Title: Expert Detectives
Author: Sharada Dwivedi
Sharada Dwivedi was an Indian author, art and heritage historian, and researcher. She was born in the year \(1942\) in Bombay, India, and was schooled at Queen Mary's in Mumbai, graduated from the Sydenham College of Commerce & Economics, followed by a degree in Library Science from Bombay University, and later, a training in reference work in Paris. As a historian and author, she had written several books on the history and culture of both India and Mumbai. Her thirst for knowledge, the proximity to library archives, and her intense love for Mumbai turned Dwivedi into one of the most valuable historians of the city. Among her most famous work as a historian of Mumbai was "Bombay, the Cities Within" (\(1995\)).
Dwivedi began researching the history of South Bombay's Taj Mahal Hotel in the \(1980\)s and uncovered so much information that she and architect Rahul Mehrotra started a weekly column on the city's history. Eventually, the concept for a full-fledged book was born, and as a result, the book "Bombay: The Cities Within" got materialised. The book is often considered as an encyclopedia of Mumbai, chronicling the city's development from a collection of unremarkable swampy, malaria-infested lands in pre-colonial India to a pulsing 21st-century metropolis.
In \(1996\), Dwivedi (with a group of friends) turned into publishing by establishing the firm, ‘Eminence Designs,' as authors were not being paid their fair dues. Over the years, the firm has published a number of reputed books on various subjects from history of Bombay, art and architecture to cuisine, beauty and cinema.
Being a hardcore lover of historic Bombay, Dwivedi had been part of the city's numerous conservation efforts. She had been a Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee member and an executive member of the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI).
An ardent conservationist, Dwivedi had often expressed her angst for the public officials. She believed that they had a more prominent role to play in the destruction of historic Bombay due to their lack of spine and morals. As a result, when she became a civic Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee member, she stood up to politicians and resisted their pressures on conservation matters, never surrendering.
Dwivedi had a great deal of fascination for Victorian-era Mumbai, and later in her life, she developed a great affection for the city's art deco stylings. At the time of her death, she worked with Abh a Narain Lambah, a conservation architect, for UDRI's UNESCO Nomination Dossier.
On \(6\) February \(2012\), and at the age of \(69\), Dwivedi died in Mumbai following a brief illness.
In her lifetime, Dwivedi authored several books, collaborating with the architect, Rahul Mehrotra:
  • Bombay, the Cities Within (1995)
  • Banganga, Sacred Tank (1996)
  • Fort Walks (1999)
  • Anchoring a City Line the History of the Western Suburban Railway and its Headquarters in Bombay (2000)
  • The Jehangir Art Gallery (2002)
  • The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind (2002)
Her other works include,
  • Lives of the Indian Princes (1984) (co author: Charles Allen)
  • Reach for the Stars (1993) — the corporate history of Blue Star Ltd.,
  • The Broken Flute (1994) – a children's novel
  • The Maharaja (1999)
  • Abu Jani, Sandeep Khosla: A Celebration of Style (2000)