Nobody Lights a Candle


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‘A searing read that reminds us all that it is caste which often decides where our sympathies lie. I have never read a description of a postmortem as brutal and honest as the one described here.’—Jerry Pinto

The day after Holi. Former SHO Adhirath Jatav, recently dismissed from the Delhi Police, happens upon a murder—the body of a young woman, her insides split open, is found inside a farmhouse on the outskirts of New Delhi. A chance encounter with the woman’s mother clears some mystery—she was from a neighbouring village, a beautician and a presumed prostitute, with a string of fake names. Her poverty and social status had made her an outcast— her death is considered not a tragedy but an inconvenience.

While the police investigate half-heartedly, Adhirath finds himself drawn to the case. He feels a connection with this woman who, much like him and his ‘untouchable’ wife, had had to claw her way through life to secure a place for herself in society. Over time, Adhirath grows protective of the dead woman— her reputation and her dignity—and determined to find her killer.

Translated from the Hindi original—HatyaNobody Lights a Candle is a precise and nuanced meditation on the persistence of age-old biases and structural violence in a deeply unequal country. As sensitive, even tender, as it is hardhitting, this is a gripping read—crime fiction with heart and purpose.

Author's Name
ImprintSpeaking Tiger


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