangalore to start a new life with her husband. Anticipating a quiet and ordinary existence, it’s all thrown out the window when a seemingly innocuous garden party is disrupted by a murder. 

It would be up to Kaveri’s observational skills and mathematical background to save the day. With lush writing and a compelling backdrop, Harini keeps you guessing with the twists and turns of the story. As Kaveri follows the clues and the trail it creates, it leads her through the Bangalore alleyways, also depicting the secrets and complexities of colonial India. The first part of a thrilling series, it leaves you wanting to come back for more. 

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Murder in Old Bombay

Title: Murder in Old Bombay

Author: Nev March

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 252

Pages: 396


Another historical mystery is at hand! This is 19th-century Bombay in a story where culture and crime converge. It’s the British India of 1892, where we meet Captain Jim Agnihotri, who’s wounded and recovering in the Poona military hospital. Reading his favorite Sherlock Holmes mysteries, he soon gets embroiled in a mystery himself when two women fall from the university’s clock tower in broad daylight. 

He’ll use all his abilities and detection skills to go behind the seemingly suicidal incident and find out if there’s more to it than meets the eye. Jim is a fascinating character in himself. Reminiscent of old-school crime mysteries, the book is deliciously Indian at the same time. Based on true events, the story is a journey through history and time, drawing and immersing you through its detail. For fans of historical fiction and murder mysteries, this is a book to savor. 


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Ayodhya: The Dark Night - The Secret History of Rama’s Appearance in Babri Masjid

Title: Ayodhya: The Dark Night - The Secret History of Rama’s Appearance in Babri Masjid

Author: Krishna Jha & Dhirendra K. Jha

Publisher: HarperCollins

Price: 335

Pages: 224


Lord Rama’s idol didn’t appear magically after the night of 22nd December 1949, as was claimed by many Hindu right-wing organizations. Leading up to the unfortunate Babri Masjid about four decades later, the incident was a turning point in Indian history and politics. Through this book, Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K. Jha highlight the existing contexts of that era. From the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi to the execution of the Ayodhya strategy, the book shows how a narrative was created and enforced to create a tragedy that would last for decades to come, promoting polarisation and societal discord. 

The book paints a picture of the people, motivations, and forces at play during that controversial period. It depicts the roles played by individuals and organizations, including the Hindu Mahasabha, in placing the idol in the mosque. If you’re interested in the Ayodhya dispute, Indian politics, or the broader context of religious and cultural tensions, this book offers fresh insights and prompts reflection on a pivotal moment in India’s past.

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Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa

Title: Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa

Author: Jessica Faleiro

Publisher: Rupa & Co

Price: 216

Pages: 168


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

Afterlife: Ghost Stories From Goa has a family gathering in Goa at its center, around which a complex story filled with family secrets and hidden desires is brought to life. On the occasion of Savio Fonseca’s 75th birthday celebration, his daughters Joanna and Carol, along with his son-in-law Sam, reunite with their other family members in the ancestral Carvalho mansion. After a power outage, the family starts sharing ghost stories passed down through generations.

These tales are all rooted in the Fonseca family’s history, showing their hopes, dreams, and idiosyncrasies. The stories range from mysterious sightings and magical spells to lonely buildings, creating an atmosphere of suspense and mystery. If you love reading classic horror or watching old horror movies, this collection would be right up your alley.

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Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills

Title: Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills

Author: Minakshi Chaudhry

Publisher: Rupa

Price: 199

Pages: 158


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

A spine-tingling collection from the picturesque hills of Shimla is up next. Through the voices of its local residents, this book compiles supernatural events and encounters with spirits that are a part of the region’s folklore. In the valleys of Shimla, darkness and secrets have plenty of space and corners to hide. And hide they shall! With its colonial history and misty hills, Shimla ceases to be just a backdrop, for it becomes a character in itself. 

The descriptions of the landscape and the atmosphere highlight the region’s haunting beauty. Each story is an unexplained mystery and adventure, from ghostly apparitions to phenomena that defy rational explanation. As the stories are accounts shared by the residents, it lends them an air of credibility, making the book all the more eerie. It taps into the universal curiosity about the supernatural while highlighting the beliefs, traditions, and folklore shaping the lives of the Shimla residents.

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Enigmas of Karnataka: Mystery Meets History

Title: Enigmas of Karnataka: Mystery Meets History

Author: S. Shyam Prasad

Publisher: Notion Press

Price: 197

Pages: 84


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

Facts and legends intertwine here through the insights of scholars as Shyam Prasad tries to understand and explain the hidden truths behind the myths and legends of the state’s historical landscape. With questions that challenge established historical narratives, the book is riveting, to say the least. From the tales of the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana to the stories of the Wodeyars and the mysteries surrounding landmarks like Jakanacharai and the Gommateshwara statue, you have plenty to find here. 

The book encourages you to examine the historical accounts and legends critically passed down through generations. It showcases the biases and omissions marring Indian history’s construction. It’s also a reminder of how the agendas and perspectives of the recorder shape history. The book makes you rethink your understanding of history and confront the ambiguity arising from the blending of myth and reality.

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Devi: Mystery of the Calcutta Murders

Title: Devi: Mystery of the Calcutta Murders

Author: Prasun Roy

Publisher: Rupa Publications India

Price: 269

Pages: 232


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

A series of baffling murders and the pursuit of a cunning and elusive killer with the backdrop of the grand Durga Puja festival in Calcutta is what this story’s all about. There’s an impending extradition of fugitive business tycoon Durgacharan Mahesh, en route to India from Spain, making a stop in Kolkata before reaching Mumbai. But three days before his arrival, the gruesome murder of his brother-in-law starts a chain of chilling and ritualistic murders, each coinciding with a day of Durga Puja. 

The killer’s signature: the word ‘DEVI’ written in blood. As the bodies pile up and clues become more cryptic, the suspense keeps on increasing. There are elements of traditional Indian rituals and mythology perfectly juxtaposed with this modern-day crime thriller for a creative voyage into the unknown. With unforgettable characters and a unique plot, this makes for an enthralling read. 

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India’s Most Haunted

Title: India’s Most Haunted

Author: K. Hari Kumar

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 399

Pages: 340


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

Travel from one haunted place to another. Shifting through the haunted sites of India, the book explores the supernatural world. You see Bhangarh Fort in one story and the Malabar Hill’s Tower of Silence in another. The factual nature of these stories creates a more eerie experience, bringing out the fear and mysteries that lurk in these spots. Kumar’s writing style adds more dread to these already chilling stories as they haunt you with every page and site. 

There’s a historical exploration of these sites as well as firsthand accounts included here. The adage of truth being stranger than fiction is rarely more apparent than when you read these ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena. There’s a generous amount of unnerving folklore in these pages too! All in all, regardless of your interest levels and curiosity about real-life stories, you’ll enjoy this collection!

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The Secret-Keeper of Jaipur

Title: The Secret-Keeper of Jaipur

Author: Alka Joshi

Publisher: HarperCollins

Price: 324

Pages: 352


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

The story is set in 1969 Jaipur, where the henna artist (from the first novel of the same series) Lakshmi’s son, Malik, is an apprentice at Jaipur’s Royal Palace. His latest project is a state-of-the-art cinema in the city. But when the balcony disintegrates on the very first day, Malik knows there’s something more at play here. Power and wealth flow freely through the city, and it would be up to Malik to go behind the scenes and find out the truth.

It would be up to him to unravel the layers of lies and deceit that surround the project and the city with forces that would go to any lengths to stop him, once and for all. Jaipur is a character in its own right here, with its palaces and characters hiding secrets aplenty. Joshi shows the city in all its colors and sounds, with themes of family and tradition interspersing the story. The spotlight shifts from Lakshmi to her son here, and his character development is exquisitely done throughout the book. 

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Midnight at Malabar House

Title: Midnight at Malabar House

Author: Vaseem Khan

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

Price: 863

Pages: 336


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

A newly independent country and a mysterious city: a perfect recipe for a juicy crime thriller! Inspector Persis Wadia is the country’s first female detective, determined to wade through the societal norms and gender bias favoured against her. It’s 1949 New Year’s Eve when Persis receives a call reporting a murder. The English diplomat is dead, and she’s in the middle of a case that would test everything.

Khan doesn’t just tell an intriguing crime story, he also shows a transitioning nation and society as India prepares to become a republic. The descriptions of the region and era create the perfect atmosphere for this thriller to take wings. Change is the order of the day, but how do you keep fighting the society at large while also solving a murder? Only time will tell. The beginning of an incredible series, the book is a seamless blend of historical fiction and mystery.

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The Hyderabad Heist: The Untold Story of India’s Biggest Museum Heist

Title: The Hyderabad Heist: The Untold Story of India’s Biggest Museum Heist

Author: Sharmishtha Shenoy

Publisher: Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd

Price: 299

Pages: 216


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

It’s time to move back to reality with The Hyderabad Heist! A multimillion-dollar theft at the Nizam’s Museum is the trigger behind this suspenseful story. In 2018, when this robbery happened, it wasn’t just seen as a monetary loss but an assault on India’s and Hyderabad’s culture and history. Emeralds, diamonds, and rubies were all gone in one day as the prince personally requested the Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar to head the investigation. Hundreds of police officers were deployed on the field, trying to catch the culprits. 

Shenoy narrates the events in detail, showing the challenges and questions that plagued the police department and how the chase for the culprits began and culminated. A true-crime story that removes all the secrets and mysteries from this case, the book balances its facts with some riveting writing that keeps you coming back for more. 

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A Mussoorie Mystery

Title: A Mussoorie Mystery

Author: Ruskin Bond

Publisher: Rupa Publications India

Price: 196

Pages: 167


Next our list of books on Indian Mystery Places is this amazing read.

One of the most beloved Indian writers of all times, Ruskin Bond’s stories and mysterious places go hand in hand! If you’re an avid reader of his books, you’ll know why. There’s a certain playfulness with which he tells you his stories with the collection depicting the valleys of Mussoorie in all their glory (and secrets!). 

In this compilation, he’s brought together an eclectic bunch of stories from literary stalwarts. An amalgamation of genres, the book is as much about the characters as the streets and places they inhabit. From the whimsical and humorous to the scary and suspenseful, each story is unique and leaves a lasting impression. 

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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