Invisible spirits co-habiting with humans, a taxi company called International Backside Taxis, elderly little Anglo-Indian ladies with cobras under their beds, Shah Jehan's great great great granddaughter working as a librarian. This is the city of Delhi, a tattered remnant of India's majestic moghul past. I have many travellers' tales about India and Delhi, not many of them good. But William Dalrymple spent one year in old Delhi to explore its history and get to know it at a personal level; and he loved it. City of Djinns is Dalrymple's account of his time there, the characters and friends who he came to know and the magnificent past of an empire that is now no more. He pursues his knowledge through the narrow alleys and palatial ruins of the old city, meeting with dervishes and holy men in his quest. His research is absolutely thorough but without the boring and stern academic style so loved by many historians. This is essentially a travel book, but with a rich well of historical knowledge woven into the travel adventures.