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The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator (Vish Puri Mysteries) Hardcover – June 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010: Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator, is hot on the trail of a killer in this second book in Tarquin Hall's winning new detective series. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing is the perfect dog day novel for readers who like their murder mysteries spiced with unforgettable characters and a good dose of humor. As endearingly idiosyncratic as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Hall's Vish Puri pursues the murderer of a scientist who made it his business to expose high-profile charlatan gurus, yet died in a spectacularly supernatural fashion. Along with his quirky investigative team, Puri works overtime to solve this baffling crime and keep readers laughing all the way through to the case's satisfying conclusion. Embrace the heat this summer in this vibrant (and flavorful) new murder mystery series set in New Delhi, India. --Lauren Nemroff

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Near the start of Hall's highly amusing second Vish Puri whodunit (after 2009's The Case of the Missing Servant), Dr. Suresh Jha, the founder of the DIRE (Delhi Institute of Rationalism and Education), dies while doing his morning exercises on Delhi's Rajpath with the members of his laughing club, apparently slain by Kali, the four-armed goddess of destruction. In the media frenzy that follows, Insp. Jagat Prakash Singh turns for help to Puri, a believer in miracles, who's nonetheless skeptical of this one. Puri proceeds to unravel the many complications that keep the reader on tenterhooks until the final twist. Hall has an unerring ear for the vagaries of Indian English, the Indian penchant for punning acronyms, peculiarly Indian problems (Guests are kindly requested not to do urination in water), and an obvious affection for India, warts and all. (June)
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Product Details

  • Series: Vish Puri Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416583696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416583691
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tarquin Hall's new "cozy", is a great read for those interested in India, its people, and its customs. "Died Laughing" is Hall's second mystery, and again features Vish Puri, a 50-something detective in Delhi who bills himself as India's "Most Private Investigator". He's often called on by public officials to look into crimes, as well as investigating for private clients. Puri also has a large family; wife, children, mother, and siblings as well as a large cast of "operatives", who often figure into Puri's cases. In both books, so far, Puri's mother, "Mummy" and his wife, "Rumpi" team up to solve a more home-grown crime among their friends. Vish, who wishes his wife and mother would just stop trying to do what he does, thankfully never learns about their crime-busting.

"Died Laughing" is a somewhat complicated story that involves magic, murder, and fake Swamis. Operatives "Face Cream", "Handbrake", and "Tubelight" join Vish as he follows it all to a curious end.

Hall writes in detail about Indian society. Reading his books is almost a learning experience. His plots are almost incidental to character development. I'm looking forward to number three in his Vish Puri series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BurmaBaby on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book, the second in the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall, as much as Hall's first book in the series, "The Case of the Missing Servant". Both mysteries are set in India and the sights, sounds, and smells of India are immediate on every page. Vish Puri, nicknamed "Chubby" by his wife, loves to eat, and so lots of great Indian food is described as Vish falls often off the diet wagon. Vish Puri is a smart, funny and lovable character whose Indian/English dialog is spot on. The book includes a glossary of Indian words that I've enjoyed reading to expand my Indian vocabulary, but one can skip the glossary and just get the general meaning of the words from contextual cues. If you've enjoyed the "Ladies Detective Agency" series by Alexander McCall Smith and the "Marriage Bureau for Rich People" series by Farahad Zama, you'll love Tarquin Hall's delightful Vish Puri books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dick Johnson VINE VOICE on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And, our Most Private Investigator is still in his unique form (and size). Day-to-day life in India is still astoundingly different from that in America.

This is a murder mystery, so we have at least one body; at least one murderer; at least half-a-dozen suspects; and a variety of interesting people and places. Most of all, though, we have Puri and his cast of helpers in the search for the solution.

As in The Case of the Missing Servant, we also have Puri's multi-generational family members involved in their own investigation.

Hall's writing is so smooth that you never notice it. Not once does it get in the way of the story being told. That alone is worth five stars. The humor, red herrings and setting are great, too. But, as with his first Puri book, it's the characters that makes this so much fun.

The eleven page glossary was a very good addition. The book is quite readable by Westerners; but those unfamiliar with India might want to do a bit of study before jumping in. A reference search for India society will generate an amazing amount of useful information.

Lovers of classic mysteries, especially those by British authors, will feel right at home with the Puri books. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jane Austen on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Aloha! Back comes Vish Puri with a new case - 'The Man who Died Laughing.' I did like the earlier book by Hall wherein he had introduced Vish Puri as the Most Private Investigator.

Vish likes to be addresses as Vish rather than his full name Vishwas because Vish sounds as 'wish'. His catch line is 'Confidentiality is our watchword.' Vish Puri has different kinds of cases to resolve - be it related to matrimonial alliances, background checks, frauds, murders, and so on.

'The Case of the Man Who Dies Laughing' is a case waiting to be resolved in Delhi, India. It's about the murder of Dr. Suresh Jha. One morning, as Dr. Jha was part of the 'laughter club' and part of the laughter exercise, he is suddenly killed. In the middle of everyone. And to everyone who witnessed the murder, it was a shocking surprise to find none other than the Hindu Goddess Kali appearing from nowhere to kill Dr. Jha. After the murder, Goddess Kali disappears into thin air! How is that possible at all? Goddess Kali appearing & killing a human - how??

Dr. Jha is a rationalist who brings the tricks of many fraud mystics out in open, therefore making many enemies. Not only are the fraud mystics have become his enemies, but also some staunch Hindu political parties. The main suspect is the self-proclained Godman who had challenged Dr. Jha once. Has this Godman stooped so low to start murdering people?

This case brings out the age old fight between superstition & rationality. There is difference between 'belief' and 'superstition'. Unfortunately, at times many people fail to differentiate between belief & superstition and that is when the problem begins.

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