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The Case of the Missing Servant | [Tarquin Hall]

The Case of the Missing Servant

In hot and dusty Delhi, Puri's main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri's resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking pot shots at him and his prize chilli plants?
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Publisher's Summary

Meet Vish Puri, India's most private investigator. Portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swathe through modern India's swindlers, cheats and murderers.

In hot and dusty Delhi, Puri's main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri's resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking pot shots at him and his prize chilli plants? And why is his widowed "Mummy-ji" attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows Mummies are not detectives? With his team of undercover operatives--Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream--Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than 2000 years ago - long before "that Johnny-come-lately" Sherlock Holmes donned his Deerstalker.

From his well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, Puri's adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.

©2009 Sacred Cow Media Ltd.; (P)2009 BBC Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (379 )
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4.5 (276 )
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Performance
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  •  
    mondol@mit.edu 09-10-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    12
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    "Hugely entertaing especially Delhi details"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Case of the Missing Servant to be better than the print version?

    Sam Dastor's voicing is great, his accents are spot on, except for the stray character who is supposed to have an American influenced accent. I especially loved his female "Auntie" delivery.


    Which character – as performed by Sam Dastor – was your favorite?

    Mummy is a classic "Auntie type". Sam does a beautiful job inflecting his voice to convey the submissive words and delivery backed up by the character's knowledge that she will get her way.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Punjabi Sherlock with his Jan Path irregulars.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed the characters in this evocative rendition of modern South Delhi using the detective novel as a vehicle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claude Lambert Savannah, USA 08-18-13
    Claude Lambert Savannah, USA 08-18-13 Member Since 2014
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    11
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    "The perfect voice for an excellent book"
    What did you love best about The Case of the Missing Servant?

    It has the smells, the noises and the characters of India. Travel in your armchair! It is a mystery, good clean fun and entertaining. For once, here comes a PI who is a good family man. It is almost unheard of in literature.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The hero is a PI of modern times in India, so he can use scientific tools when needed. However, he prefers to use his own contacts and spies rather than DNA. It allows the reader to meet a multitude of fascinating characters. The book is a lot of fun.


    What does Sam Dastor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There are of course Indian names of people and meal courses. I bought the audio because I was curious to hear the pronunciation. Dastor, however, proved to be much more: a delight. He changes voice with the different characters, he reads extremely well, the rhythm is perfect. The Indo-British accent he produces is wonderful within the book, and you will want to cook your own curry while listening to this. I intend to buy the audio of everything he is willing to read.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is a long book. It will take a long week-end of leisure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ann NORTHPORT, NY, United States 05-02-13
    ann NORTHPORT, NY, United States 05-02-13
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    "mystery, fun to listen, experience Indian culture"
    If you could sum up The Case of the Missing Servant in three words, what would they be?

    Humor, mystery, culture


    What did you like best about this story?

    I was introduced to India through a fun and interesting mystery. I often laughed out loud, and the characters are well developed and memorable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 12-06-12
    john CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Indie Sleuth Triumphs"

    Fun and absorbing read. This series will be a joy to those who wish a good glimpse of modern India as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ReluctantReader 12-05-12
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    "A Enjoyable Listen!"

    The story is of a servant who goes missing, the man who is accused of being responsible for it and the full of himself yet loveable detective who gets to the bottom of it all. From the nick only names of his staff and wife, to his love for delicious fried Indian treats Puri is very well flshed out as a character. He reminded me of someone I know in real life - right down to the step by step self congratulatory accounts of resolved cases he conveyed to his poor secretary. As the story went on, it did become predictable, but not boring, so that was a plus!
    So no it was not shockingly surprising, but it was a solid offering (I wouldnt be surprised if this author used to be a technical writer - things are so concise and tied up in the end.), with well written characters (Mummy is my fave) and I liked the Poirot-like ending with everyone gathered around in the livingroom for the revelation. I also especially enjoyed the telling of the pre marital cases he worked and was working on. I certainly plan to have another listen at this authors other works!.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 12-04-12
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 12-04-12 Member Since 2011

    -sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lighthearted and Funny"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the story, the characters, the atmosphere of Delhi (both old and new) and I especially enjoyed the narrator. I ordered two more Tarquin Hall books after finishing this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    judith clemson, SC, United States 10-29-12
    judith clemson, SC, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Okay, now, this is good!"

    What fun to hear. Good mystery, wonderful narration and different from anything I have ever heard. "Mama G" and family help with the detective agency as they try to live up to its humble reputation as best in India ( or the world).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 08-13-12
    Jonathan 08-13-12
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    "Good narrator, so so story"

    Excellent voice but the story (composed of several 'cases') seems recycled from other cases in other mysteries set in locales that are foreign to the reader. If you get it at a bargain ... Perhaps I'm just getting tired of this sub-genre.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 02-03-12
    Rachel MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 02-03-12 Member Since 2010

    part time gourmet, full time nerd

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    "Weak mystery wrapped in ol fashioned misogyny"
    What could Tarquin Hall have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This is a story of an older Indian man with old fashion beliefs and extreme arrogance. He spends the entire story bragging about in intellect and ranting about the downfall of Indian culture due to sex, drugs and Western influence.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator did a good job differentiating the voices of the many characters.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I was amused by the main character's disdain of Sherlock Holmes while the storyline is written within the same template.


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aja Garland, TX, United States 02-04-11
    Aja Garland, TX, United States 02-04-11 Member Since 2014
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    "It was just ok"

    This book was just a last minute buy, so I didn't expect much. Which is exactly what it delivered! The narrator reads with an accent and I didn't care for the Indian culture that I don't understand fully. Women are portrayed as the weak ones in this book and I frankly just didn't care for the book at all. I will not be reading any more by this author.

    1 of 12 people found this review helpful
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