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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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

LOVED THE STORY AND THE NARRATION

I really enjoyed this light-hearted mystery, and the narration was superb. The characters are likeable and portrayed with humour and sympathy. The story conveys affection and understanding of the contemporary Indian culture and way of life, which could only be attained by someone who spent a lot of time there. This is the first book in the series, and I look forward to reading others.

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  • Jami
  • VICTOR, NY, United States
  • 06-15-16

Interesting Setting

While the mystery itself was fairly obvious, I enjoyed the characters and the plot. What made this different from many other similar stories was the setting in India; I enjoyed learning about the culture and the caste system.

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Excellent.

Great story. Twists and turns keep it moving. The characters and very entertaining. Fantastic narratiom. An all around good read.

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As Mummy would say "Sooo funny!"

The narration really makes this book stand out, with the distinctive accents and mannerisms of the Indian characters. If you like the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series, you will probably enjoy this as well. I laughed aloud many times as the detective, nicknamed Chubby, who is helped out by his mother, always called Mummy, defies the unending bureaucracy and hidebound traditions of India.

I did wonder whether Indians would find some of the characters and situations to be stereotypes but I was too busy having a good time to think about that long. Sam Dastor was excellent and I'll be listening to as many more books in this series as I can find.

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Lots of fun.

Enjoyed the many voices and a "taste of India ". Good descriptions, very colorful characters. The author actually lives in Delhi.

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Highly Entertaining!

Throughly well written. Characters like these I would love to keep reading about. I even would watch both a Bollywood and Hollywood films based on these stories.

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  • Joan
  • Swamp Yankee
  • 01-25-15

What great fun, Na?

This is a fabulously narrated (I truly despise bad or overdone Indian voices, even Indian narrators are guilty of this..as if everyone comes from within 100 miles of Bombay, may the Gods help us!), and incredibly funny detective novel. It also happens to be by one of the sneakier mystery writers I've had the pleasure of reading in a while. While being a fun read, there is just enough suspense and surprise to keep it going, as you try to separate the good guys from the bad, which isn't always possible considering the state of India's justice system, which is pretty well represented here-hint- think $$$$.
Well worth a credit!

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fans of inspector ghote will probably love this

If you’ve listened to books by Tarquin Hall before, how does this one compare?

this is my first book by tarquin hall, and while i cannot imagine tearing through the whole series back to back, i do find myself still thinking about vish puri and the employees of the "most private detective agency", so i will probably listen to the next one eventually. i loved the modern-day delhi setting, the mystery was just the right-level of complicated to keep me guessing, and sam dastor made every character come alive.

Any additional comments?

i liked vish puri, but i *LOVED* the character of mummy-ji... a series based on her adventures would be irresistible! :)

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Needs a reader with basic understanding of Hindi

What made the experience of listening to The Case of the Missing Servant the most enjoyable?

Tarquin Hall brings a journalist's eye for details in his skewering of the Indian ruling class.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sam Dastor?

Somebody who doesn’t mispronounce every alternate Indian word. This isn’t to say Dastor is a bad performer, but his obvious discomfort with Indian words clashes with Hall’s writing, which is all about the real Delhi experience.

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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.