Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken is a 2012 novel, the 3rd in the Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator series by Tarquin Hall. I am enjoying these books and will buy more as I see them. NPR has an excerpt from the first chapter here. This book includes recipes -including a non-deadly version of the Butter Chicken- if you want to get a better "taste" of India.

from the back of the book:
When an elderly Pakistani visiting India dies frothing at the mouth during a banquet, it's not a simple case of Delhi Belly. His butter chicken has been poisoned. To solve the case, India's "Most Private Investigator," Vish Puri, must infiltrate the dangerous world of illegal gambling, following a trail that leads deep into Pakistan--the country in which many members of the investigator's family were massacred during the 1947 partition of India. The last piece of the puzzle, however, turns up closer to home when Puri learns of the one person who can identify the killer. Unfortunately it is the one person in the world with whom he has sworn never to work: his Mummy-ji.
Eurocrime calls it "a wonderful find. Very funny" and says,
One of the many things I enjoy about these books is that all the characters, even the very minor ones, are drawn with such loving detail. The author reminds me very much of P G Wodehouse in his ability to poke gentle fun at people's foibles in such a way that we can recognise ourselves in them and end up laughing at ourselves as well as with the characters.
Kirkus Reviews calls this a "lively franchise". The Huffington Post reviewer highly recommends them and closes by saying, "Gently amusing and with a real feel for Delhi, this is a charming series. Each new novel has raised the stakes subtly and Hall has grown more confident with each outing. It's quite possible that what has begun as a fun series will become a genuinely great one."

The Washington Times says,
This isn’t so much a mystery as an Indian romp... However, it has to be kept in mind that despite all the fun and ribaldry, Tarquin Hall is as much historian as humorist and he evokes the India where he lives and which he obviously loves, presenting it as a vivid world of color and savory fragrances with traditions still linked to the years of British colonization.
Crime Review says, "This book is written with a wry sense of humour and a light touch. ... Beyond the humour, however, the book deals with some serious issues." Publishers Weekly says, "Well-drawn colorful characters bolster a whodunit sure to appeal to those who enjoy a dash of humor with their crime."


  1. I just read this one! I haven't even returned it to the library yet. I'm now on "The Case of the Love Commandos". I think this series is a lot of fun and besides I like the atmosphere of modern day India.


  2. This is the 3rd I've read in this series, and I agree they are a lot of fun. I didn't realize the Love Commandos was out. I will go to the bookstore today! Thx :)