Meet Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. Portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swathe through modern India’s swindlers, cheats and murderers.
In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centres and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri’s main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri’s resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking pot shots at him and his prize chilli plants? And why is his widowed ‘Mummy-ji’ attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows Mummies are not detectives?
With his team of undercover operatives – Tubelight, Flush and Facecream – Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago -- long before ‘that Johnny-come-lately’ Sherlock Holmes donned his Deerstalker.
The search for Mary takes him to the desert oasis of Jaipur and the remote mines of Jharkhand. From his well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, Puri’s adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.
“I’ve found my new favourite detective… The thing that Hall captures most is the colour. The characters are lively and background is vibrant. Good crime authors present the solving of the crime in an engaging way but great ones also make their manor a character in its own right... It’s unusual to have such a happy detective and that makes The Case of the Missing Servant such a joy to read.” (Gav Reads)
“This is a detective story with a difference… I liken it to the charming novels of Alexander McCall Smith set in Africa since it leaves the reader with a similar happy feeling. An easy read with an interesting background.” (Radio Scilly Bookshow)
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Fun, charming, spot-on!
The portrayal of India as it is - the delightful mangling of the English language and descriptions of the scenes like the one of the railway station, but not neglecting the darker side of corrupt officialdom and a justice system that is often less than truthful
The lovely sing-song delivery and speech patterns of the characters
Not necessarily. The plot was well crafted, but did not keep me on the edge, or keep me awake at night. It was a feel-good book!
I look forward to the next one.....
an endearing first mystery