Customer Reviews for

The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri Series #1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 4
  • Posted September 23, 2012

    Excellent writing and cultural immersion. Great work on creating

    Excellent writing and cultural immersion. Great work on creating a new detective for us to admire as well. Overall just a wonderful book with lots of background, history, movement, color and warmth.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Meet the Indian Hercule Poirot

    Vish Puri, founder of the Most Private Investigators Ltd., and something of an Indian Hercule Poirot, supports his comfortable lifestyle with matrimonial background checks, but every once in a while something more worthy of his talents comes along. Puri is often compared to Sherlock Holmes for the acuity of his observation, but Puri disdains the comparison, preferring to cite 2,000 year-old Indian detecting principles - Holmes' inspiration.

    A decade earlier, Puri and his wife moved to the rural fields outside of Delhi to escape the sprawl and pollution of the city. But the New India has caught up to them. Housing developments, factories and office buildings have gobbled the farmers' fields and roads criss-cross the land spewing smog. Every morning Puri gives his precious chili plants a bath and the next morning they are coated in grime once again.

    In this first appearance, Puri, dressed to the nines, munching mouth-watering hot and crunchy snacks, and bemoaning the breakdown of society, comes to the aid of a lawyer who has just been accused of raping and murdering his servant girl.

    The evidence is thin - even proof that the girl is dead is shaky. But the lawyer has angered some powerful people. He's a crusading type who has taken on corruption in government and refuses to be bribed or silenced. The case gives Hall a chance to explore India's vast, hilariously, stunningly complex bureaucracy and its attendant miasma of corruption.

    Puri has his methods of cutting the tangles of red tape, however, and help from his team of loyal and quick-witted assistants as well as his tenacious and even quicker-witted mother (looking into an attempted shooting of her son) and unflappable wife, keep things moving at home and throughout the city.

    Though the plot is entertaining the real fun here is the eccentric Puri; his appreciation of spicy - very spicy - food, his strong opinions, his various eccentricities and his ingenuity and resourcefulness.

    Hall, a British journalist (Salaam Brick Lane) captures the contradictions and hugeness of modern India with its mania for growth and its love of tradition, its new rich and ever poor, its giddy wealth and grinding, shocking poverty.

    Charming, witty, clever and atmospheric, Hall's foray into fiction is a winner.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Entertaining!

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy read. The mystery wasn't very hard to figure out, but it has such wonderful characters and atmosphere that it more than makes up for it. Just enough humor and suspense. Mummy-ji is great and I hope she's featured in the other books that I'm sure will follow. Vish Puri is a great character and I really look forward to his future cases! The only (sort of) drawback to this book was that I found myself flipping to the glossary in the back so often to find out the meaning of a lot of words and phrases, which sometimes disturbed the flow of reading. But I'm glad the author included it. It was very helpful. I won't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone looking for some quick, entertaining reading.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Interesting

    Different. Similar to Cotterill and McCall-Smith stories in that the descriptions of life in the country of the story is it's strong suit. Nice characters though....do not getthe wierd names for Puri's employees though...Facecream, Handbrake and Tubelight? hmmmmm

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    I love Vish Puri!!

    Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel by Tarquin Hall....But I love all things India, such a fascinating, wonderful culture, plus I love mysteries, so....
    What I got was a spicy, rotund detective who hides his junk food habit from his wife, and whose Mother is as good a detective as he is(though he thinks it's not her place). Two plotlines going on...who killed a beautiful young woman who serves in the home of a powerful man, and who's trying to kill Vish Puri...really keeps your interest.
    I think you'll fall for Vish Puri too....

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Very good

    I don't search for deep meaning or insights from novels. That said, The Case of the Missing Servant was a very good study into the culture and social structure of this Indian class. Very good character development and a good read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an entertainng book and a look into a different world.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    fun book

    I am finishing up the advance reader's copy of this book and although mystery isn't really my thing, I'm really enjoying it. It is different from what I would normally read. The characters are great - the main character, Vish, is hilarious. Not in what he says, necessarily, but how he behaves. Every character in this book is pretty well fleshed out and has a distinct personality - Mummy is one of my favorites. This is a great, light read. The only thing that can be confusing is that the characters speak english as though a person from India would truely speak english. It threw me off a little at first, but as you get into it it flows seamlessly with the story itself and it is easy to "hear" the characters as they converse. I would totally recommend this to anyone who likes light-hearted mysteries and humor.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Loved this book

    Found this book to be engrossing! & I loved the characters and setting! Would read more by this author however they are expensive!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Vish is awesome

    Love these books. It feels as though I am on a street in Delhi

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    I've found a new, favorite private detective: Tarquin Hall's Vis

    I've found a new, favorite private detective: Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri.

    "The Case of the Missing Servant" is the first title in the series which chronicles the adventures of India's Most Private Investigator, Vish Puri. Centered in Delhi, India, the novel takes us along as Puri and his team of operatives seek to clear the name of Ajay Kasliwal, a successful attorney who has set out to expose the corruption rooted so deeply in the judicial system. Kasliwal's political opponents accuse him or killing one of his servant girls. Do they have proof? Nothing conclusive, but the accusations are bound to take a toll. And so he turns to Vish Puri for help.

    Who is Vish Puri? As the novel opens, we find him sitting at a desk about to tuck into an order of green chili pakoras. He has to eat them on the sly to avoid detection by his wife and his doctor, both of whom insist that he needs to eat more healthily. Of course, he can't hide the results of his dietary indiscretion: every one in his family calls him Chubby, and he doesn't seem to mind. Puri has his foibles, of course, but he is also a clever, compassionate man who finds himself feeling increasingly out of place in a fast changing world. He likes to write letters to the editor of the newspaper decrying the social decay, but Puri is also a man of the world (parts of it anyway), and he isn't totally unwilling to learn some new tricks or adjust his thinking. And we will, on occasion, find him skirting the law, though always in the pursuit of Justice.

    Puri doesn't work alone. He has a team of operatives that he calls on whenever he needs a specialty service. Most go by a nickname that Puri has given them: Tubelight, Face Cream, Door Stop, etc. The nicknames, I'm sure, make it easier to for Westerners to keep track of who is who, but the names also allow Puri (and us) to keep them at a distance. They have families, passions, and histories that we are not immediately privy to. They are colorful characters and powerful tools in the hands of Vish Puri. Puri prefers to let them have their privacy. The reader may well want to pry a little deeper.

    All this is set in India, a vibrant, bustling hive of activity. Few mystery novels have fired my imagination as much as this one. Whether we are in a crowded slum or a quiet social club for the privileged, I want to explore every corner and examine every detail. I think a book like this would be enhanced greatly if I could easily access the internet while reading. Fortunately, Hall has included a glossary at the end of the book to give us a few more details should we want them. (The glossary for the first book is quite comprehensive. Glossaries in subsequent novels seem to leave out some words mentioned in previous novels, so keep the set handy.)

    For the most part, the Vish Puri novels fit well within the International Cozy Mystery Genre -- there is such a thing, right? There is more history and social commentary than you will find in the average cozy, and we also learn how to say 'b*stard m*therf*cker' in Punjabi (a bit over the top, perhaps, but such uncouth language is really quite rare). But we also have the lovable, grumpy detective, his meddling Mummi, and lots of delicious food. 

    I've read all three of the current V.P. novels and I'm looking forward to the fourth. It's definitely a series worth checking out.

    [I received a copy this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads program.]

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2013

    This book is a great find. In a way, the intriguing mystery stor

    This book is a great find. In a way, the intriguing mystery storyline takes a back seat to the rich and surprising descriptions of contemporary life and people in India, written by someone who has been there. Reminiscent of  Alexander McCall Smith's mysteries - and even Charlie Chan who-done-its - this book  is a wonderful intersection of culture, sleuthing, and lively very-human characters set on a colorful, happy stage. Good read. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    WellWRITTENANDKEEPSYOUGUESSING

    ThreesubplotsatonetimeManycharacterstokeeptrackofActionisslowandmonotonusbutjustrightfortheplotlinesAfunandinteretingread

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    Fun Read about India Detective- Special Flavor of India Enjoyably Depicted

    This is a fun and flavorful read about "the great Indian detective" Vish Puri. Memorable characters pop up throughout the book as a story of intrigue is spun around the main client, a high powered lawyer charged with the murder of a servant. As Vish works on multiple cases, it is not clear who is trying to murder Vish or why; yet, he must forge ahead to prove his client not guilty. While the book is fun and light, it gives a good insight into the complex world that is India. In a probably realistic way, topics including arranged marriage, corruption and street crime are handled as incidentals to the story. Querkey Indian English dominates much of the conversation and a sprinkling of "Indian Words" crop up here and there. As someone who has lived overseas, I felt this added an authentic flavor to the story. Get it. Read it. It will be a memorable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    Like taking a trip to India

    I was in Delhi in 2007. Reading this book, I was struck by the way it so effectively captures all the paradoxes and complexities of life in modern India. I really felt immersed in the small, but very authentic world, Tarquin Hall creates. He weaves in references to very real problems like overbuilding, class differences, etc but there's so much more--the lives of the wealthy, the wide diversity of religions, the corruption in the government. All wrapped in a tasty, compelling and entertaining story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Meet the Indian Sherlock Holmes

    Vish Puri might take offense to being likened unto Sherlock Holmes (who stole his ideas from Chanakya and failed to give any credit); however, for modern readers this is an understandable comparison. He is not a bumbling or lazy detective (although very much in love with his greasy take-aways), rather an experienced and astute investigator with agents in all the right places and a rather extraordinary gift of deduction.
    Hall creates a story about East Indians which is not at all offensive. The stereotypes he uses are pulled from real life and the vagaries of daily life and "Indian" english are well captured.
    This story is not full of twists and turns, but a light hearted read that offers the reader enjoyment and a taste of both poor and wealthy Indian lives.
    I look forward to reading Hall's next Vish Puri novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Comical while capturing Indian values and culture

    Fast read, good for young teens

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Loved it!

    Fun cultural read. Very quirky.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Exceptional read

    Loved it! More please! Thank you so much

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    very good book

    Enjoyed the book and learning about Indian culture. Loved the mom!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Boring

    I found this book to be quite a slog. I simply could not get into the characters. The "slang" and unique speech that apparently must be the norm for Indians was also difficult to decipher at times. I gave up halfway through and just deleted it. Much better mystery series out there. I'm a big fan of Donna Leon and Sue Grafton.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
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