THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by Tarquin Hall

India finally has her own Precious Ramotswe.

Her own home-grown, uncomplicated, tell-it-as-it-is private detective.  Punjabi by nature, by appetite and by his larger than life personality.

Meet Vish Puri, resident of Gurgaon, chilli-grower, Sandown-cap-lover and solver of crimes in Delhi.

Vish Puri is a clever, intuitive detective, of that there is no doubt, but like all of us, he has his flaws.  He snacks unhealthily behind his wife’s back, resisting all attempts to lose his nickname “Chubby”.  And he tends to underestimate Mummy-ji, his formidable retired-headmistress-mother.

Tarquin Hall takes us on a murder hunt to Jaipur, via the portals of the Delhi Gymkhana Club, and through the roads and markets of Delhi.

From snooty memsahibs who have no idea of their servants’ surnames – I never asked, Mr Puri. Why should I ? She was just a maidservant after all” – to desperately poor tribal villages in Jharkand, we follow Vish Puri and his crack team – Tubelight, Flush and the ever resourceful Facecream – as they set out to solve the death of Mary, the poor tribal whose surname wasn’t worth knowing.

Tarquin Hall has a delightful, infallible eye for modern Delhi life, with its aspirational wannabes, its floodlit golf courses, and with the clash between old and new money. The book is fun, a good read, and brings the life and language of Delhi to vivid, noisy, colourful life. You can almost taste those greasy chilli pakoras that India’s Most Private Detective so relishes.

The Case of the Missing Servant is published by Hutchinson and costs £11.99.

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