The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: From the Files of Vish Puri, India's “Most Private Investigator”

Tarquin Hall, Author
Tarquin Hall, Author . Simon & Schuster $24 (309p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8369-1
Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010

Near the start of Hall's highly amusing second Vish Puri whodunit (after 2009's The Case of the Missing Servant ), Dr. Suresh Jha, the founder of the DIRE (Delhi Institute of Rationalism and Education), dies while doing his morning exercises on Delhi's Rajpath with the members of his laughing club, apparently slain by Kali, the four-armed goddess of destruction. In the media frenzy that follows, Insp. Jagat Prakash Singh turns for help to Puri, a believer in miracles, who's nonetheless skeptical of this one. Puri proceeds to unravel the many complications that keep the reader on tenterhooks until the final twist. Hall has an unerring ear for the vagaries of Indian English, the Indian penchant for punning acronyms, peculiarly Indian problems (“Guests are kindly requested not to do urination in water”), and an obvious affection for India, warts and all. (June)

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