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The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer

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In the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, someone is mutilating horses. Someone is also sending threatening letters to the vicarage, where the vicar, Shahpur Edalji, is a Parsi convert to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. His son George – quiet, socially awkward and the only boy at school with distinctly Indian features – grows up into a In the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, someone is mutilating horses. Someone is also sending threatening letters to the vicarage, where the vicar, Shahpur Edalji, is a Parsi convert to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. His son George – quiet, socially awkward and the only boy at school with distinctly Indian features – grows up into a successful barrister, till he is improbably linked to and then prosecuted for the above crimes in a case that left many convinced that justice hadn't been served. When he is released early, his conviction still hangs over him. Having lost faith in the police and the legal system, George Edalji turns to the one man he believes can clear his name – the one whose novels he spent his time reading in prison, the creator of the world's greatest detective. When he writes to Arthur Conan Doyle asking him to meet, Conan Doyle agrees. From the author of Victoria and Abdul comes an eye-opening look at race and an unexpected friendship in the early days of the twentieth century, and the perils of being foreign in a country built on empire.


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In the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, someone is mutilating horses. Someone is also sending threatening letters to the vicarage, where the vicar, Shahpur Edalji, is a Parsi convert to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. His son George – quiet, socially awkward and the only boy at school with distinctly Indian features – grows up into a In the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, someone is mutilating horses. Someone is also sending threatening letters to the vicarage, where the vicar, Shahpur Edalji, is a Parsi convert to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. His son George – quiet, socially awkward and the only boy at school with distinctly Indian features – grows up into a successful barrister, till he is improbably linked to and then prosecuted for the above crimes in a case that left many convinced that justice hadn't been served. When he is released early, his conviction still hangs over him. Having lost faith in the police and the legal system, George Edalji turns to the one man he believes can clear his name – the one whose novels he spent his time reading in prison, the creator of the world's greatest detective. When he writes to Arthur Conan Doyle asking him to meet, Conan Doyle agrees. From the author of Victoria and Abdul comes an eye-opening look at race and an unexpected friendship in the early days of the twentieth century, and the perils of being foreign in a country built on empire.

53 review for The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer

  1. 5 out of 5

    bookish_mind

    The story revolves around Shapurji Edalji who was sent to bombay to pursue his education. After completing his education he left his motherland and settled in England. Very soon he became Vicar of The Great Wyrley. His son George became a successful lawyer. He lived a normal until he was improbably linked to a crime. He lost faith in police and law, he turned to the only man he believes who can clear his name, Arthur Conan Doyle. He writes to him and asks for help. He agrees to meet him. Will Au The story revolves around Shapurji Edalji who was sent to bombay to pursue his education. After completing his education he left his motherland and settled in England. Very soon he became Vicar of The Great Wyrley. His son George became a successful lawyer. He lived a normal until he was improbably linked to a crime. He lost faith in police and law, he turned to the only man he believes who can clear his name, Arthur Conan Doyle. He writes to him and asks for help. He agrees to meet him. Will Authur Conan Doyle help George? Will he be able to clear his name clear? If yes then how? To know more about the book and get answers to these questions go and grab your copy now! What i most loved about this book is that it is a non- fiction thriller, it is based on archival research💙 Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement makes it more interesting to read😍 Definitely a Must Read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Md Akhlaq

    With the establishment of British trading posts at Surat and elsewhere in the early 17th century, the Parsis’ circumstances altered radically, for they were in some ways more receptive of European influence than the Hindus or Muslims and they developed a flair for commerce. Bombay came under the control of the East India Company in 1668, and, since complete religious toleration was decreed soon afterwards, the Parsis from Gujarat began to settle there. The expansion of the city in the 18th centu With the establishment of British trading posts at Surat and elsewhere in the early 17th century, the Parsis’ circumstances altered radically, for they were in some ways more receptive of European influence than the Hindus or Muslims and they developed a flair for commerce. Bombay came under the control of the East India Company in 1668, and, since complete religious toleration was decreed soon afterwards, the Parsis from Gujarat began to settle there. The expansion of the city in the 18th century owed largely to their industry and ability as merchants. By the 19th century, they were manifestly a wealthy community, and from about 1850 onward they had considerable success in heavy industries, particularly those connected with railways and shipbuilding. The story drifts from George Edalji's turbulent voyage. George Edalji, son of the Vicar, Shapurji Edalji; Who was the first Parsi converted to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. The Parsi community always had given importance to education. In furtherance of this Doralji’s admitted his son to the leading college of the day ( Elphinstone College ) in Bombay for acquiring quality education. However, Doralji was unaware of his internal changes toward his religion. S. Edalji was attracted to Christianity and baptized in 1856. Doralii hoped that Shapurji - receiving the best education in Bombay would eventually join the legal profession or the family business. When he sent his son to Elphinstone College, he would never have imagined that he would choose a different path. His son George - quiet, socially awkward and the only boy at school with distinctly Indian features - grows up into a successful barrister. Later on, George was prosecuted under a false case. Mere his social disposition and Indian features came to be the primary superficial facet to call him a criminal. When he is released early, his conviction still hangs over him. Having lost faith in the police and the legal system, George Edalji turns to the one man he believes can clear his name - the one whose novels he spent his time reading in prison, the creator of the world's greatest detective. When he writes to Arthur Conan Doyle asking him to meet, Conan Doyle agrees. This is the engaging and obsessive story of friendship, racism, history and the justice system. Also, Arthur C. Doyle's involvement in the investigation of this mysterious case is another precious dimension of this book. This is an in-depth case analysis that provides important insight and illuminates interesting facts. Every page of this non-fiction crime book is enriched with astonishing mysteries. Sharbani's skill of writing is magnetic. I loved it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Moumita

    How many of you aware of history of Parsis in India? How could you react if you came to know that the creator of great detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle investigated the India-origin Parsi family’s case ?? Parsi community always had given priority and importance to the education irrespective of gender. As a result we had gotten our first female advocate in India, Cornelia Sorabji. So there was no exception happened with D. Edalji’s son Shapurji Edalji. He sent his son to best colle How many of you aware of history of Parsis in India? How could you react if you came to know that the creator of great detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle investigated the India-origin Parsi family’s case ?? Parsi community always had given priority and importance to the education irrespective of gender. As a result we had gotten our first female advocate in India, Cornelia Sorabji. So there was no exception happened with D. Edalji’s son Shapurji Edalji. He sent his son to best college in Bombay for achieving best education. However D. Edalji was unaware of his internal changes toward his religion. S. Edalji was attracted towards Christianity and baptized in 1856. In that era one could barely think of to do such thing but he did and left his mother land and settled in England, married a white girl and father of three children. And also he  become a  vicar of The great Wyrley. But would the white Britishers so easily accept a black man as their vicar ? Would not their Colour Prejudice affect S. Edalji’s life and family? The question is how this Prejudice will influence that “Parsee” family? I didn’t have to wait for long to get the answer. Few years later the family began receiving some anonymous threatening, uncomely letters that lasted for several years. Not only that ,the elder son George Edalji accused and arrested for animals maiming, who was highly educated and reputed lawyer but his introvert nature was always been suspicious to the villagers. And those continuous animals killing made villagers frightened and worried. What happened next was truly unforgettable, Arthur Conan Doyle personally started to investigate George Edalji's case, the case became very much popular and also got international exposure. But there is a huge difference between crime fiction and true crime, it was not easy for the creator of great detective Sherlock Holmes, to convince people and also officials that who made the crime.. Sherlock Holmes didn't make any mistake in his investigation but the creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did make any mistake in his investigation?? Was George Edalji a victim of racism?? Or he was brutally killing the animals in dark of night ?? If he was doing so then What's reason behind it ?? Or he didn't, then does any other person have any other purpose? What is the secret behind those murders and  anonymous letters ?? Are the two events related to each other? Every page was full of breathtaking mysteries, And it was surprising to think that I was not reading a fictional story. I devoured The Mystery of The Parsee Lawyer in hungry gulp, thrilling and moving read. And what makes this book such a tender read is Ms. Basu’s meticulous research on every fact. And those richly detailed works provide wonderful insight into relationships and friendships that transcend time and place. Thank you Bloomsbury India for the gifted copy. #aleafunturned #bookreview #themysteryoftheparseelawyer #bookrecommendations

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robin Price

    The Victorians and Edwardians might have known a thing or two about industrial innovation and empire building but when it came to detection and policing they were woefully inept. How did Britain's most famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper, escape justice? And what of the innocents wrongly convicted, and sometimes sent to their deaths? George Edalji would be forgotten today if it were not for the involvement of Arthur Conan Doyle in his fight for justice. His story is a tragedy. A terrible miscar The Victorians and Edwardians might have known a thing or two about industrial innovation and empire building but when it came to detection and policing they were woefully inept. How did Britain's most famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper, escape justice? And what of the innocents wrongly convicted, and sometimes sent to their deaths? George Edalji would be forgotten today if it were not for the involvement of Arthur Conan Doyle in his fight for justice. His story is a tragedy. A terrible miscarriage of justice. The terrible events in Great Wyrley still unsolved, with more questions than answers. The author writes with integrity, honesty and compassion. A fascinating, at times gruesome and horrific story of animal mutilation and a family persecuted.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Contemporary_literary_threads

    The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer by Shrabani Basu is one of my first crime non-fiction books. When I received an advanced proof copy of this book, I was excited to read it because of Arthur C. Doyle (Sherlock Holmes novels' author). He was involved in investigating this mystery of maimed horses in the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, and the man who wrongly accused of those crimes was of Indian origin. Shrabani Basu's investigative journalistic qualities are on the top when she writes abou The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer by Shrabani Basu is one of my first crime non-fiction books. When I received an advanced proof copy of this book, I was excited to read it because of Arthur C. Doyle (Sherlock Holmes novels' author). He was involved in investigating this mystery of maimed horses in the village of Great Wyrley near Birmingham, and the man who wrongly accused of those crimes was of Indian origin. Shrabani Basu's investigative journalistic qualities are on the top when she writes about this case. The story sails from George Edalji's background, son of the Vicar, Shahpur Edalji; Who was a Parsi convert to Christianity and the first Indian to have a parish in England. George had always been close to his father and sister, Maud. Unlike his other brother and sister, his skin was dark in colour with bulging eyes as they were severely myopic. When the mysterious happenings started with Edalji's, George was put under the radar, but later accusations lifted from him. However, when cruel maiming of horses began in the village, the allegation of George being the murderer like 'Jack the Ripper' started taking a toll on him. His socially awkward nature and Indian features became prime external factors to call him a murderer without any evidence. This indicates how the pre-colonial period was full of racism, and they were ready to turn their eyes away from facts. The author has put things in perspective and jotted down every minute detail, which might seem unnecessary for a while, but when you contemplate it more, they made sense to the case. The lack of technology and advanced sciences was also a reason the Edalji family had to fight for so long till their last breath. I cannot reveal many details about the mystery, but I am confident if the police had investigated the case dedicatedly, they would have caught the culprit. Arthur Conan Doyle entry in the case gave it an international voice and fame. George got worldwide support and simultaneously creator of Sherlock Holmes too. But did it help George? In some way, yes, he at least got enough strength to fight. The author has given the point account of this forgotten case that shook the world in that period; her writing is gripping, descriptive and has a true knack for storytelling. Now, I wonder how many such lost stories we have in this world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Manya

    Book Review: The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer by Shrabani Basu (A true crime story during the British colonial rule in India) I don’t have enough words to describe my experience of reading the book. The clarity with which Shrabani Basu has written the book is commendable and applaudable. She has presented each and every fact and its backstory impeccably. She hasn’t taken for granted that people would know a great many facts already from that part of history and that’s why this book becomes a comp Book Review: The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer by Shrabani Basu (A true crime story during the British colonial rule in India) I don’t have enough words to describe my experience of reading the book. The clarity with which Shrabani Basu has written the book is commendable and applaudable. She has presented each and every fact and its backstory impeccably. She hasn’t taken for granted that people would know a great many facts already from that part of history and that’s why this book becomes a compulsive read. The book begins with her tracing the steps of George Edalji, who was wrongly accused and convicted for crimes he didn’t and couldn’t have possibly conducted. He was put through hell because he was a man of colour during the British Raj in India. It was heart wrenching to read the atrocities the Edalji family had to endure which clearly had racist undertones. What’s interesting is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the celebrated author of Sherlock Holmes was the one who took up George Edalji’s cause and got him pardon from his sentence. Doyle didn’t stop there, he went on further to solve the case and tried to bring the real culprit to light. He also worked hard to get some compensation to the Edalji’s for the wrong accusation and imprisonment of George Edalji. The author has put everything in perspective for the readers, while she draws a map of British rule in India and under what circumstances George’s father went to England from India, she describes in parallel what Arthur Conan Doyle was doing at the same point in his life. This perspective and parallel storytelling made the book a win for me. The fact that the mystery is not a fiction, solved by the author of Sherlock Holmes and how it was actually possible for him to work on a real life case. The fact that the book deals with racism against Indians during the British Empire, the fact that Bram Stoker attended Doyle’s wedding function, and many other things makes this book a compelling read. A well-researched, well-compiled, well-explained text is what The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer is. My ratings: 5/5✨ Thank you @bloomsburyindia for the gifted copy. 🧡

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sangita

    This is a brilliant piece of work by Shrabani Basu. An unlikely subject, exploring a connection that most of us would not have even imagined to have existed - all brought fore in this gem of a book. The subject line is unusual in itself as the book delves into a peculiar scandal in England when the elder son of a Parsee Vicar (now a converted Christian) in Great Wyrley in England, is caught up in a vicious game of racial prejudice and hatred and subjected to prison by the local authorities, only This is a brilliant piece of work by Shrabani Basu. An unlikely subject, exploring a connection that most of us would not have even imagined to have existed - all brought fore in this gem of a book. The subject line is unusual in itself as the book delves into a peculiar scandal in England when the elder son of a Parsee Vicar (now a converted Christian) in Great Wyrley in England, is caught up in a vicious game of racial prejudice and hatred and subjected to prison by the local authorities, only because of his background and his physical appearance. and of course, for his colour! Even though his Mother is an Englishwoman. The case receives widespread recognition and fame wen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself steps in to untangle the mess and exonerate the boy from the charges. Very interesting to see how so many Englishmen stepped forward to support ACD in his fight for justice for the convicted boy. The general public also had a very important role to play. We must thank Basu for bringing this story to us. for opening up to us the world then when racial intermixing, marriages and associations were frowned upon. When the differences between lives in London and those in the countryside were stark and so different. A lot or research has gone into this book and it shows. the writing is lucid all through and captivating. I was waiting with bated through all through to see if the Home Department delivered justice finally to the hapless boy. Would say - must read. My rating - 5/5 !

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Morgan

    I really enjoyed this well-researched, engagingly written, book. It outlines a miscarriage of justice that took place in the early 1900's in the UK. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle led the uncovering of the case against the wrongly accused, so that adds an extra quirk to the story. Ultimately it is a sad story of racial prejudice, the type of which still exists today. Definitely worth a read. I noted that the Parsee lawyer in the book, George Edalji, is buried in the same cemetery as my mother and grandfa I really enjoyed this well-researched, engagingly written, book. It outlines a miscarriage of justice that took place in the early 1900's in the UK. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle led the uncovering of the case against the wrongly accused, so that adds an extra quirk to the story. Ultimately it is a sad story of racial prejudice, the type of which still exists today. Definitely worth a read. I noted that the Parsee lawyer in the book, George Edalji, is buried in the same cemetery as my mother and grandfather who were both of Parsee extraction and feature in my own book about my great grandmother, a Parsee lawyer; The Amazing Life of Cecilia Chattergee.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bhavna Kapur

    Utterly Disappointed though I picked this one up after coming across an extremely interesting premise and yet ofcourse the fact that it was a non-fiction mystery. The book is so repetitive that you would not mind skipping a whole lot of pages altogether and you would still not miss out on anything major. So many characters that it was hard to stay involved. Just could not connect with the narrating style of the Author. The two stars are simply for the fact that the book was extremely well resear Utterly Disappointed though I picked this one up after coming across an extremely interesting premise and yet ofcourse the fact that it was a non-fiction mystery. The book is so repetitive that you would not mind skipping a whole lot of pages altogether and you would still not miss out on anything major. So many characters that it was hard to stay involved. Just could not connect with the narrating style of the Author. The two stars are simply for the fact that the book was extremely well researched and dealt with all the intricate details but as a reader I was not at all pleased.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Virajdatt Kohir

    Its an amazing narrative, keeps you entertained throughout.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Richardson

    Julian Barnes” novel “Albert & George” which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005 may prove to be a more engaging account of this true story for some readers

  12. 5 out of 5

    Radhika Sharma

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie Penfold

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sinead

  15. 4 out of 5

    Harshita || _the_indian_girl ♥

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sumit Ray

  17. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Marenghi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Siddharth Gupta

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gaurav Rana

  20. 4 out of 5

    Charles Murray

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Baird

  22. 4 out of 5

    john fitzpatrick

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bri

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aishwarya

  26. 4 out of 5

    Priyanka Roy Banerjee

  27. 4 out of 5

    WeekendBookClub

  28. 4 out of 5

    T

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rajat Ubhaykar

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sheshnath

  31. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  32. 4 out of 5

    Twinkle Soni

  33. 5 out of 5

    Allie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sonali Mukhopadhyay

  35. 5 out of 5

    Momzi

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Thommesen

  37. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  38. 5 out of 5

    Myan

  39. 4 out of 5

    Jhuma

  40. 5 out of 5

    Chandni

  41. 5 out of 5

    Anushka Mitra

  42. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Shepherd

  43. 4 out of 5

    Arijana Schrauwen

  44. 5 out of 5

    Halyal

  45. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  46. 4 out of 5

    Saylee

  47. 4 out of 5

    Arpan Chatterjee

  48. 4 out of 5

    David Lee

  49. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Graham-Goulder

  50. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

  51. 5 out of 5

    Varad Vyapari

  52. 4 out of 5

    Karen Moaddeli

  53. 4 out of 5

    Hpnyknits

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