A Secret Marksman
When a foreign journalist walked into his office 18 months ago with the manuscript of his novel, Roli Books publisher Pramod Kapoor snapped it up, and not just because of its intriguing title—Hindutva, Sex and Adventure. Nor because of its very steamy contents. What Kapoor found irresistible was the author insisting on a nom de plume, even going to the extent of signing a contract that treats the divulging of his real name as a breach of contract. While the book with its lurid pink cover, featuring an erotic figure from the Kamasutra, is not exactly flying off the shelves, it has got the foreign press club excited. Reason: the protagonist, Andrew Luyt, is a thinly-veiled version of Mark Tully.
Found: The Sniper
So who would want to write a book pretending he’s Mark Tully in sexy disguise? There’s even a give-away line in the author’s bio saying he “lives in India with his partner”. Mark’s friends say the man behind the book is a French journalist and avid Hindutva supporter who, like Tully, has been based in India for decades but unlike Tully, is married to an Indian. This journalist published an autobiographical novel in French in 2005. The English translation, completed around the same time, mysteriously never made an appearance in India or elsewhere.
While both Mark and his companion Gillian Wright are not amused, Mark’s friends claim there’s no chance of confusing the pseudonymous author with Tully. It’s not just the “strangely written” prose that’s a dead give-away, according to them, but the hero’s “unusual sex” antics with a young Indian girl.