Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Case of the Missing Servant (mini-review)

The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall is the first in a detective series featuring Vishi Puri, owner and chief investigator of India's Most Private Investigations. In this first recorded outing (he, like Sherlock Holmes, had many investigations that haven't been told), he has two investigations going at once. In the first, he is looking into the case of the titular missing servant. In the other, he has been asked by one of his national heroes to check out the man's potential son-in-law. Brigadier Kapoor, like Trump, isn't really interested in facts. He just wants Puri to dig up dirt on the fellow because he doesn't consider him a "real man" (he never served in the military--which seems to be the gold-standard for determining real men with the Brigadier). Meanwhile, someone has been taking potshots at Puri and his mother (who has learned a thing or three about detecting from her late husband) sets out to find those responsible because she doesn't think Puri is taking it seriously enough. Winds up both mother and son are pretty good detectives. 

This was such a breath of fresh air after I tried reading H. R. F. Keating's first Inspector Ghote book (The Perfect Murder). The cases are interesting and we see quite a bit of Puri's techniques for investigating--not to mention his mother's successful investigation into who might be trying to kill her son. Hall's story feels much more authentic than Keating's and is full of humor without poking fun at the culture he is representing. Vishi Puri is India's greatest detective--at least in his own mind--and it is amusing to read his self-important "memoir." I also took great delight in the the nicknames he gives his employees...from Handbrake (his driver) to Facecream (his undercover woman). We also learn quite a bit about Indian culture through a narrative that is full of wit and brilliant descriptions. Great fun. ★★

Deaths = 1 (stabbed)


neer said...

Oh, I am so glad you liked it, Bev. I found it absolutely delightful when I read it a couple of years ago and heartily recommended it to everyone.

Bev Hankins said...

Yes, it was a lot of fun!