To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Review this product
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Genre Minx Reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsEnjoyable story...
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
I was not a huge fan of The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star compared to the other installments in the series because it lacked a large presence of the characters I usually enjoyed being a part of the story. They were there but not as involved as I prefer. As always, there was plenty of humorous moments in this story to entertain me as well as a nice mystery for Chopra to investigate. Although, the part that I really enjoyed was the investigation his partner had undertook. Rangwalla snagged my immediate interest and I can say that I sped through Chopra's chapters to get to Rangwalla's parts. So I can say that overall I enjoyed this story but some parts more than others.
This book shares some characteristics with Bollywood movies. The plot is melodramatic, starting with the invisible kidnapping of a Bollywood star during an extravaganza of a concert. Smoldering passions, including revenge, fuel the complex plot. Certain characters sing and dance at critical points and are colorfully dressed. There are lots of sentimental moments. And there’s a happy ending for all.
The man investigating the kidnapping is Inspector Chopra, retired from the police due to an ailing heart, and now a private detective. One of his partners is a former colleague. But his main partner is Ganesha, a baby elephant. Ganesha is very protective of Chopra and has a way of saving his life at dramatic moments. This is fun, but you do have to be willing to credit a small elephant with a high degree of intelligence and sharp powers of observation.
A fascinating subplot involves eunuchs. The transgendered population of Mumbai is subject to hatred, prejudice and abuse, and their plight is dramatized in this novel.
I like this series. It’s lighthearted and charming. And I especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at Bollywood in this book.
3.0 out of 5 starsA Happy Ending Can Cover a Multitude of Sins
Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2018
Not as good as the previous book which was tightly plotted and incredibly well written, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star, is a more prosaic effort. Samuel Goldwyn famously said, "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." This is as true for books as it is for movies. While the conclusions about the treatment of Indian Eunichs are well intended, Kahn fails to trust his reader to reach this judgment on his or her own. Never a good basis of a relationship between author and reader. One lesson Kahn does take from the movie business is that an ending that leaves the audience feeling good can cover a multitude of sins in construction. The first two books in the series were so good and so filled with promise that I look forward to reading the next effort in hopes that the author returns to form.
Charming and not truly a "cozy" mystery, yet with a certain kindness among the characters, this , third in the series, is delightful., These books have well-developed characters (who grow with each book). clever insights, a love of Mumbai all of which the writer shares generously with his readers, pulling us in and letting us enjoy a marvelous imagination. This writer makes me believe a baby elephant can detect dangerous gangsters in the middle of the stifling Indian night -I can feel little Ganesha trundling along ever faster to rescue Inspector Chopra. Delicious. Read all three books.
Really enjoy this author. Feel like I travel to India when I read his works. Love all the characters (Poppy, Irfan, Chopra and Ganesha, etc.) and love the mysteries he solves. Love Mr. Khan's writing - his humor is right on and his descriptions of India and their culture are wonderful. Love Chopra's dry sense of humor and Poppy's "get it done" attitude. Especially enjoy how Chopra and Poppy adore one another.
Vaseem Khan conveys the sights, sounds and colors of India and, particularly, the great city of Mumbai. He paints a remarkable cast of characters, including Inspector Chopra (Retd.) and his fellow detective the baby elephant Ganesh. Khan writes ably and tells an intriguing tale. Recommended reading in the tradition of the Golden Age of mystery stories.
I have grown to thoroughly enjoy these little elephant books. I read to get a cultural peek at different countries but this look at Mumbai is not often colored by political correctness, but is simply painted without sentiment as the author sees it. The story itself was less enjoyable than others I've read in this series as it seemed a limp plot with some unbelievable characters. Still, have become attached to the retired detective and his family and enjoyed catching up with the.
All three books in the series are good, but this one is excellent. There is danger, suspense, intrique, love, joy, surprise, and an adorable and special baby elephant. There aren't any boring or confusing characters. There is one very nasty individual who delights in throwing Chopra in prison. We hear more from Poppy and other characters who have been mentioned, but don't have much space in the earlier books.
A very entertaining and interesting book that I enjoyed immensely.
5.0 out of 5 starsFast becoming one of my favourite series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2017
Well, if you liked the first two books in the Baby Ganesh series, then you will absolutely love this one. Full of the mystery and unique style of tension which has come to signify the tone of the first two books, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star sees our intrepid Inspector Chopra come up against his old nemesis Rao once more, but this time it seems that the game may well be up for Chopra as his investigation into the missing Bollywood bad boy, Vikram Verma, plays right into Rao’s hands.
Pressured by his wife Poppy into going to a live show featuring Bollywood’s latest heart-throb, Vikram Verma, Chopra, Poppy and Baby Ganesha, also a massive Bollywood fan, find themselves bearing witness to a fantastic spectacle of dance and music … and a rather unexpected and almost imperceptible vanishing act. Chopra notes that something is off about the final performance of the show, but it is not until Vikram’s mother, former Bollywood goddess, at least in Chopra’s eyes, Bijli Verma contacts him that Chopra realises quite what it was that was bothering him. Vikram has gone missing, not having been seen since the finale the night before, and his mother, and now Chopra, are concerned for his safety. Bijli convinces Chopra to investigate and to look into her son’s disappearance, and while there is no direct evidence, Chopra soon begins to suspect foul play. When a rather chilling ransom demand is received, the stakes are raised, but could it all be too late.
I love the way in which Vaseem Khan is able to capture the spirit of Mumbai and India in his writing, and this is all the more obvious when coming to describe the opulence and, in this novel perhaps on occasion, underhand nature of the Bollywood movie industry. The sense of every man for himself and the whole idea of he rising star whose ego has grown too large for his own good is so brilliantly created on the page that you are not sure whether or not to feel sorry for Vikram, no matter how dire his situation may be. But then is his cockiness derived from being spoilt as a child or is he naturally arrogant? Either way, does anything warrant a kidnapping or possibly worse?
Running alongside the main investigation is a strange case which is left to Chopra’s associate, Rangwalla, to investigate. Rangwalla is summoned to see the Queen of the Eunuchs who is concerned about the behaviour of a certain ‘client’ who has been paying for several of her Eunuchs to visit his grand house and yet taking no part in their visits, just simply watching them and having them play together. Despite nothing untoward having taken place, and the girls having been paid handsomely, The Queen has her doubts and engages Rangwalla to find out the truth about what is happening in the house. As the girls cannot give Rangwalla directions and nobody knows who their mysterious benefactor is, there is only one way Ragwalla can do this. By going undercover. This leads to some of the most humorous moments in the book, but also some of the most heartbreaking. If you are not moved by the story Rangwalla uncovers then there is definitely something wrong.
Khan’s portrayal of the Eunuchs is without criticism, judgement or prejudice. There is no stereotypical presentation. Their situation, that of a society now finally given gender status within India is handled with care and respect and whilst still considered an oddity and a sub-species by most of the country, you can’t help but feel for them, many of whom are not in their current position through choice. And it is up to Rangwalla to determine who is the subject of this investigation, the revelation of which will be truly surprising.
Another story which is handled with care and which demonstrates the kindly nature of Chopra’s young ward, Irfan, is that of a homeless blind woman who he prevents from being attacked by a group of children. She is someone who has been written off as a mad woman due to her confused state and terrible condition. It is only when Irfan, himself once a child of the street, shows the old woman some kindness that you see the true nature of the woman behind the ‘madness’. There is a kind of kinship between the two and what occurs later in the book certainly made me smile.
What I had noticed was that there felt a little less of the personal element about this book, perhaps because we have already learned so much about Chopra and his family in previous books and the two investigations themselves were full on and at times action packed. In fact, in trying to pay a ransom demand, Chopra finds himself in great danger, allowing Rao the chance he needs to rid himself of Chopra once and for all. Much like Ganesha’s brief dalliance with incarceration in the previous book, Chopra finds himself behind bars, but it is the extent to which Rao will go to ruin Chopra that takes you by surprise.
We learned in the last book that Chopra had made some powerful enemies, and the extent of their influence is clearly shown here. Chopra’s life is most certainly on the line and the tension in these chapters was palpable. If I hadn’t been driving I’d have probably literally been on the edge of my seat as I really couldn’t see how Chopra would get out of this one. But then Chopra also has some powerful friends, or if not quite powerful then at the very least resourceful.
I really enjoyed this book, the twists, the turns, the action and the more poignant and heartbreaking moments all combining beautifully to form what I believe is the best book in the series yet. The conclusion perhaps wasn’t totally surprising, some rather large hints being dropped along the way, but I don’t think that either of the first two books made me feel quite so much like my heart was in my throat, nor have I felt quite so moved as I was in reading this with the possible exception of when it look liked Ganesha’s game was up in the last book. A brilliant addition to the series and I cannot wait for book four.
4.0 out of 5 starsThis is a great book and works perfectly as a stand-alone. Buy it, enjoy it, love it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2019
The stone that skips over the ocean has the same weight as the one that sinks to the seabed. In this book there are oppressed minorities. A man sacrifices himself to save the life of someone he has known only for a matter of hours. Corrupt officials pursue private vendettas and are not brought to justice. This is all dealt with in a breezy manner that would annoy me in another work, but not here. Here the weight of the concepts is not belied by the lightness of the touch. This is the third in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series and I have loved each and every one. My delight comes from the sense of place. In the exploration of a world as alien as anything by Asimov or Tolkien. In the introduction of characters familiar but exotic, relatable but fantastic. My immersion in the slums and high-rises of the Mumbai of these books, is as complete as it is for the turrets and corridors of Gormanghast. My enjoyment of the outlook and language of the characters, as great as it is for P.G. Wodehouse. All of which makes it sound like these books are travelogues or character studies, or fantasies or comedies. This is far from the truth. They are pure crime fiction. The crimes in each of the books are legitimate detective territory. They are a little over blown, as is in keeping with the setting, but they are absolutely at the center of the stories. Read these books and you are not being sold general fiction in a crime fiction wrapper. You have a crime story at the heart and beating on every page. Does it alter this review that I would recommend reading the series in order? Or that I loved the subplot in this book more than I loved the main story? Not in my opinion. This is a great book and works perfectly as a stand-alone. Have no qualms, buy it, enjoy it, love it.
I can't wait for the next book... This is the third book in the series and you really need to read the other two books first to get an idea of who the characters are and how it all works. Mumbai itself is on show, as it always is in these books and there is a great deal of suspense that drives things. We are following two lines of enquiry: one with Inspector Chopra and one case which goes to his assistant Rangwalla, simply because the agency is so busy. Rangwalla's line of enquiry follows the Eunuchs of Mumbai, who are treated reverentially and without judgement, though the judgement of other Mumbaikers is evident through the text. I found this story more interesting that the "main" story Chopra is investigating about a missing Bollywood star (hence the title). Baby Ganesha the elephant (partial to Bollywood shows) is again present and wonderful and the relationship with Irfan and a little more of his background builds again in this book. Highly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 starsColourful, clever and life affirming mystery!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 23, 2017
I love these books! Inspector Chopra has such integrity and he, his wife Poppy, the people at his restaurant, little Irfan, his awful mother in law and of course baby Ganesha are depicted with love, care and warmth. I love India so these books really feed into that with their colour and mood, bringing Mumbai to life. The eunuchs in the novels are treated with compassion and a celebration of their vivacity and colourful ways. I also enjoy the actual detective stories! The plots are clever and even though I'm pretty good at working things out, I am always surprised. Please do not stop writing these Vaseem Khan, because even with the accurate portrayal of, perhaps, the dodgy, shady side of power in India, the life affirming qualities of these novels make them a total joy to read - and I am already looking forward to the next one! Thank you!