Interview: Vaseem Khan on elephants, India, and the fourth book in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series
Vaseem Khan is author of the crime series Baby Ganesh Detective Agency. The novels are set in Mumbai, India and the detective on the case is accompanied by a baby elephant!
We were as curious to find out more as you are, so we spoke to Vaseem Khan about his portrayal of modern India, the book he’d recommend to anyone, how his love of elephants began, and much more.
Listen to the highlights of the interview below:
On the lead character in his series:
“And so, like any self-respecting crime fighter, he decides to set off on his own and solve the mystery anyway.”
On why he decided to set the series in India, and why elephants had to be part of the cast:
“I saw lepers and beggars, and it’s not the kind of thing you routinely see in the east end of London where I grew up.”
On how research wasn’t the main way he learnt about elephants:
“For everybody else it was just normal course of business, but for me, of course, it was magnificent.”
On the portrayal of India in his books:
“One of the things that I’ve tried to do is not shy away from showing this new India, where you’ve got all of this wealth contrasted with the vast inequalities that we see.”
On getting to know the Indian police force:
“It unfortunately has a reputation for being corrupt.”
On how working at University College London in the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science is really useful:
“I’m currently working on a short story in the series which begins with a man who’s been burnt alive.”
On the book he’d pick to get people interested in reading:
“What struck me was, one, how brilliantly written is was, because it made me laugh out loud on every day – and you shoudn’t really be saying that about a book about cancer.”
On how he finally got a novel published:
“And, you know, I was furious. I thought that this agent was keeping the world from my literary genius.”
On his favourite crime series:
“Having read sort of twenty books in the series, I almost feel like I’ve been to Los Angeles.”
On the fourth book in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series:
“[It’s] an Agatha Christie-style mystery where he uncovers a number of suspects around the hotel and then he has to call them together and try to unmask the culprit based on the clues that he’s discovered. I say Agatha Christie, but, of course, she wasn’t so liberal in her use of elephants.”
Thanks to Vaseem Khan for speaking to us!
Listening Books members can borrow book 1 in the series, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, and book 2, The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, on MP3 CD.
To find out more about Vaseem Khan check out his website.
This article was written by Holly Newson. The interview was done by Abigail Jaggers.
Picture credit: Nirupama Khan; Vaseemkhan1