A policy researcher, and now author Manish Dubey has always been intrigued by Gurgaon city. More so that it inspired him to write his debut novel, a crime fiction, A Murder in Gurgaon, with the city as the backdrop. Manish, who always had a penchant for crime writing, says, “This is my first work. I would often work from a coffee shop in Qutub Plaza, Gurgaon, where a couple used to visit regularly. One day they stopped coming. Months later, I saw the woman visit the cafe alone. I started imagining what could have happened. And that’s how the book came into being.”
Inspired by Swedish crime authors, Manish wanted his protagonist to be a cop and knowing a few uniform-men in real life helped him shape the character. “Writing about private detectives is comfortable because you are not getting into the mechanics of how the police functions. However, I was keen to show how a police works. I did a fair bit of research on Punjab and Haryana police. The protagonist, inspector Ajay is an honest man, not as brilliant as Sherlock Holmes, who is trying to crack a mystery.”
The cover of the book — A Murder in Gurgaon.
Having set his novel in the city, Manish calls Gurgaon a familiar territory and an enchanting place that has undergone massive transformation in a short span. “From an author’s perspective, who writes crime stories, Gurgaon is a fascinating city. I have been in Gurgaon for the last six years. It was easy to imagine the characters in the city, hanging around at particular places, living, dying and murdering here. As a policy analyst I have realised that Gurgaon as a city has transformed in the last 30 years.”
As a debut author, finding a publisher wasn’t easy for Dubey. He says, “I feel I had not researched well and it did not meet the word count standards, which is apparent in the industry. It’s something I discovered later. When I sent my first draft to the publishers, they said the word count was too little. An average word count for a book is 60 to 70,000, and mine was 38,000. However, it had a certain pace and momentum which is kept intact.”