In one of the ten best mysteries of the year (Seattle Times), private investigator Vish Puri becomes embroiled in a high-stakes mystery involving one of India’s most controversial commodities: love.
When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman’s parents are dead set against the union. She’s from a high-caste family; he’s from the lowest strata of Indian society. Young Tulsi’s father locks her up and promises to hunt down the “loverboy dog.” Fortunately, India’s Love Commandos, a real-life group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. But just after they liberate Tulsi, Ram is mysteriously snatched from his hiding place.
The task of finding him falls to India’s “Most Private Investigator.” Unfortunately, Vish Puri is not having a good month. He’s failed to recover a cache of stolen jewels. His wallet has been stolen, and he’s having to rely on his infuriating Mummy-ji to get it back. And to top it all, his archrival, investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. To reunite the star-crossed lovers and reclaim his rightful place as India’s unchallenged “Most Private Investigator,” Puri and his team of operatives must infiltrate Ram’s village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices.
Critics hailed The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, the last installment in the Vish Puri mystery series, as Tarquin Hall’s best yet, saying that each book has “raised the stakes subtly” (The Huffington Post). Now, “once again, India’s Most Private Investigator solves his case with panache” (Kirkus Reviews).
Tarquin Hallis a British author and journalist who has lived and worked throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. He is the author of The Case of the Missing Servant, The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing, and The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, along with dozens of articles and three works of nonfiction, including the highly acclaimed Salaam Brick Lane, an account of a year spent living above a Bangladeshi sweatshop in London’s notorious East End. He lives in Delhi with his wife, Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and their son.
“[T]hought-provoking and charming… The festering rot caused by India’s caste system permeates every page, as do the corruption of officials and the systemic abuse of the Dalits, the former Untouchable caste. … This series has dealt with progressively more serious topics, but Hall ... hasn’t lost his light touch.”
– Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Puri’s love of food—and Hall’s descriptions of the dishes he enjoys—is one of the delights of this series. … As in any Puri novel, a great deal of humor about Puri’s family life is mixed with skillful plotting and realistic descriptions of contemporary India’s overflowing street life.”
– Booklist (Starred Review)
“Once again, India’s Most Private Investigator solves his case with panache.”
“The Case of the Love Commandos is as whimsical as [Hall’s] other novels… [At] it’s heart is a serious issue: forced marriage. Hall’s books offer two special pleasures. One is the portly and pompous detective’s company. Even better is the dialogue.”