The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing
From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator
By Tarquin Hall
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781439172384, 320pp.)
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
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Early one morning, on the lawn of a grand boulevard in central Delhi, the Hindu goddess Kali appears and plunges a sword into the chest of a prominent Indian scientist, who dies in a fit of giggles. 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 sets out to prove who really killed Dr. Suresh Jha. 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. Stopping only to indulge his ample Punjabi appetite, Puri uncovers a network of spirituality, science, and sin unique in the annals of crime and soon finds that solving the case will require all of his earthly faculties.
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, along with 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 Delhi 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)
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org