On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.
The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant.
As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.
And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs...
About the Author
Vaseem Khan first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a consultant. It was the most unusual thing he'd ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind his series of crime novels.
He returned to the UK in 2006 and now works at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science where he is astonished daily by the way modern science is being employed to tackle crime.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I’ll be honest, it was the synopsis and the fact this title was set in India that had me curious: even though I’m not a huge mystery reader I was expecting a twist on the more well-known stories by Alexander McCall Smith and his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, rich with the feel, life and people. And Vaseem Khan completely met and exceeded those expectations with this book. Oh of course, it is a crime fiction story, and there are moments that hit that disturbing mark of ‘how could anyone do that’, but Chopra is so engaging and likable, flamboyant with a great deal of optimism and hope for good things to happen, it is hard not to be influenced by his manner. His wife, complete with a subplot of her own, is also fascinating, and the images, scenes and feel of the setting are so vividly presented you can almost scent the breeze on the air. I don’t believe that anyone can resist a baby elephant, and there are so many sweet (yes – this story is at its heart, incredibly sweet) scenes as Chopra takes this unexpected life into his keeping, and the two travel on to discover the many correlations between them. Oh the mystery was clever, but presented in a way that just felt like days in the life. Lyrical and near poetic, the writing is smooth and the imagery is solid and evocative. I tend to the lighter side of the mystery genre, it’s often the characters and settings that draw me in and have me returning to an author: I’ll certainly be looking forward to the next from Vaseem Khan. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Great characters plot good enjoyed all of it
Meandering mystery well worth seeing through to the end (review includes vague spoilers) I don't normally read a lot of mysteries, and for awhile, this was slow-going, as the author's narrative style is less action-packed and more meandering. But by the end, I had truly enjoyed the experience of following Inspector Chopra (Ret'd) around Mumbai, and quite grown to care about the inspector, his wife, Poppy, and the baby elephant he'd adopted. Khan balances a sense of otherworldly intervention (via the elephant) with a concrete sense of place and realism. He has an excellent sense of humor and allows for a quiet critique of modern India that never undermines his characters' love of the place. I'll definitely be looking into reading other books in this series; I'm delighted to have discovered it!