The Mendonça Mystery

and other stories

Michael Chacko Daniels 

has a new book of stories

with illustrations

by Krittika Ramanujan and Aaron Bass

It is a beautifully handcrafted limited edition

published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata


The book is dedicated to

Teresa, Molly, James, Mariam, Jessy, and Roy



Michael Chacko Daniels Writes:

I loved working for many years as a VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) in Michigan and California, as I did later working for persons with disabilities and homeless persons in Berkeley and Oakland.


Ten years ago, I returned to my first love—writing. Working on my stories has been wonderful. Totally.


I am pleased to report the publication of 17 of these stories in my latest book, The Mendonça Mystery and Other Stories (Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 2014, 209 pages, $25).


What better home for my story people who have long wanted to be seen, heard, and felt, some as far back as the 1950s, than this timeless, beautiful, one-of-a-kind limited edition from Writers Workshop, Kolkata?


Gold-embossed, hand-stitched, hand-pasted, and hand-bound with handloom sari cloth woven and designed in India, the book captures the exquisite beauty that India’s cottage industries are celebrated for.


The book’s outstanding illustrations by Krittika Ramanujan and Aaron Bass provide a visual and intellectual feast.



Editor Naomi Rose Writes:


You are in for some unexpected adventures at close and memorable range.

There are family stories where the unlikely occurs not only in what takes place but also because how the author tells them opens up fresh new pathways in our reading experience: “The Mendonça Mystery,” “Three Dozen Mangoes for Mr. Diefenbaker,” and “Grandma and the Old Warrior.”

There are finding-your-place-in-the-world stories (with the attendant difficulties that can come of that quest to remain oneself and still belong to a new world), including “Zach Runs from a Great Man,” “Naga in the Negev,” “The Makeover of the Son of Cochin Cohn,” “Sing an Indian Name,” and “Mudka-potka Gobble Village Chic.”

There are tall tales such as “The Cat Who Drove the Ghost Away,” and barely exaggerated tales filled with modern urban pathos such as “Life, the 27 Bryant Version,” “Riders of Dragon Number 19,” and “Touch Me? Vaya Con Dios Inbound on the 22 Fillmore.”

There are sweet and poignant testaments to youthful fancies, embarrassments, and unexpected compassion, as in “The Confirmed Bachelor of the Bombay YMCA.”

And there is the sheer poetry of haikus in the context of atmospherically drawn moments: “Shadows of Spread Wings,” “Fruit for the Gods,” “Where the Clear Creek Narrows,” and “Finding Memories in the Library on a Rainy Day.”


~~Naomi Rose's comments are excerpted from the book's Introduction~~



Michael's Hope:

It’s my fondest hope that you get a chance to read these stories either through your local library (via the Link program, if your library doesn’t have a copy) or with your own personal copy ordered from Writers Workshop (Writers Workshop, Attention: Shuktara Lal, 162/92 Lake Gardens, Calcutta 700045, India; <>).



About the Author

Michael Chacko Daniels is a former community worker and clown who grew up in Bombay, India. He lives and works in San Francisco. Writers Workshop has published four of his books: Split in Two (poetry, 2004); Anything Out of Place is Dirt (novel, 2004); That Damn Romantic Fool (novel, 2005); and Morning in Santiniketan (haiku, 2010).

His past adventures include five years as a Volunteer In Service To America, four as editor/publisher of the New River Free Press of Grand Rapids, Michigan, four as assistant editor in San Francisco at The Asia Foundation, and sixteen at Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living. He helped to establish the Jobs for Homeless Consortium of Alameda County in 1988, and to run it through mid-2004. He is an alumnus of St. Michael’s High School, Wilson College, University of Bombay Department of Economics, and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.


About the Illustrators

Aaron Bass is a studio artist who primarily works in printmaking media. He studied printmaking at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Tyler School of Art, and Tamarind Institute, and has an MFA from the University of New Mexico. He has worked for a community print shop, the leading press manufacturer in the United States, and taught at the University of New Mexico. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Studio Arts department at the Southwest University of Visual Arts. Aaron resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife Krittika Ramanujan, son Simon, and a variety of quadrupeds.

Krittika Ramanujan is an artist who was born in Chicago, traveled extensively, and lived in India as a child. She has had solo shows about three ongoing bodies of work: Dante’s Divine Comedy, mammal skeletons (Coterminus), and human rights and lynching (Ghost Puppets). She was a member of the Fine Arts Gallery in Chicago, and is represented by Leich Lathrop Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studied painting at Indiana University at Bloomington and received an MFA in printmaking from the University of New Mexico. She lives in New Mexico with her husband and son. 


Before the limited edition runs out, order your copy today from 

162/92 Lake Gardens

Kolkata 700045, India

Hardback Limited Edition :

Rs. 100 (Price in India) / $ 25 (Outside India)

ISBN 978-93-5045-068-0       

Posted on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 10:29PM by Registered CommenterMichael Chacko Daniels | Comments Off