Shanker Lal
Created by Tamil Vanan

The United States was certainly not the only country to have a pulp fiction explosion. In the forties, the libraries of the Indian province of Tamil were crammed with "thuppariyum kathaigal" (detective stories) which caught the attention of thousands of readers. And one of the most popular series featured SHANKER LAL, a Tamil private detective. Shanker was prone to drinking copius amounts of tea when he was on a case.

In true pulp tradition, no villain ever escaped his clutches, and more than one of his intallments would end in a cliffhanger. According to Indian columnist V. Gangadhar, who has fond memories of the character, Lal's creator, Tamil Vanan was "a master in leading you towards a thrilling climax, before letting you down with a thump. And he did this again and again...The books were pure fantasy. But I was only eight or nine then, and did not need the help of a psychiatrist to follow them."

Tamil Vanan also founded and edited a magazine called Kalkandu, which often serialized Lal's cases.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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