The Case of the Missing Servant

Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Watch out Alexander McCall Smith! Here comes the first novel by the highly acclaimed writer Tarquin Hall in an entrancing new mystery series set in India.

The portly Vish Puri is India’s most accomplished detective, at least in his own estimation, and is also the hero of an irresistible new mystery series set in hot, dusty Delhi. Puri’s detective skills are old-fashioned in a Sherlock Holmesian way and a little out of sync with the tempo of the modern city, but Puri is clever and his methods work.

The Case of the Missing Servant shows Puri (“Chubby” to his friends) and his wonderfully nicknamed employees (among them, Handbrake, Flush, and Handcream) hired for two investigations. The first is into the background of a man surprisingly willing to wed a woman her father considers unmarriageable, and the second is into the disappearance six months earlier of a servant to a prominent Punjabi lawyer, a young woman known only as Mary.

The Most Private Investigator novels offer a delicious combination of ingenious stories, brilliant writing, sharp wit, and a vivid, unsentimental picture of contemporary India. And from the first to the last page run an affectionate humour and intelligent insights into both the subtleties of Indian culture and the mysteries of human behaviour.

From the Hardcover edition.



Vish Puri, founder and managing director of Most Private Investigators Ltd., sat alone in a room in a guesthouse in Defence Colony, south Delhi, devouring a dozen green chilli pakoras from a greasy takeaway box.

Puri was supposed to be keeping off the fried foods and Indian desserts...
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"Great fun — a seething slice of the sub-continent."
The Times

"A clever and witty little story."
Globe and Mail

"The narrative tension brought to the tracking of the rogue is exquisitely riveting, climaxing in a movingly sorrowful scene. . . . [Tarquin's] readers will not regret one vicarious moment spent with the author on this trip."

"The most original detective in years. Tarquin Hall has captured India in a way few Western writers have managed since Kipling. The country's humor, commotion and vibrancy bursts from every page, exposing its vast, labyrinthine underbelly. Scintillating!"
— Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph's House

From the Hardcover edition.