Bengalis really love detectives and adventures.
No wonder there are many, many detectives and adventure characters in Bengali storytelling. Bengali readers have loved these tales since the first magazines were published in the 19th century. In 21st century, detectives are still the most loved heroes.
Here is a humble effort to gather all of the serialized detectives and adventure characters in one list. If we have missed any, do let us all know.
Historically recorded, Nagendranath Gupta wrote the first Bengali ‘whodunit’ story. But the credit for the first proper detective fiction goes to Priyanath Mukhopadhyay for his Darogar Daptor (The Inspector’s office) series. Darogar Daptor hooked Bengalis to detective stories since 1892. That trend is still a hit among Bengali book lovers.
Debendra Bijoy Mitra, Arindam Basu & Gobindaram
Panchkari Dey is most well remembered as being one of the earliest writers in Bengali who serialized detective stories. In his stories, we find stories on three detectives – Debendra Bijoy Mitra, Arindam Basu & Gobindaram. However, most of his tales were heavily influenced by Western stories. For example, Debendra Bijoy Mitra has an adversary named Jumelia, whom Holmes’ fans would easily relate to Irene Adler.
Dinendra Kumar Ray was one of the earliest writers in Bengali who started detective fiction. His detective Robert Blake became a hit of those times. Most of his stories are based in the late 19th century but do not miss these stories if you can grab a copy!
When we speak of Bengali detective stories, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi is one of the foremost. Based primarily during the independence era, the stories are hard hitting and bare the dark side of the human mind. Byomkesh with his friend Ajit makes all Bengalis book worms.
Somewhat the contemporary of Byomkesh but very different from him, Kiriti Roy is quite a dynamic figure with his tall stature and pipe that slightly reflects the style of Holmes. Just like Watson, he has Subrata Roy, his friend in investigation.
His creator Dr. Nihar Ranjan Gupta was a successful dermatologist who continued his childhood dream of writing stories.
Arjun is young and quite intelligent with an analytical mind but his stories are more of adventure than investigation. Once you start reading Samaresh Majumders’ Arjun, you will fall in love with the Jalpaiguri town and the Teesta river.
Arjun generally works alone but he has Major for company and Amal Shome as his mentor.
Colonel Niladri Sarkar
A retired army man, who looks like a grandfather, is an ornithologist and a butterfly collector – he is bound to have interesting tales. He has a journalist companion, Jayanta. Syed Mustafa Siraj’s Colonel stories are quite a different type than Kiriti or Feluda.
From the 1950s till early 1980s, Dipak Chatterjee became quite popular. Dr. Samarendra Nath Pandey wrote the stories of this detective under the pseudonym of Swapan Kumar.
The Calcutta based private investigator Dipak Chatterjee character was quite energetic with action based climax and his stories bordering into science fiction at times. He had his own lab along with his assistant Tandra and his student Rajat. The companion of his adventures is Ratanlal.
Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Kakababu became extremely popular. But with his nephew Sontu, he is more of an adventurer than a detective. The stories are packed with suspense making it a good read.
Sasthipada Chattopadhyay wrote Pandob Goyenda as a childrens’ detective and adventure tales. It is loosely based on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.
Well known writer Suchitra Bhattacharya’s Mitin Mashi is the female Bengali detective. Pragyaparamita Mukherjee lives with her family in Kolkata. More popularly she is known as Mitinmashi, a private detective by profession. She has her own sidekick Tupur, who is also her niece.
Jayanta – Manik & Bimal – Kumar
Not many remember Hemendra Kumar Roy nowadays, but he is one of the most admired writers in Bengali storytelling. Jayanta and Manik were his popular characters for detective stories which became extremely popular. Equally loved was the adventurous pair of Bimal and Kumar. Hemendra Kumar Roy was a master of many arts and his contribution towards culture and theatre is unforgettable.
Shabar Dasgupta, Goyenda Bordachoron & Fatik
We know Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay best for his amazing and amusing bhooter golpo (ghost story). Shabar Dasgupta is his Lalbazar cop-cum-detective. Like all his creations, sense of humour is a must in this character with intelligence and diligence.
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is also the creator of Fatik and Goyenda Bordachoron. We wish the author keeps on giving us more and more fantastic stories.
Bankaullah’s Dophtor or The Inspector’s Files was written by Kaliprasanna Chattopadhyay. This is not a true detective story but a collection of 12 cases of Inspector Bankaullah. It is surmised that the stories are factual based on an actual police officer.
Related: Films based on true stories
Sasadhar Datta created a very unique sleuth, Mohon. Mohon was actually a ‘good’ dacoit (like Devi Choudhurani) and an amateur detective who would make his own investigations. More than 200 stories have been written by Sasadhar Datta on Mohon.
P.K. Basu & Sherlock Hebo
Narayan Sanyal also created a detective based on Western characters. His character P.K. Basu (Prasanna Kumar Basu) is actually a barrister in Calcutta High Court whose analytical faculties and high intelligence make him a wonderful and very interesting detective at heart.
His anpther detective character, Sherlock Hebo is about the adventures of a boy. The amusing ‘investigation’ stories are meant for children and young readers.
Nalini Das created a unique quartet of detectives called Goyenda Gondalu. Kalu, Malu, Bulu and Tulu – the four Lus – are four girls who study in the same school who have days full of adventure and mysteries. The stories were regularly published in Sandesh with illustrations made by Satyajit Ray.
Prodosh Chandra Mitter
ABCD Feluda – a name that would set many hearts racing. How many afternoons did you spend reading his stories? How many times did you want to become a private investigator like him?
We love Feluda as much as we love his team – with his sidekick Topshe and the inimitable Lal Mohan Babu. Thanks to Satyajit Ray for his wonderful creations.
Thanks to all these authors who have captured our imagination and hearts with their amazing detectives and adventurers!