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.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 24/04/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099525233
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by riverwillow
I really enjoyed this book. Vish Puri, India's greatest private detective, is an engaging central character - I love how he believes that the foundations of detection were laid in India more than two thousand years ago. Although the backbone of his business is marital investigations - ensuring that prospective spouse is suitable to join the family - he still gets involved in investigating other crimes. Hall surrounds his character with a cast of other, engaging characters, and how his Mummy still cares for him, unbeknownst to Puri she investigates a murder attempt on her son, often with hilarious results. The book also summons up a view of a changing India, where the body of a young woman whose been raped and beaten, is an unremarkable thing.
Review by LyzzyBee
Bookcrossing, 22 October 2011)In tone a little like the "Marriage Bureau for Rich People" books, in this first book in a series we have a nicely told tale of Vish Puri, Punjabi Detective, and his resourceful family and employees. A nice, rich back story with lots of enticing previous cases is provided, and we know to watch out for Vish's Mummy, who is just as clever as her son. The murders are not too gory, and I will look out for others in this series.
Review by gavreads
I’ve found my new favourite detective. This time they are from India in the guise of portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, private detective Vish Puri.<br/><br/>The Case of the Missing Servant is our first introduction to this ‘Indian Poriot.’ An established detective, with an web of contracts and employees, Puri is very much a conductor and ring master, though even he has problems with an interfering mother. As an introduction it works well. Hall gives us several threads to follow. Not only do we have the ‘missing servant’ we also have assassination attempts, unsuitable suitors and other case name dropping.<br/><br/>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. I enjoyed seeing how Puri works. His employees make a great supporting cast. Their characters are all as different as the jobs they do, which makes their interactions with Puri delightful to read.<br/><br/>What’s different for me is that Puri has a loving and happy family life and after seeing his mother you can tell where Puri gets his nose from. It’s unusual to have such a happy detective and that makes The Case of the Missing Servant such a joy to read. Yes, the crime is serious and seriously handled but the nature of a cosy crime novel is that it isn’t disturbing. His idiosyncratic ways make it fun.<br/><br/>As with Sherlock Holmes he names previous cases to wet our appetite for further adventures though there are no worries on that score with The Case of the Man who Died Laughing and The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken already out and on my shelf waiting.
Review by reader68
I read this book sometime ago.A middle class Indian detective solving a murder mystery. Excellent.