Sunday, November 15, 2015

Detective Mili Ray

 Welcome, Detective Mili Ray

Detective Ray is here to stay, says content specialist Moitrayee Bhaduri, who makes her debut as an author with The Sinister Silence. She talks about her protagonist Mili Ray, her fondness for Jane Marple and other inspirations

What led you to choose this genre of writing? Who/what are some of your favourite crime-fiction authors/works?

I always enjoyed reading crime thrillers, especially murder mysteries. I love epic characters like Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi. Since I wanted to read more Indian detective stories with women protagonists, I decided to write one. My favourite crime fiction authors are Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Favourite works: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling).

A badass lady-cop-turned-sleuth makes for an interesting protagonist. What inspired you to imagine your protagonist as a woman? Can we expect literary throwbacks to Ms Marple, or is she, Mili Ray, more hands-on, actively on-site?

All through my professional career, I have met and admired strong and decisive women who excel in their chosen profession: Software engineer, actor, domestic help, photographer, pilot, doctor, author, musician, homemaker, etc. I created my protagonist – private detective Mili Ray – keeping in mind the qualities that women identify with or admire. Mili Ray is not a superwoman, but she makes a difference with her intelligence and courage. She has an uncanny ability to solve twisted cases.

Mili Ray is young, physically strong and professionally trained, unlike the legendary Miss Marple – who was a natural. I wish Christie had written more Marple mysteries. Jane Marple is my all-time favourite detective character.

Your novel is set in your real-life professional terrain, the IT industry. How fun was it blending fact with fiction? How did the title come about?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book. This is a work of fiction though IT professionals will be able to relate to Zarine Software and its employees. When I started this book, it was meant to be a short love story titled 'Silenced'. Then all of a sudden, I killed one character. The way my other characters reacted to this murder made me want to revisit the story. That's how the plot turned sinister and the book became a murder mystery. Thus the title, The Sinister Silence.

From studying the arts to venturing into IT… was it a conscious decision to preserve the writing bug as hobby on the side?

Absolutely! In fact, I have always been a writer. I started as a content writer, then explored technical writing, proposal writing etc. When I left my job at IBM to complete this book, I was managing a team of writers and designers. So writing has always been close to my heart.

Any upcoming projects? Can we expect Mili Ray to stick around to solve some more contemporary urban mysteries?

Oh yes, certainly! I have already started writing Mili Ray’s second case, tentatively titled The Musical Murders. There are more in the pipeline. Detective Ray is here to stay.

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