Decoding Society through Crime: An Insightful Chat with Anita Nair, Creator of Inspector Gowda Series

In this exclusive interview, Nair shares insights into her creative process, the genesis of her flawed yet relatable protagonist, and the meticulous research that lends authenticity to her crime fiction.

In the vibrant streets of Bangalore, Anita Nair spins a narrative that mirrors the intricacies of 21st-century society. Renowned for her Inspector Gowda series, Nair takes readers on a riveting journey through the city’s bustling landscapes, unraveling crimes intertwined with political intrigue, land disputes, and broader societal issues. In this exclusive interview, Nair shares insights into her creative process, the genesis of her flawed yet relatable protagonist, and the meticulous research that lends authenticity to her crime fiction.

Hot Stage by Anita Nair Book Cover

Navigating Societal Complexities

At the core of Nair’s recent novel, “Hot Stage,” is a political murder that unfurls a web of motives involving prominent citizens in Bangalore. Nair asserts that the Gowda series transcends traditional crime narratives, offering a reflection of the evolving city. “With ‘Hot Stage,’ I intended to use political murder and the land mafia angle as red herrings to lead to the real crime,” she reveals. This storytelling technique allows her to weave in social commentary, delving into issues such as corruption, power, bribery, and environmental concerns, offering readers a profound exploration of the human condition.

Anita Nair

Flawed Protagonist: A Glimpse into the Human Psyche

Assistant Commissioner of Police Borei Gowda, the flawed and relatable protagonist of the series, plays a pivotal role in Nair’s exploration of the darker aspects of the human psyche. She highlights the necessity for a perspective capable of delving into the twisted strands of darkness within the human mind. “A well-adjusted character will not be able to understand the complexities of criminal thinking,” she notes. The contradiction of a flawed man working on the right side of the law adds layers to the narrative, making it both intriguing and challenging.

Police Procedural Dynamics and Team Building

Unlike conventional crime novels with private detectives, Nair chose to spotlight law enforcement. The decision was not deliberate but a consequence of her initial imagery—an image of a man in a police uniform on a motorbike. Extensive research into law enforcement procedures was imperative, leading to the formation of a core team for ACP Borei Gowda over the three books. Nair believes that the best investigative teams are formed by individuals who have worked together and understand how to bring out the best in each other.

Decoding Titles and Significance of “Hot Stage”

The titles of Nair’s novels often feature law enforcement terms less known to the general public. “Hot Stage,” in particular, refers to a forensic technique used in evaluating glass particles found at a crime scene. Nair finds the term rich with possibilities, reflecting the evidence leading to the scene of the crime, the breakthrough in the investigation, and the figurative hot stage where the crime occurs.

Anita Nair

Balancing Societal Issues within the Narrative

In “Hot Stage,” Nair skillfully balances various societal issues such as corruption, power, bribery, and environmental concerns. Crime fiction, she argues, is uniquely positioned to depict the consequences of these issues on individuals and society. Through the lens of crime, Nair offers readers a reflection on contemporary society, urging them to contemplate the impact of corruption, power dynamics, and human greed.

Religion and Rational Viewpoints in Crime Fiction

Nair incorporates liberal and rational viewpoints, particularly on religion, within her crime fiction. In the current socio-political climate, where religion has become a divisive political tool, Nair sees it as her responsibility to depict this reality. In “Hot Stage,” she seamlessly integrates religious angles into the plot, using it as a tool to further explore societal divisions.

Authenticity in Police Procedural Techniques

The meticulous portrayal of police procedural techniques in “Hot Stage” required extensive research and firsthand experiences. Nair spent countless hours visiting police stations, speaking to officers from different ranks, and immersing herself in the details of crime investigations. The result is a narrative that authentically captures the nuances of law enforcement and forensic processes.

Crafting Pacing in Crime Thrillers

Maintaining reader engagement throughout a crime thriller is no small feat. Nair emphasizes the importance of meticulous planning and clarity of thought. A good crime novel, she contends, needs to be taut and well-structured. For Nair, the key lies in hard work and a deep understanding of the nature of the crime and its impact on the narrative.

Advice for Budding Female Authors

Known for her unique humanistic viewpoint and social consciousness, Nair has two pieces of advice for budding female authors: read extensively and widely, without being a literary snob, and write honestly. She encourages aspiring writers to write because words and ideas enthrall them, not merely to follow trends.

Nair’s Favorite Reads of 2023

“Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver and “Victory City” by Salman Rushdie stand out as Nair’s favorite reads of 2023. She applauds both writers as master storytellers who continue to surprise her with every book.

In conclusion, Anita Nair’s Inspector Gowda series stands as a testament to her ability to intertwine crime fiction with social commentary, offering readers a thought-provoking exploration of contemporary societal issues. Through the lens of her flawed protagonist and meticulous storytelling, Nair invites readers to navigate the complex web of crime and society, challenging them to reflect on the world around them.

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