Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Case of the Missing Servant

The Case of the Missing Servant is a mystery by Tarquin Hall, the first book in the Vish Puri series. I enjoyed this one and am glad I picked up the 2nd in the series at the same time.

There are several passing mentions I find interesting:
In Puri's office there's "a likeness of Puri's guru, the philosopher-statesman, Chanakya, who lived three hundred years before Christ and founded the arts of espionage and investigation."
There's a sign in his club's library "appealing for funds to replace the club's copy of the collected works of Rabindranath Tagore, which had "most unfortunately and due to unforeseen and regrettable circumstances" been "totally destroyed" by rats."
And a few quotes:
"The similarities between the Indian legal system and the Court of Chancery as described in Dickens' Bleak House were startling."
We're all one breath from this life to the next, only."
"More and more, people's moral compass is turning 180 degrees. So you must be vigilant. Remember what Krishna told Arjuna at the battle of Kurukshetra. "The discharge of one's moral duty supercedes all other pursuits, whether spiritual or material.""
Several times it's pointed out that Sherlock Holmes was a johnny-come-lately to some of the investigative breakthroughs ascribed to him.

from the back of the book:
Meet Vish Puri, India's most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India's swindlers, cheats, and murderers.

In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers 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. With his team of undercover operatives - Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream - Puri combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago and reveals modern India in all its seething complexity.
Savidge Reads says, "One of the things that I most admired about ‘The Case of the Missing Servant’ was how Hall created a genuinely intriguing mystery that managed to really look at Indian society and how it treats the classes/caste system in many ways." EW gives it an A- and says, "India, captured in all its pungent, vivid glory, fascinates almost as much as the crime itself." NPR opens its review with this:
For an introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights, you might hop a flight to Delhi or book a trip to Mumbai. But to meet the country sans passport free of airport indignities, you could just curl up with the crime novels of Tarquin Hall.

Vish Puri, Hall's opinionated private investigator, is a 50-something Punjabi super sleuth with a fondness for family and food. The mustachioed detective cracks open India's underbelly with a caseload that delves into forbidden love, corruption in Indian cricket and the deadly clash between science and superstition.


  1. Putting it on my library list right now. I enjoy reading all things about India and mysteries are my favorite genre so how can I go wrong with this one?


    1. i liked this detective, and i did feel like i was getting a real taste of india while i was reading.

  2. I know very little about India, so this sounds like a fun read. And since, like Darla, mysteries are also my favorite genre, I will look for this book at my library. I was totally intrigued with the review and the praise this book has received. Thanks for sharing.

    1. i like mysteries, too. i was attracted by the setting when i saw the book. i;m glad it was fun enough so that i'm looking forward to sequels.

  3. This sounds great. I love Jason Goodwin´s mysteries about Yashim the Eunuch, and this seems like something similar, but still completely different. I have put it on my wish list (have sooo much to read - no complaining, though... never complain about that!).

    1. just like you i have way too many in my to-be-read stacks on my floor and in my to-buy-later list at amazon, but it's not stopping me from adding more. i find it a comfort to know i'll never run out of books to read.i'll be looking into yashim the eunuch lol