Early one morning, on the lawn of a grand boulevard in central Delhi, the Hindu goddess Kali appears and plunges a sword into the chest of a prominent Indian scientist, who dies in a fit of giggles. Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, master of disguise and lover of all things fried and spicy, doesn’t believe the murder is a supernatural occurrence and sets out to prove who really killed Dr. Suresh Jha. To get at the truth, he and his team of undercover operatives—Facecream, Tubelight, and Flush—travel from the slum where India’s hereditary magicians must be persuaded to reveal their secrets to the holy city of Haridwar on the Ganges. Stopping only to indulge his ample Punjabi appetite, Puri uncovers a network of spirituality, science, and sin unique in the annals of crime and soon finds that solving the case will require all of his earthly faculties.
‘So brilliantly does Tarquin Hall capture the sights, smells, sounds and foibles of modern India, not to mention the nuances of English-Indian speech, that it is hard to believe he is not himself Indian. He also serves up fabulous descriptions of the Indian cuisine much favoured by Puri, a sort of Indian Poirot whose lunch will always come before his crime-solving.’ – DAILY MAIL
‘Vish Puri, Delhi’s epicurean “Most Private Investigator”, is trying to find out how an apparition of the goddess Kali could have stabbed a man during an open-air laughter therapy session in a crowded park. Life is complicated by a family that’s a cross-section of modern Indian society. Sweet-natured and hilarious.’ – FINANCIAL TIMES (Recommended in Summer Reads)
‘A terrific book with wonderful puzzle plot and a great setting.’ – GLOBE & MAIL
‘Hall writes amusing mysteries…[his]affectionate humor is embedded with barbs.’ – NEW YORK TIMES
‘(A) highly amusing whodunit… Hall has an unerring ear for the vagaries of Indian English, the Indian penchant for punning acronyms, peculiarly Indian problems…and an obvious affection for India, warts and all.’ – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)
‘As tasty as Puri’s favorite aloo parantha.” – KIRKUS
‘Vish Puri…[is] a wonderfully engaging PI… [A] funny, entertaining novel… The characters – including members of Puri’s complicated family – are splendid, and it’s a joy to read.’ – THE TIMES