Vish Puri

Created by Tarquin Hall

Possibly inspired by the phenomenal success of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and Precious Ramotswe, British writer Tarquin Hall introduced fussy, pot-bellied VISH PURI, the head of Delhi’s Most Private Investigators Ltd., in The Case of the Missing Servant (2009).

Like McCall-Smith’s work, the strength and charm of this book relied on its subtlety, its gracefully nuanced character studies and its vividly rendered cultural color, rather than fisticuffs and gunfire. Vain, egocentric and eccentric, Puri is middle-aged and married–imagine a Delhi version of Horace Rumpole, but with better grooming skills, and less taste for blood.

Not for Vish, then, the mean streets–most of his cases consist of background checks on potential spouses. But don’t be fooled–he’s not quite the complacent, dandyish buffoon his adversaries may think, and when push comes to shove, as they do when he’s called upon to investigate a missing servant girl whose employer has been charged with her murder, it soon becomes apparent that Vish possesses a keen wit and a razor-sharp mind.

And so it goes. Throughout the subsequent series, Vish proves himself to a worthy and wily detective — even when his family and even more eccentric associates are driving him crazy.

Tarquin Hall is a journalist and the author of the Vish Puri mysteries. The first in the series, The Case of the Missing Servant, was named by the New York Times as a Notable Crime Book and given starred reviews by Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist. Hall divides his times between London and Delhi with his wife, Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and their young son. His first book, To the Elephant Graveyard, was a non-fiction work about the hunt for a rogue elephant.



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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