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The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: A Vish Puri Mystery (Vish Puri Mysteries) Hardcover – July 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Vish Puri Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451613156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451613155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“These books are little gems. They are beautifully written, amusing, and intensely readable.” —Alexander McCall Smith

“A thoroughly engaging series . . . Hall has a gift for conveying the rich stew of competing cultures in contemporary India with a wonderful economy of image. . . . Hall presents a complex hero in a complex country with a great deal of history, humor, and panache.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Outstanding . . . Well-drawn colorful characters bolster a whodunit sure to appeal to those who enjoy a dash of humor with their crime.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“India, captured in all its pungent, vivid glory, fascinates almost as much as the crime itself.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Hall writes amusing mysteries . . . [his] affectionate humor is embedded with barbs.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Splendid . . . Entertaining . . . Vish Puri is large, constantly hungry, a perpetual victim of Delhi’s traffic congestion, and a wonderfully engaging P.I. . . . A joy to read.” —The Times (London)

“Hall takes the reader into a very Indian, very Delhi web of spirituality, sin, slums, and power broking, but all treated with a veneer of wit and intelligent absurdity.” —India Today

“Modern India, in all its colorful squalor, provides a vivid backdrop for this well-crafted whodunit.” —Jean Westmoore, Buffalo News

“It’s only a matter of time before Hollywood turns this into a movie or a TV show... The three books develop nicely with each central mystery a little more complicated and dangerous than the one before… It’s quite possible that what has begun as fun series will become a genuinely great one.” (The Huffington Post)

About the Author

Tarquin Hall has lived and worked throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. He has also written dozens of articles and three works of nonfiction. He and his family live in Delhi.

More About the Author

Tarquin Hall is the author of the Vish Puri mysteries, set in India. The first in the series, 'The Case of the Missing Servant', was named by the New York Times as a Notable Crime Book and given starred reviews by Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist. Hall divides his times between London and Delhi with his wife, Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and their young son.

Customer Reviews

Good, realistic characters, good plot, good mystery.
Dr. Paul A. Rhoads
There is a great deal of cultural, political, and religious tension between these two countries and the novel touches on the India - Pakistan Partition of 1947.
Christina H
I've liked this series, and look forward to reading the next installment.
Stephen T. Hopkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the third Vish Puri detective story, but my first read in the series. I didn't feel disadvantaged by not having read the first two books. I felt immediately immersed in modern Delhi, where gleaming skyscrapers filled with call centers sit next to street markets, cricket matches are the subject of wild enthusiasm (especially with the new feature of blonde American cheerleaders in skimpy outfits), and the streets are jammed with hair-raising kamikaze drivers--and the occasional cow. In today's Delhi, the status of money is beginning to replace the caste system, but the old world remains in the multi-generational households, arranged marriages, and religious rituals.

Vish Puri, affectionately called Chubby by his family, is the Boss of Most Private Detectives, assisted by a large group of operatives with colorful monikers like Tubelight, Facecream, Handbrake, Flush, and Chanel No.5. Even his beloved Mummy-Ji gets in on the sleuthing action on occasion--though against Puri's wishes.

As the story begins, Puri has been put on a diet by his wife, Rumpi. He'll do anything to make her happy, but he finds food irresistible. The descriptions of his meals were so mouth-watering I finally had to resolve not to read the book unless I had already eaten.

Puri has several cases on his plate (no pun intended): the murder (by poisoned Butter Chicken) of wealthy Pakistani Mr. Khan at a cricket federation dinner; allegations of cricket match fixing; and the "theft" of the long, luxuriant mustaches of two men.

Puri's adventures are comic, but author Tarquin Hall isn't just playing for laughs. He doesn't turn a blind eye to the corruption in Indian society or its inequities, like an elderly servant who is made to sleep on her master's kitchen floor.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kirti Gupta on July 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tarquin Hall's masala creation - the quintessential Punabi Delhiite Vish Puri aka "chubby", a detective with a fun family and a delightful ensemble of staff helpers - is back. This time, Hall selects a mystery set on no less than Cricket match fixing, trading of blood diamonds, and a back-drop of the bloody India-Pakistan partition in 1947. Mummy-ji, Vish Puri's aged mother, features doing her best sleuth work thus far, despite the detective's belief that "mummies are not detectives".

Hall once again manages to masterfully capture the nuances of an Indian life in general, and that of Delhi particular. As a Delhiite myself, I am always surprised by his deep understanding of the city's subculture, and knowledge of the best and the worst that the city offers. He certainly has a keen ear for the colloquial "Indian" English, with sentences missing articles and verbs at their end (e.g. "hunger is there"), making his books a delightful hilarious read. In this particular book, the accounts of contemporary cricket on the Inidan subcontinent, and of the partition in 1947, are particularly interesting. The long descriptions of the food always leaves one with longing, and the book provides some recipes in the end (I found this amusing). Some part of the mystery were "out there" (e.g.: a bloody assasination and chase at a farm house party), but overall, it was fun.

A big thank you again to the author for writing this fun read, and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for the next addition to this Delhi-detective series.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Young VINE VOICE on July 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Portly private-eye Vish Puri, Delhi's best detective is back. His latest case involves discovering who did the dastardly deed of cutting off the moustache of India's record holder for the longest upper lip hair, as well as solve the murder of the father of a superstar Pakistani cricketeer who is poisoned at a gala dinner. The resolution of the cases involves Puri's descent into India's underworld as well as attempting to interview India's high and mighty.

This is the third installment of the charming Vish Puri series. Its usual cast of thoroughly engaging characters is back too including Puri's Mummy-ji who may be a better detective than he, and Rumpi, Mrs. Puri, who is determined that her 'Chubby' lose weight whatever it takes.

Character, atmosphere and culinary delights take center stage as Hall takes us on a delightful romp through the streets of Delhi to meet its intriguing assortment of personages. I hope we don't have to wait too long for Puri's next caper.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kim Burdick on August 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tarquin Hall's mysteries featuring detective Vish Puri and his wise old Mummi-ji are often both fun and funny.

Hall injects a more serious element than usual in "The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken".

Separately uncovering pieces of a complex puzzle, Mummi-ji and Vish Puri solve two intertwined mysteries whose beginnings date back to the Partition of India. Mummi-ji's diaries and memories form an extremely valuable and interesting part of the solution. A third subplot, the case of the missing mustache, is distracting and unnecessary both to Vish Puri and to the reader.

If you have not yet read Tarquin Hall's mysteries, do. They are a treat and come complete with a glossary and recipes, poison not included.

Kim Burdick
Stanton, Delaware

Note: For readers who would like to know more about the 1947 Partition of India, two excellent non-fiction books are recommended: "The Other Side of Silence" and "The Great Partition."
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