A world of sex, sin and sleuths stuffed into pocket novels

Crime novels were all the rage once upon a time in Tamil Nadu and could be found in every household. | Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

A spooky night. A cold-blooded murder. A hard-boiled detective peeling off a revenge plot. A long chase and finally a climax with a moral. Add to this, a fleetingly appearing ghost and a dash of romance and sleaze — and you have a crime novel in your hands.

It was all that one needed to while away a hot summer vacation or to survive a long train journey. Crime novels were all the rage once upon a time in Tamil Nadu and could be found in every household. Of these, one or two would definitely be pocket novels — small publications in the size of a smartphone that could easily fit into a trouser pocket.

“In the 80s, there used be more than 40 novels every month.......

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