I’ve found my new favourite detective. This time they are from India in the guise of portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, private detective Vish Puri.
The Case of the Missing Servant is our first introduction to this ‘Indian Poriot.’ An established detective, with an web of contracts and employees, Puri is very much a conductor and ring master, though even he has problems with an interfering mother. As an introduction it works well. Hall gives us several threads to follow. Not only do we have the ‘missing servant’ we also have assassination attempts, unsuitable suitors and other case name dropping.
The thing that Hall captures most is the colour. The characters are lively and background is vibrant. Good crime authors present the solving of the crime in an engaging way but great ones also make their manor a character in its own right. I enjoyed seeing how Puri works. His employees make a great supporting cast. Their characters are all as different as the jobs they do, which makes their interactions with Puri delightful to read.
What’s different for me is that Puri has a loving and happy family life and after seeing his mother you can tell where Puri gets his nose from. It’s unusual to have such a happy detective and that makes The Case of the Missing Servant such a joy to read. Yes, the crime is serious and seriously handled but the nature of a cosy crime novel is that it isn’t disturbing. His idiosyncratic ways make it fun.
As with Sherlock Holmes he names previous cases to wet our appetite for further adventures though there are no worries on that score with The Case of the Man who Died Laughing and The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken already out and on my shelf waiting.