Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: The Case of the Missing Servant

Author: Tarquin  Hall
Format: audio book 8 hrs, 23 minutes, equivalent 340  pgs
Characters: Vish Puri, Rumpie, Tubelight, Facecream, Flush
Subject: solving crime in India (non-fiction)
Setting: modern day India
Series: Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator Series
Genre: mystery - private detective
Source: Overdrive download from public library
Challenge: Support your local library, Thrillers and Suspense, Audio  Books

I thoroughly enjoyed this one.  The author manages to take a basic mystery cozy format and give us a well drawn portrait of life in modern day India by contrasting the lives of haves and have-nots.  Vish Puri is a fascinating, intelligent, well-educated, detective who lives with his "Mummie-ji" (think Grandma Mazur from Janet Evanovitch), his wife Rumpie (she calls him "Chubbie" and tries unsuccessfully to regulate his caloric intake) and several servants who are well paid and well treated.

Puri's office crew all have wonderfully descriptive nicknames (they call him "Boss") -Tubelight, Flush, Facecream-- and they go about helping him not only serve a large clientele of parents researching prospective spouses for the arranged marriages so common in India, but also helping to prove the innocence of a famous lawyer accused of the murder of his servant Mary who has disappeared.  The family only knows her name was Mary and she was not from their town.  No last name, no picture, no registration papers, etc.  Puri smells a rat and goes about trying to find Mary (how many gazaillion women in India are named Mary?) find out if she was murdered, and if so, who did it.

The portrait of India reminded me of Alexander McCall Smith's loving portrait of Botswana in the 1st Ladies Detective Agency series.  Vish Puri is a believable, likeable detective and readers should hope that more of his adventures are forthcoming.


  1. This book is on my reading wishlist. I love the cover art, and I always enjoy books set in India. Thanks for your review :)

  2. "think Grandma Mazur". . . . I'm in for this one then. Grandma Mazur is one of my favorite characters.

  3. what a great review. I love books that are set in different countries and it sounds like it has some great characters.

    lauren51990 at aol dot com

  4. The comparison to Smith's work interests me, since I liked the first several (they started to all seem the same after a while). And, being from NJ, I always enjoy Grandma Mazur.

    But, mostly, I'm a big fan of H. R. F. Keating's mysteries set in India during the Raj. It would be interesting to try something set in the same place but much more contemporary.


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