Book Review Club ~ July 2010
Back again for Barrie Summy’s Monthly Book Review Club!
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And this month’s most deserving book is The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall.
The book ushers Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Detective, onto the mystery scene, introducing the reader to his winning strategies as a detective, his humanitarian opinions of his country, and his quirky–dare I say endearing–little foibles. A stocky man, fond of his Sandown cap, which he removes, only in the privacy of his own bedroom, and partial to nicknaming his employees(think Door Stop–his very lazy office boy, Handbrake–his new driver, and Flush–who has a flush toilet in his home), is extremely proud of his reputation as a PI: “Confidentiality is my watchword.”
A trio of mysteries are investigated in this book, but only two are skillfully solved by the inestimable Puri, one involving a third-party marital objection, and a second in which a servant girl has disappeared, resulting in a reputable lawyer being charged with her murder. The third mystery threatens Puri’s very life, and unbeknownst to him, his Mummy-ji handles it with aplomb.
With a colorful and rather eye-opening depiction of Delhi and its environs, Tarquin Hall has created a very memorable detective in Vish Puri. Puri is bursting with personality and self-possession, but there remains plenty of room for his big heart. He runs his investigations business with strict operating procedures and his life with words to live by.
“Don’t have tension, sir,” the detective assured him. “Vish Puri never fails.”
I’m already looking forward to Puri’s newest exploits in The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing. (And don’t you just LOVE these covers?? Absolutely perfect.)