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The Case of the Missing Servant: From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator (Vish Puri Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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"A lively and quick-paced series debut." - Kirkus (starred review)
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Top Customer Reviews
Portly, pakora-munching, dapper-dressed Punjabi Vish Puri, called "Chubby" by his friends, would never be confused with Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. He's more of a Delhi-based cross between Hercule Poirot and Perry Mason. The founder and managing director of Most Private Investigators, Ltd., Puri has observational skills rivaling those of "that Johnny-come-lately Sherlock Holmes," a detailed knowledge of 2000-year-old Indian principles of detection, and wide-ranging contacts in Indian society. Usually his work involves screening prospective matrimonial partners for the "arranged" marriages still common in India. But this time, aided by his team of undercover operatives nicknamed Tubelight, Facecream, Door Stop, Flush and Handbrake, Puri takes on the case of a servant girl who has gone missing from the household of a well-to-do Jaipur barrister. A badly beaten body dumped beside a roadway is identified as that of the missing girl, and evidence points to the barrister as her murderer. Can Puri clear the man who insists he's innocent?Read more ›
The plot is satisfying, complex enough but not confusing, and the action moves quickly. There is some violence but not a lot of suspense. The mood overall is light .. not comedic, but definitely not very serious. The characters - particularly Puri himself - are very likable. He has a crew of investigative assistants with bizarre nicknames: Facecream, Tubelight, Handbrake, Flush ... sadly most of these characters are shadows. I want to know more about them, but the chameleonlike femme fatale Facecream is the only one with much of a developed personality.
Not knowing much about India aside from watching a few Bollywood movies, I found the setting to be quite fascinating. The social and political atmosphere of modern India is presented in a way that tells a lot without seeming like a "show-and-tell." The investigation takes Puri from the country clubs and mansions of Delhi's wealthy classes, to the squalor and poverty of uranium miners in Jharkhand. Conveys a very convincing sense of place.
The dialogue is fantastic. I was delighted by the peculiar phrasing of Indian English on almost every page. The book is packed with _bon mots_ which I may have to start using in conversations.
One only complaint: There is a glossary in the back of the book which provides definitions for roughly 100 Indian terms which are used in the book. I suppose this is a useful - perhaps even necessary - feature, but I found it to be terribly distracting to have to flip to the back and look up words every few pages. Footnotes would have been a better solution.
Fun and entertaining. Four and a half stars.
The inimitable Mr. Puri is as at home in the poorest villages as in the most opulent and Moghul-esque marble palaces. In his dogged pursuit of the truth, he slips undercover at the drop of a hat and engages in judicious larceny and blackmail. At the Most Private Investigators, Ltd, the client always comes first, though The Boss is entirely capable of holding back information that will damage a bride's one chance at marriage. In short, Mr. Vishi Puri is a most engaging and resourceful character on the order of Rumpole or Precious Ramotswe.
The Boss handles several cases at once with help from his fearless Mummy; his unflappable wife, Rumpi; assorted friends in high and low places; and a stable of investigators nicknamed Facecream, Flush and Handbrake.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A sweet little mystery, easy to read, interesting view of the India culture.Published 19 days ago by Grace K. Miller
The case of the missing servant" and it was written by a British-born newbie writer, whose name is as intriguing as the plot of his book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dimmy
Set in contemporary Delhi, the author writes a mystery that treats us to the sights, sounds, and culture of India. This is a delightful read.Published 5 months ago by J Wags
Have not bought it and may not: $13 for a download? I gave the one star only to post this. The book sounds interesting.Published 7 months ago by M. Johnson
Fun light reading, with interesting tidbits about Indian culture.Published 8 months ago by International Traveler
I am unfamiliar with many Indian foods and vocabulary, so I found this a bit unsatisfying.Published 9 months ago by Cathie
First of Tarquin Hall's books I have read. Just downloaded a second one. It is good and different. It was recommended to me by a friend and it was a good recommendation. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer