Love and Death in Kathmandu – A Strange Tale of Royal Murder by Amy Willesee and Mark Whittaker

Love_and_Death_in_KathmanduPan Macmillan (2003), St Martin’s Press (2004), Rider (2004)

A week or two after we handed in the manuscript for The Road to Mount Buggery, the heir to the Nepalese throne, Crown Prince Dipendra, donned military fatigues, armed himself with automatic weapons, walked in on a quiet family gathering, and, without a word, mowed down his family before turning a gun on himself.

Most people might not see that as an invitation to visit their beautiful country, but Amy and I, unwilling to settle down, couldn’t think of a better place to be. Even though the country was in the middle of a brutal but little publicised civil war we set out to understand what could have led to such a tragedy. To do that, we had to understand something of the mystical culture. Nancy Reagan and Cherie Blair got bagged for consulting psychics. In Nepal it was demanded of their leaders. A living pre-teen Goddess had the fate of the royal family within her powers. The royal astrologer held a genuinely influential position in the royal court, just like all his ancestors. But more germaine to our story was the theme of the star-crossed lovers – the prince and his forbidden love, his distant cousin several times over, Devyani Rana.

Part travel book, part true crime, Love and Death in Kathmandu was a wonderful adventure and a privilege to work on.

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© Mark Whittaker.

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