Meet Vish Puri, India's most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India's swindlers, cheats, and murderers.
In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri's main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests.
But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri's resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking potshots at him and his prize chili plants? And why is his widowed "Mummy-ji" attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows mummies are not detectives?
With his team of undercover operatives - Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream - Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago - long before "that Johnny-come-lately" Sherlock Holmes donned his deerstalker.
The search for Mary takes him to the desert oasis of Jaipur and the remote mines of Jharkhand. From Puri's well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, his adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.
"While the 51-year-old married detective...has a certain quirky charm, the resolution of the mystery of Mary's murder is less than satisfying." - Publisher Weekly
"Starred Review. What Cara Black does for Paris, Hall achieves for India in this lively and quick-paced series debut." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starred Review. An entertaining start (complete with expletives-included glossary) to a promising series." - Library Journal
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Rated of 5
Private Investigator Vish Puri is also the managing director of ‘Most Private Investigators Ltd. A well respected and honest public litigator has been accused of killing Mary, his maidservant. Vish must also investigate a second case involving a potential bridegroom.
Vish’s character is perfect except he has an immense fear of flying. Luckily for Vish, he has a team of operatives that support him, especially his Mommy who conducts her own investigation.
There are actually three mysteries in the story but I’ll let you discover the other one on your own, but each mystery is very well done. Tarquin Hall’s writing is first class. Tarquin spent many years in India so he knows and understands the country and its people well.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book that kept me turning page after page. I kept telling myself that once I got to the end of the chapter I’d go to bed. Well, I didn’t. Once I read the first page of the next chapter, then I’d have to read the whole thing!
Tarquin Hall is a British journalist and writer based in London and Delhi. In addition to his Vish Puri mysteries he has also written three works of non-fiction, Mercenaries, Missionaries & Misfits, To the Elephant Graveyard and Salaam Brick Lane.
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