Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet Vish Puri - India's Most Private Investigator

The Case of the Missing Servant
By Tarquin Hall

There is no escaping the inevitable comparisons with Precious Ramotswe and her #1 Ladies Detective Agency...Hall gives you the provincal tradition and ways of the Indian culture in much the same way that McCall brings you African culture.

Vish Puri is the gentleman PI with his crew of undercover partners - FaceCream, TubeLight and Flush...and the interfering Mummy. Puri works within a changing Indian Culture  - the changing face of the caste system sets limits on the questions and avenues that can be persued.  

This India is a modern day country where girls are leaving the safety of their villages for the lure of the big city and prosperity - and many are in the words of Puri...

"...just one of the dozens of personages who go missing across India every year."

The Glossary of Indian terms at the end of the book is extremely helpful.  I really love the feel this book gave me for the Indian people and the respect for it's ancient culture.

Product Description from Amazon
Meet Vish Puri, India's most private investigator. Portly, persistent, and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swath through modern India's swindlers, cheats, and murderers.

In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centers 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 potshots at him and his prize chili 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 Puri's well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, his adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity. 

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