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If you were pitching this novel in the film The Player, you'd say something like this: It's the #1 Ladies Detective Agency but set in India with a fat Hindu guy instead of a fat Botswanan woman. And, indeed, if you look at some of the reviews of the book it does get mistakenly classed as just another entry in the Cozy Mystery genre. But Tarquin Hall deserves more credit than that.

Sure Vish Puri is rather rotund, immensely proud of his country, and his adventures involve a colorful cast of supporting characters--his operatives include Tubelight, Flush and Facecream--but the mystery and the milieu are significantly darker than in Alexander McCall Smith's series and Mr. Hall uses his Delhi detective in a more traditional manner, as an observer who can move between the various layers of society and expose the rot in each one. As a result, this isn't just a mystery that will appeal to readers who seek comfort with a likable and amusing crime-solver, but will also inform the reader who wants to understand modern India and the challenges it faces as it develops. One can hardly wait for the promised follow-ups to this excellent debut.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

Websites:

Tarquin Hall Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: TarquinHall.com
    -WIKIPEDIA: Tarquin Hall
    -AUTHOR BLOG: Sacred Cows
    -AUTHOR PAGE: Tarquin Hall (Simon & Schuster)
    -GOOGLE BOOK: To the Elephant Graveyard by Tarquin Hall
    -AUTHOR ARCHIVES: TarquinHall.com
    -AUTHOR ARCHIVES: Tarquin Hall (New Statesman)
    -ESSAY: Return to Kabul: Tarquin Hall has been visiting Afghanistan for 17 years, and is still struck by the toughness of its people (Tarquin Hall, 12 March 2007, New Statesman)
    -ESSAY: Happiness is an old Ambassador: For six decades, India scorned consumerism. But a taste for luxury is flourishing in the new Delhi, finds Tarquin Hall (Tarquin Hall, 19 June 2006, New Statesman)
    -ESSAY: Enemy of the state: Shakeb Issar was a pizza-loving fan of Britney Spears - and growing up under the Taliban, life was never easy. Now Afghanistan's leading video-jock has to live in exile and is bombarded by death threats. From Kabul and Sweden, Tarquin Hall tells the story of a victim caught in the crossfire of two cultures (Tarquin Hall, 23 April 2006, Observer)
    -ESSAY:The place that changed me: Despite spending years reporting from war zones, nothing affected the writer quite so much as watching an elephant being killed in India (Tarquin Hall, 4/23/2000, Independent)
    -EXCERPT: from Salaam Brick Lane: We're all British, innit?: Immigrants? Asylum seekers? You've seen nothing until you've been to London's East End. But, as Tarquin Hall found while living there, the difference between immigrants and the British is not what it seems (Tarquin Hall, April 17, 2005, Times of London)
    -EXCERPT: from Salaam Brick Lane: A hunt for cockneys unravels a native myth: While living in Brick Lane, Tarquin Hall was commissioned by a Bengali anthropologist to seek out the indigenous people (Tarquin Hall, April 17, 2005, Times of London)
    -EXCERPT: from Salaam Brick Lane: How the park lost a goose: An author finds his refugee neighbours proud and independent, but not fully au fait with the law (Tarquin Hall, 3/28/05, Times of London)
    -ESSAY: Afghan women gun for drug lords: Female recruits in secret battle (Tarquin Hall, May 29, 2005, Times of London)
    -ESSAY: India's gold rush: Tradition, a booming economy and a desire to hide income from the taxman are leading to record sales (Tarquin Hall, 12/16/07, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of INDIAN SUMMER: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex von Tunzelmann and THE GREAT PARTITION: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
   
-REVIEW: of Bollywood: A History (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
   
-REVIEW: of Magic Bus: on the hippie trail from Istanbul to India by Rory MacLean (Tarquin Hall, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW: of Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali (Tarquin Hall, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW: of Ghost Train Through the Andes: on my grandfather's trail in Chile and Bolivia by Michael Jacobs (Tarquin Hall, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW: of Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron (Tarquin Hall, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW: of The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy by Philip Marsden (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
   
-REVIEW: of THE RIVER OF LOST FOOTSTEPS: Histories of Burma by Thant Myint-U (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION: Radical Vegetarians and the Discovery of India by Tristram Stuart (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of THE PUNISHMENT OF VIRTUE: Walking the Frontline of the War on Terror with a Woman Who Has Made It Her Home by Sarah Chayes &AN AFGHAN JOURNEY by Roger Willemsen (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
   
-REVIEW: of The New East End (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond by Pankaj Mishra (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of Rafta, Rafta (Tarquin Hall, )
    -REVIEW: of THE DRAGON AND THE ELEPHANT: China, India and the New World Order by David Smith, CHINA: Fragile Superpower by Susan L Shirk, & GETTING RICH FIRST: Life in a Changing China by Duncan Hewitt (Tarquin Hall, Times of London)
   
-INTERVIEW: Tarquin Hall (Icons)
    -
   
-REVIEW: of The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Kishore Singh, Business Standard)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant ( Jessica Moyer, BookList)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Kate Saunders, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Pop Goes Fiction)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (anushreemajumdar , Yahoo India)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Carole E. Barrowman, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Nidhi Sethi , Deccan Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Zac O'Yeah, LiveMint)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Muriel Dobbin, Washington Times)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Margaret Cannon, Globe & Mail)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Daniel Lak, Outlook India)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Case of the Missing Servant (Library Journal)
    -REVIEW: of To the Elephant Graveyard by bTarquin Hall (David Davidar, The Hindu)
    -REVIEW: of Salaam Brick Lane by Tarquin Hall (India Uncut)
    -REVIEW: of Salaam Brick Lane (CAROLINE GASCOIGNE , Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of Salaam Brick Lane (Kevin Rushby, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Salaam Brick Lane (Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of Salaam Brick Lane (Matthew Reisz, Prospect)

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