From the Files of Vish Puri Most Private Investigator Series by Tarquin Hall

If you are a fan of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, give Tarquin Hall’s two mysteries a try. From the Files of Vish Puri Most Private Investigator series titles are The Case of the Missing Servant and The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing. Mr. Vish Puri is a rotund little Punjabi gentleman who considers himself a master of disguise and is a lover of all things fried and spicy. He has a team of operatives with very entertaining working names who follow his every direction in each investigation — Facecream, Tubelight, Flush, Handbrake and others. In The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing, Mr. Vish Puri does not even have a client. He is so incensed by the murder of a prominent Indian scholar and rationalist supposedly by the multi-armed goddess Kali that he decides to solve the murder himself. The murder occurs in the circle meeting of the weekly Laughing Club on a very popular walking boulevard in downtown Delhi leaving several very confused eyewitnesses. The number one suspect is Maharaj Swami, a popular spiritual leader who has a vast and well-paying following. The politicians do not want to offend him in any way. Inspector Singh does not appreciate the political maneuverings of the police department to avoid actual pursuit of a human murderer and welcomes Mr. Vish Puri’s help in solving the crime.

The characterizations are very entertaining, including his wife Rumpi and his Mummy-ji who are investigating a crime of their own – the theft of the pot from the latest “Kitty Party”. Tarquin Hall does not belittle the Indian people nor does he make light of the problems of corruption in India. He is a British journalist who has lived in many parts of the world and written three works of nonfiction, including an account of a year spent above a Bangladeshi sweatshop in London’s notorious East End. The Hall family divides its time between London and Delhi. He is married to Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and they have one son.


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