Vish Puri is as fond of butter chicken as the next Punjabi. And when there's plenty on offer at the Delhi Durbar hotel where he's attending an India Premier League cricket match dinner, he's the first to tuck in. Irfan Khan, father of Pakistani star cricketer Kamran Khan, can't resist either. But the creamy dish proves his undoing. After a few mouthfuls, he collapses on the floor, dead. Clearly this isn't a case of Delhi Belly.
But who amongst the Bollywood stars, politicians, bureaucrats, and industrialists poisoned Khan is a mystery. And with the capitals police chief proving as incompetent as ever, it falls to Most Private Investigators to find out the truth.
Puri is soon able to link Khan to a bald bookie called Full Moon, and all the clues point to the involvement of a gambling syndicate that controls the illegal X billion dollars betting industry. The answers seem to lie in Surat, the diamond cutting and polishing capital of the world (where Puri's chief undercover operative Tube light meets his match), and across the border in Pakistan, Puri's nemesis, the one country where he has sworn never to set foot.
Or do they? A certain determined, grey-haired lady with a unique insight into the murder believes that the portly detective is barking up a wrong tree. Is Mummy-ji right? Is there more to the murder than meets the eye? And why, to make life even more complicated for Vish Puri, has someone tried to steal the longest moustache in the world from right under the nose of its owner - literally?
"This lovely series is a great example of crime fiction functioning as a foreign holiday for the armchair traveller. Hall's readers become happily immersed in the glorious rhythms and neologisms of "Dilli" language, while the cuisine is so well described you can almost smell it. But in this instalment there's also a serious thread, detailing a horrific and heroic episode of Indian history, little known to British readers." (Morning Star Crime Round-Up)
“I love Hall’s blend of inventive plot and Ealing-Comedy eccentricity.” (Saga magazine)
“This lovely series is a great example of crime fiction functioning as a foreign holiday for the armchair traveler. Hall’s readers become happily immersed in the glorious rhythms and neologism of ‘Dilli’ language, while the cuisine is so well described you can almost smell it.” (Morning Star)
“the Punjabi Poirot is dogged by calamities in this comic tale.” (Selected as one of summer’s best mystery and crime novels in Woman Summer Special)
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Entrancing from start to finish
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
The audio version is perfect as Sam Dastor with his accents and characterizations makes the book "come alive". For me, reading it in printed form, would not have done it justice.
So many wonderful moments-I actually laughed out loud many times which is something a book rarely achieves, but the revelation of the atrocities to Hindu and Moslem women at partition in 1947 was a horrible eye-opener. I had never before heard of the tragedies that befell 1000's of women and families at that time. The description elevated this book from hugely entertaining and comedic to one of serious historical content. Very cleverly written by Tarquin Hall.
All the characters are so well betrayed and although Mummy-ji is gorgeous my favourite has to be the hero Vish Puri.
Cry?-no. Laugh? A lot of the time. It was highly humorous.
I will hunt out anything else written by Tarquin Hall and hopefully narrated by Sam Dastor, who is already in my favourite narrators list. Excellent, so pleased I came across this gem.