The Case of the Missing Servant

The Case of the Missing Servant

A Vish Puri Mystery

Book - 2009
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Watch out Alexander McCall Smith! Here comes the first novel by the highly acclaimed writer Tarquin Hall in an entrancing new mystery series set in India.

The portly Vish Puri is India's most accomplished detective, at least in his own estimation, and is also the hero of an irresistible new mystery series set in hot, dusty Delhi. Puri's detective skills are old-fashioned in a Sherlock Holmesian way and a little out of sync with the tempo of the modern city, but Puri is clever and his methods work.

The Case of the Missing Servant shows Puri ("Chubby" to his friends) and his wonderfully nicknamed employees (among them, Handbrake, Flush, and Handcream) hired for two investigations. The first is into the background of a man surprisingly willing to wed a woman her father considers unmarriageable, and the second is into the disappearance six months earlier of a servant to a prominent Punjabi lawyer, a young woman known only as Mary.

The Most Private Investigator novels offer a delicious combination of ingenious stories, brilliant writing, sharp wit, and a vivid, unsentimental picture of contemporary India. And from the first to the last page run an affectionate humour and intelligent insights into both the subtleties of Indian culture and the mysteries of human behaviour.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : McClelland & Stewart, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9780771037559
9780771038259
Branch Call Number: HAL
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Vish Puri mystery

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w
WhidbeyIslander
Aug 05, 2017

Not a typical "whodunit," although there is a mystery that the detective solves. More important to the plot is the feeling it gives you of Indian culture (thankfully includes a glossary); although it paints a sort of sad picture of what living in India could be like unless you are well-educated and wealthy.

m
maipenrai
Dec 05, 2016

(The first book in the Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator series)

p
Polonesia
Jun 02, 2016

Delightful and funny suspense in New Delhi, India.

d
dubonnet
Apr 25, 2015

Amusing read with fun and eccentric characters, set in a modern India which is quite novel , foreign and exotic to most of us. I like the writing style, told with the grammar and inflections of modern day English speaking Indians. Nice there is a glossary for those unfamiliar with some of the terminology! Lots of good food too. A fun read.

FudgeLady Apr 11, 2015

I like to think of these books as being distinguishable from other authors mentioned in these comments. I find very few similarities between the Vish Puri series and the other sleuth/mystery series referred to. In order to qualify as a good mystery (gore-free), certain criteria should be present. This series has amiable characters from whom we can learn much, engaging plots, and an admirable representation of a country that few westerners have any understanding of. For a lot of reasons, this series stands on its own as modern and entertaining. Highly recommended!

Helen100 Jan 31, 2015

I found this book very reminiscent of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'' by Alexander McCall Smith. That novel features the traditionally built Mma Ramotswe who runs a detective agency in Botswana. It was published in 1998. "The Case of the Missing Servant" was published in 2009 and features the chubby Vish Puri, India's "Most Private Investigator". Puri also has a team of unusual characters who help him in his investigations. He is a man who understands human behavior and knows how to find out people's secrets.

Puri is hired to find a missing servant girl, Mary, when Mary's employer is accused of raping and murdering her. Puri solves this case as well as others using his undercover operatives. Tarquin Hall has written an excellent book using much humour, great descriptions of food, interesting characters (I loved Mummy-ji), and wonderful Indian atmosphere. Although I feel Tarquin Hall may have gotten his ideas from Alexander McCall Smith, I still really enjoyed the book and hope to read "The Man Who Died Laughing" next.

h
htliang
Jan 31, 2015

I found this book very reminiscent of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'' by Alexander McCall Smith. That novel features the traditionally built Mma Ramotswe who runs a detective agency in Botswana. It was published in 1998. "The Case of the Missing Servant" was published in 2009 and features the chubby Vish Puri, India's "Most Private Investigator". Puri also has a team of unusual characters who help him in his investigations. He is a man who understands human behavior and knows how to find out people's secrets.

Puri is hired to find a missing servant girl, Mary, when Mary's employer is accused of raping and murdering her. Puri solves this case as well as others using his undercover operatives. Tarquin Hall has written an excellent book using much humour, great descriptions of food, interesting characters (I loved Mummy-ji), and wonderful Indian atmosphere. Although I feel Tarquin Hall may have gotten his ideas from Alexander McCall Smith, I still really enjoyed the book and hope to read "The Man Who Died Laughing" next.

Jenny_Fry Oct 16, 2014

Richly-drawn characters and setting, I felt like I knew these people and where they lived by the end of the book. I really enjoyed this one.

r
Roundcat
Dec 17, 2013

Vish Puri has an ego almost as big as Agatha Christie's Poirot, and a kind heart and mustache that are bigger. This first in Hall's series about the Delhi detective and his unusual undercover employees was fascinating in showing modern day India (in contrast to M. M. Kaye's setting at the end of the British Raj), as well as a complex plot. The social system still worked to the disadvantage of the "missing servant", although Vish Puri managed to solve her problem satisfactorily at the end. There is a glossary, which I found very helpful in expanding my knowledge of food, dress and customs without interrupting the story. The approach is humorous and yet deals effectively with very serious subject matter.

n
Navigator48
Nov 20, 2013

If you have not read this, it's a delight. I enjoyed the sights and smells of India, and the Indian detective with his family. A fun read.

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Polonesia
Jun 02, 2016

A light hearted detective story about New Delhi detective working on yet another case from a series of books. The book is a joy especially if one knows a little bit about India and specifically New Delhi area. The book is very funny and characters charming. Very entertaining light read that keeps you guessing until the end.

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