The Case of the Missing Servant

The Case of the Missing Servant

From the Files of Vish Puri, India's "most Private Investigator"

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
A first installment in a new series by the author of To the Elephant Graveyard introduces mustachioed Vish Puri, a respectable family man who styles himself as India's forefront private investigator and who runs background checks for prospective brides and grooms until more sensational cases take him into India's increasingly divergent communities.

Blackwell North Amer
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.

Baker
& Taylor

Introduces mustachioed Vish Puri, a respectable family man who styles himself as India's forefront private investigator and who runs background checks for prospective brides and grooms until more sensational cases take him into India's increasingly divergent communities.

Simon and Schuster
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.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2009
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416583684
1416583688
Branch Call Number: M HALL
Characteristics: 310 p. ; 23 cm

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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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p
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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