Meet Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator. Portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swathe through modern India’s swindlers, cheats and murderers.
In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centres 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. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking pot shots at him and his prize chilli plants? And why is his widowed ‘Mummy-ji’ attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows Mummies are not detectives?
With his team of undercover operatives – Tubelight, Flush and Facecream – Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago -- long before ‘that Johnny-come-lately’ Sherlock Holmes donned his Deerstalker.
The search for Mary takes him to the desert oasis of Jaipur and the remote mines of Jharkhand. From his well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, Puri’s adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.
©2011 Tarquin Hall (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
“I’ve found my new favourite detective… The thing that Hall captures most is the colour. The characters are lively and background is vibrant. Good crime authors present the solving of the crime in an engaging way but great ones also make their manor a character in its own right... It’s unusual to have such a happy detective and that makes The Case of the Missing Servant such a joy to read.” (Gav Reads)
“This is a detective story with a difference… I liken it to the charming novels of Alexander McCall Smith set in Africa since it leaves the reader with a similar happy feeling. An easy read with an interesting background.” (Radio Scilly Bookshow)
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"Love this Food-Loving Indian Detective"
I loved the whole story about Vish Puri and his operatives - such an insight into India and how people live. The narrator Sam Dastor was excellent bringing Vish to life.
Not one bit of it.
No favourite scene - just loved the whole book.
No rename is necessary.
Am hoping I will be able to download his second book soon - unfortunately being Australian based it's not yet available for me. His third book in the series is due in July 2012 and I can't wait to get hold of it.
Fun, charming, spot-on!
The portrayal of India as it is - the delightful mangling of the English language and descriptions of the scenes like the one of the railway station, but not neglecting the darker side of corrupt officialdom and a justice system that is often less than truthful
The lovely sing-song delivery and speech patterns of the characters
Not necessarily. The plot was well crafted, but did not keep me on the edge, or keep me awake at night. It was a feel-good book!
I look forward to the next one.....
"an endearing first mystery"
If you find that the intricate plot is of crucial importance in a mystery - then this may not be the right audiobook for you. The plot is fine, but it is not murder that gives this book its flavour. So why 5 stars? It is funny and witty and interesting, both through writing and brilliant accents by Sam Dastor. Regarding India's history and culture - i know very little of it so all that was there was very welcome.
engaging, humorous, informative
Mummy-ji, such a clever woman on so many levels.
He does them all so well - and often made me laugh out loud
This book is a truly enjoyable mix of murder mystery, humour, and serious commentary on Indian society.
A good detective tale set in India - it made me laugh so many times. Sam Dastor's narration is perfect. A total joy from start to finish.
"Light hearted with a core of authenticity"
I have really warmed to Vish Puri, the self-important private investigator at the heart of this story. His pompous self-assurance provides some beautiful comic moments, but there is much more to him. He has a real belief in ensuring that justice wins through in a corrupt and venial society and in his own way tries to make life better for the poor and the casualties of the caste system. He is courageous, vain about his appearance, has a passion for street-food and possesses a total belief in his own infallibility as an investigator.
The stories take place in modern sprawling Delhi and provide a real sense of the atmosphere of the city - it's sights, smells (stinks), bustling thoroughfares, corrupt police and crooked officials, and its complex, highly aspirational society. This is a story about modern India and is in no way nostalgic about the days of the British Raj - the heroes and the villains are all Indians. The plot and sub-plot are ingenious, but not too complex. The enjoyment of the listener is as much about following how Vish Puri, and his mother, go about solving the mysteries as it is about the solutions themselves.
Sam Dastor is an excellent narrator, bringing the language and the characters to life in a way which feels natural and makes the story very easy to listen to.
"Smugness overload, nicely narrated though"
Seemed like something half-way between miss marple and sherlock holmes with a decidedly smug Puri as the super sleuth.
Still, the characterisation was good and the way privilege, poverty, growth and corruption rub shoulders in India was nicely portrayed.
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