Search Results for: "a vish puri mystery"
Not being much of a mystery aficionado, I admit my grumbling tummy is what initially drew me to this toothsome series. Earlier this year, one of my various listservs announced the July 2012 publication of this very title, and I diligently decided I had better read Vish Puri –”India’s Most Private Investigator” – in short order. In a moment of delicious surprise, the audible route proved even more appetizing as the full series is read by one of my favorite narrators ever, the multi-talented, smooth-talking, man-of-many-perfect accents, British actor Sam Dastor (his single fault might be that he can’t say ‘jalapeno’ correctly, but I’m really not quibbling!).
While The Case of the Missing Servant and The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing were both of the guilt-inducing-for-giggling-and-guffawing-in-the-midst-of-grisly-slashings-and-shootings-variety, Butter Chicken leans toward the more somber, although easy chuckling is sprinkled generously throughout. That said, it just might be the best of the three.
So Vish Puri’s got his hands (and, as usual, his belly) full while managing overlapping cases. While he’s trying to find out who poisoned the talented young cricket player’s dear Papa during a crowded hotel banquet, he also has to figure out who the pernicious mustache thief might be. Since he’s got quite a handlebar of his own, the latter case gives him nightmares … but the former will change his life forever.
From an international betting conspiracy to blood diamonds, from cricket games to imported American cheerleaders, from former generals to Koranic verses, British-born-international-journalist-turned-Delhiite Tarquin Hall manages to weave an unexpected, intriguing journey of self-discovery for his hero as he wends his way through his latest perplexing cases. Hall explores the historical Indian/Pakistani divide through Puri’s own travel to the country he thought he would never enter, where he discovers Mummy-ji had quite a past she has yet to share with him. Meanwhile, recalling what happened more than half a century ago gives Mummy just the right clues to track down a murderer even her talented son won’t be able to identity without her help. Go, Mummy, go!
As much of a page-turner #3 is, it’s also a sobering, intimate examination of inherited bias and divisive history on the South Asian subcontinent. Hall’s outsider perspective surely works to his literary advantage here – although his ancestral-by-cultural-association Angezi don’t exactly fare well. That said, his current immersion in all things Dilli gives each Puri adventure indisputable authenticity, while Sam Dastor’s near-perfect narration makes for quite the aural feast. Guilty pleasures indeed!
Published: 2012 Continue reading
I always feel a twinge of guilt chuckling over murder mysteries – how can I be laughing in the midst of grisly, graphic slashings and shootings? But Vish Puri – ”India’s Most Private Investigator” – is, for all his quirky habits (sneaking food when the wife’s not looking, spouting centuries-old history, nicknaming his most trusted colleagues, his occasional clashes with his Mummy), quite the entertaining star of his own series. Don’t ever compare him to Sherlock Holmes, but his eccentricities do make me think of the portly, equally idiosyncratic Hercules Poirot …
As soon as I finished The Case of the Missing Servant, I clicked over to Book #2 with a sigh of relief that Sam Dastor was again giving voice to Puri. Dastor also voices Book #3, (just checked), so here’s another grateful WHEW.
In Laughing, Puri tries to bridge the gap between science and the supernatural when famed Dr. Suresh Jha is apparently murdered by a levitating, vengeful goddess Kali during a very public park meeting of the good doctor’s laughing club. ["When you laugh ... you change. And when you change, the whole world changes" – which means laughter could be the key to world peace!] In order to solve the case, Puri and his trusted operatives must infiltrate the hallowed halls of the powerful guru Maharaj Swami’s Abode of Eternal Love.
Meanwhile, Puri’s Mummy-ji and his wife Rumpi are busy solving a case of their own, after being the victims of uninvited, thieving guests at their last kitty party. While Puri would never admit it, he’s certainly not alone in his investigative prowess. Go Mummy, go Rumpi! Girl power all the way!
Tarquin Hall, whose earlier nonfiction titles won him acclaim and awards, is clearly having too much fun with Puri (his website mentions he’s writing mostly fiction these days). His intimate knowledge of Delhi (the city he calls ‘home’), his obvious familiarity with the very unique rhythms and grammar of Indian English (linguists claim that India is the country with the most English speakers in the world, by the way!), his clear appreciation for India’s foods (especially of the fried, spicy, salty variety!), all add a delightful authenticity to Puri’s antics. Dastor’s narration is an enhancing bonus.
Yeah, I know … at the end of these titles, we’re still talking gruesome murders. I guess if I’m going to (gleefully) partake, at least I can tout the health benefits of laughter, per the good (uhm …. dead?) doc. Uh-oh.
Published: 2010 Continue reading
While I do enjoy a clever mystery now and then, I confess the real reason I randomly picked up the Vish Puri – ”India’s Most Private Investigator” series – is because I was so taken with the title for #3: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, which hit shelves this week! Oh, be still my grumbling belly.
But ‘let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start …’ (whoops, a moment of childhood lyrical haze!). Set in Delhi, with jaunts to Jaipur, The Case of the Missing Servant introduces 51-year-old Vish Puri, a private detective who has never met a case he couldn’t solve. Any comparisons made of his prowess to that of Sherlock Holmes, however, always sets him on edge, and he’s not above spouting historical Indian figures who pioneered all manner of investigative methods centuries earlier! He’s an incorrigible foodie (and admitted “capsicum junkie and occasional dealer” who grows his own Naga Morich chillies). His girth is proof of his culinary appreciations, much to his wife’s protestations about his need for healthier eating habits. He occasionally tends toward pompous and most definitely doesn’t like getting help from his feisty Mummy who has decades of experience that Vish should know better than to discount. Most of the time, he’s fair, just, generous … and not a little bit of a doof now and then. His family and favorite friends call him ”Chubby” with great affection. In turn, he bestows nicknames on his most trusted staff, including Handbrake, Tubelight, Facecream, and Flush.
As the title promises, the main mystery centers around the missing servant of a Jaipur-based, high-profile lawyer who has built his career on exposing (rampant) government corruption. When the girl’s bludgeoned body surfaces, said lawyer suddenly lands in jail, accused of lethal hanky-panky. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, back in Delhi, Puri has to answer to an intimidating veteran who wants the dirt on his granddaughter’s fiancé who just seems too good to be true. And then there’s “the small matter of the attempt on his life” – not the first and most definitely not the last … but then Mummy’s probably got that little situation in hand.
Ever so convincingly created by Delhi-based Tarquin Hall, a British ex-pat international journalist, Vish Puri is available for your aural entertainment voiced by actor Sam Dastor. So he can’t pronounce ‘jalapeno,’ but he makes Hall’s prose come alive with the palpable hustle-bustle of a Delhi in constant motion. Having spent more-than-tourist-time in India (as well as the many years of being an honorary desi for the APA Program’s annual SALTAF), Puri’s geography was so familiar, I could smell his forbidden snacks, feel Handbrake’s frustration over the beeping tuk-tuks, and even hear the locals tell each other ‘don’t do tension’ or tension nahi leneka as a dear friend taught me. Perhaps I, too, was a Dilli-ite in a former life …
Published: 2009 Continue reading