Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken by Tarquin Hall

On the jacket:

Vish Puri is as fond of butter chicken as the next Punjabi. And when there's plenty on offer at the Delhi Durbar hotel where he's attending an India Premier League cricket match dinner, he's the first to tuck in. Irfan Khan, father of Pakistani star cricketer Kamran Khan, can't resist either. But the creamy dish proves his undoing. After a few mouthfuls, he collapses on the floor, dead.

Clearly this isn't a case of Delhi Belly. 

But who amongst the Bollywood stars, politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists poisoned Khan is a mystery. And with the capital's police chief proving as incompetent as ever, it falls to Most Private Investigators to find out the truth. 

Puri is soon able to link Khan to a bald bookie called Full Moon and all the clues point to the involvement of a gambling syndicate that controls the illegal X billion dollars betting industry. 

The answers seem to lie in Surat, the diamond cutting and polishing capital of the world (where Puri's chief undercover operative Tubelight meets his match) and across the border in Pakistan, Puri's nemesis, the one country where he has sworn never to set foot. Or do they? A certain determined, grey-haired lady with a unique insight into the murder believes that the portly detective is barking up 'a wrong tree.' 

Is Mummy-ji right?Is there more to the murder than meets the eye? And why, to make life even more complicated for Vish Puri, has someone tried to steal the longest moustache in the world - from right under the nose of its owner? Literally. 


The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken is the third book in the Vish Puri series and the first one I read. I need to pick the previous two in the series and update myself with his adventures! 

The entire book is in a quirky and delightful tone, specially exchanges between Vish and his wife Rumpi. In one word, the book is cute. Puri is a regular Punjabi busybody who goes about solving mysteries. 

Again, I won't delve into the plot, as you can read the summary above. What was interesting was, references to the partition, Pakistan as well as Bangladesh. It's not just a comic mystery book, one does get to think a bit while reading it as well. A very well written, tight plot with abundant samplings of humour, The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken was an awesome winter evening read.

Oh, btw, in case you want any mystery solved, remember ... Vish Puri is not just a private detective, he is the most private detective!

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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