The Book Hunters of Katpadi by Pradeep Sebastian - A Bibliomystery
Nothing gives more pleasure to a bibliophile than holding a beautiful hardback jacketed book, and when the book is also a pleasure to read... that is just cherry on top of a lovely cake!
The Book Hunters of Katpadi is Pradeep Sebastian's first novel, a bibliomystery , a genre, yet to be explored on a greater level, here in India. The Book Hunters, tells stories, many different ones, encompassing various subjects and times, put together in one book.
The book starts off with a cute little antiquarian book shop called 'Biblio' based in modern day Chennai, India, run by two women, Neela and Kayal. Together, they look for rare books, first editions, lost prints of books that would make a true bibliophile dance with joy. When entrusted by a well known bibliophile, to assist him in evaluating a rare manuscript, they find themselves uncovering mysteries of the bygone era that have baffled many in the book collecting world. The book transports you back in time to the British Raj, the Victorian era and decades gone by. The writing is simple, yet classy and shows the immense knowledge that the author possess on the subject. Beware, it may be intimidating at beginning, technical to say the least, but the story is gripping and keeps you wanting to know more.
The fact that the book has been written with great passion is evident. Sebastian has tried to give the lay man enough knowledge and background about the books, their printing, the binding and what makes them rare. Sebastian has also explained how antiquarian books are collected and the market that exists around these rarities.This is important to know and can sometimes digress from the main storyline. But for those interested to know, this is a treat. A lot on the topic has been covered and story progresses in the six parts of the book.
Coming to the book that you hold in your hand, it is a beautiful piece in itself. With interesting illustrations, and the font used in the printing, which has to be given a special mention, as it is a sight for sore eyes, makes reading this one a pleasure. Like the content that takes you back in time, the jacket cover with gold, green and white will remind you of the summer afternoons when you scouted the old library in town and eventually picked a book that felt good to hold.
Bibliomystery is a very interesting genre, and given the vast and strong history that we possess, I am sure there is tremendous scope for writing and discovering in this field.
P.S. The next time you come across an old book in a book shelf long forgotten, remind yourself to check it, you never know the value of what you maybe holding!
The Book Hunters of Katpadi: A Bibliomystery is available on Amazon.in