Today marks the birth centenary of renowned filmmaker and author Satyajit Ray. Among all his popular characters, Feluda holds a special place in the hearts of many young readers. Growing up outside Bangladesh, I was fond of reading about his English counterparts, through authors such as Enid Blyton, Carolyn Keene, and of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Over time, mystery became one of my favourite genres. After returning to Bangladesh, I finally picked up Feluda novels, and began exploring a fantastic, mysterious world, as this young man, along with his sidekicks Topshe and Jatayu, solved some of the biggest crimes of his time. On the occasion of Ray's birth centenary, I look back at five of my favourite Feluda stories.
Joy Baba Felunath
Set in Benares, this story follows Feluda, Topshe, and Jatayu, as they visit the city for Durga Puja celebrations. Upon their arrival, they stumble upon the theft of a Ganesh idol and begin investigating the case. I found the story intriguing due to the overall atmosphere of uncertainty throughout. Right from a wealthy and sly businessman to a fake saint, the range of suspects is amusing. What seems like a search for a stolen idol transforms into a larger problem, as it involves the murder of an innocent, old man.
This story revolves around a schoolboy, Mukul, who claims to remember events from his previous life, attracting the attention of everyone. In an attempt to treat him, his parapsychologist takes him on a trip to Rajasthan, the state famous for its forts. The trio, Feluda, Topshe and Jatayu, arrive after a failed kidnapping attempt and intend to save the boy from the imposters, who wish to capture the treasure hidden in the palace. This book is a refreshing read mainly because of the unique plot, and the twist at the end.
During their trip to Lucknow, Feluda and Topshe engage in an investigation to find the person who attempted burglary at one of their acquaintance's place. A ring goes missing in this story, setting off a series of unfortunate events, involving a labyrinth, poisonous creatures and threats. I could not detect the criminal right till the end, and it was an amusing read.
Royal Bengal Rahasya
In this thrilling story, Feluda and Topshe visit a forest near Bhutan, in order to help their host crack a riddle leading to an ancestral treasure. Things turn scary when they come across a mysterious death and rumours about a man-eating tiger. What sets this story apart is the inclusion of a riddle in the plot. As they investigate the death, they realise that the riddle has been solved and discover the dark secrets of their host's family. This story also provides a tint of adventure, as Feluda kills a tiger during his search.
The story revolves around the murder of a businessman and the theft of a precious statue. Upon arriving in Gangtok for their summer break, Feluda and Topshe come across Bose, the deceased's business partner. Over the course of their stay, Feluda begins investigating the matter, discovering three new characters in the process. I loved this story mainly because of the diverse set of characters, including the lost son of the deceased. As the mystery begins to unwind, the impostors are identified and the culprit is caught.
The author is a freelance journalist who likes reading, planning, and scribbling. Write to her at email@example.com.