The Case of the Missing Servant: From the Files of Vish Puri, India's “Most Private Investigator”

Tarquin Hall, Author . Simon & Schuster $24 (310p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8368-4

Vish Puri, the head of Delhi's Most Private Investigators Ltd., tackles a rather prosaic domestic case in this first of a projected series, the fiction debut of British author Hall (Salaam Brick Lane ). Ajay Kasliwal, a lawyer who has brought cases against corrupt government officials, retains Puri to find a maid, Mary, who has gone missing from his household. Rumor has it that Kasliwal killed Mary because he got her pregnant, and when Mary turns up dead, the authorities arrest Puri's client. While the 51-year-old married detective, who could lose some weight and is affectionately called “Chubby,” has a certain quirky charm, the resolution of the mystery of Mary's murder is less than satisfying. Hopefully, a future installment will go into what sounds like a more unusual matter, “the Case of the Missing Polo Elephant,” for which Puri won the fictional “Super Sleuth” award in 1999. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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