The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing
From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator
By Tarquin Hall
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781416583691, 320pp.)
Publication Date: June 15, 2010
List Price: $24.00*
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Murder is no laughing matter.
Yet a prominent Indian scientist dies in a fit of giggles when a Hindu goddess appears from a mist and plunges a sword into his chest.
The only one laughing now is the main suspect, a powerful guru named Maharaj Swami, who seems to have done away with his most vocal critic.
Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, master of disguise and lover of all things fried and spicy, doesn’t believe the murder is a supernatural occurrence, and proving who really killed Dr. Suresh Jha will require all the detective’s earthly faculties. To get at the truth, he and his team of undercover operatives—Facecream, Tubelight, and Flush—travel from the slum where India’s hereditary magicians must be persuaded to reveal their secrets to the holy city of Haridwar on the Ganges.
How did the murder weapon miraculously crumble into ash? Will Maharaj Swami have the last laugh? And perhaps more important, why is Puri’s wife, Rumpi, chasing petty criminals with his Mummy-ji when she should be at home making his rotis?
Stopping only to indulge his ample Punjabi appetite, Puri uncovers a web of spirituality, science, and sin unique in the annals of crime.
Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has lived and worked throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. He is the author of The Case of the Missing Servant, The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing, and The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, dozens of articles, and three works of nonfiction, including the highly acclaimed Salaam Brick Lane, an account of a year spent living above a Bangladeshi sweatshop in London’s notorious East End. He lives in Dehli with his wife, Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and their son.
“Delightful . . . Hall splendidly evokes the color and bustle of Delhi streets and the tang of contemporary India.” —Seattle Times, “Best Crime Novels of 2010”
“Hall writes amusing mysteries…[his] affectionate humor is embedded with barbs.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Modern India, in all its colorful squalor, provides a vivid backdrop for this well-crafted whodunit.” —Jean Westmoore, Buffalo News
“Delightful . . . a terrific book with wonderful puzzle plot and a great setting.” —The Globe and Mail
“Hall takes the reader into a very Indian, very Delhi web of spirituality, sin, slums, and power broking, but all treated with a veneer of wit and intelligent absurdity.” —India Today
“Splendid . . . Entertaining . . . Vish Puri is large, constantly hungry, a perpetual victim of Delhi’s traffic congestion, and a wonderfully engaging P.I. . . . A joy to read.” —The Times (London)