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Written by heart

It is being touted as the first-ever medical thriller by a South Asian author. Dr Harbhajan Singh Rissam’s debut novel, The Scalpel — Game Beneath takes you inside the world of the medicine mafia.

books Updated: May 23, 2010 00:50 IST
Aakriti Sawhney

It is being touted as the first-ever medical thriller by a South Asian author. Dr Harbhajan Singh Rissam’s debut novel, The Scalpel — Game Beneath takes you inside the world of the medicine mafia.

Dr Rissam has been a cardiologist for the past 35 years. A Padmashree awardee, he says, he had a strong inclination towards literature since childhood, “but it was only in 2006 when I was in France, that I started working on this book.”

With a canvas that spans through continents and cities such as Delhi, Istanbul and New York, The Scalpel has an interesting protagonist in Nona Lal, a young Himalayan princess and uncover investigator of an international law agency, based in Paris (thanks to author’s background in the Himalayan region and his years spent in the French capital).

“On a visit to India, Nona is intrigued by a mysterious character in a five-star hospital. His stealthy walk raises her suspicion. From thereon, she follows him and exposes a criminal-terrorist-medical-mafia nexus,” explains the Delhi-based author.

One of the highlights of the The Scalpel is the mafia of medical tourism. “I have dramatised how medical tourism is now a boon in this country and is being used for all the wrong reasons. Under the garb of medical tourism, people enjoy the best of luxuries as patients. But what if some one’s using it as a front for an anti-social activity?”

Is the book is based on his own experiences in the medical field? “All fictions are based on some facts and then there is the author’s imagination and thoughts that he wants to put across,” he says.

The book will be formally launched on June 3 at the India Habitat Centre. It is available at leading bookstores in Delhi for Rs 195. Publishers: Rupa & Co.