The Case of the Love Commandos
From the Files of Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator
By Tarquin Hall
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451613261, 288pp.)
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
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In this contemporary Romeo and Juliet story set within India’s caste system, private investigator Vish Puri faces his most difficult challenge to date: a high-stakes mystery involving one of India’s most controversial commodities: love.
When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman’s parents are dead set against the union. She’s from a high-caste family, but her boyfriend is an Untouchable, from the lowest strata of Indian society. Young Tulsi's father locks her up and promises to hunt down and kill the “loverboy dog.” Fortunately, India’s Love Commandos, a real-life group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. They successfully free Tulsi, but Ram has gone missing.
The task of finding him falls to India’s “Most Private Investigator.” Unfortunately, Vish Puri is not having a good month. He’s already failed to recover the millions stolen from the First National Bank of Punjab, his wallet’s been stolen, and worst of all, his arch rival, investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. To solve the case and reunite the star-crossed lovers, Puri and his team of misfit assistants must infiltrate Ram’s village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices.
Critics hailed the The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, the last installment in the Vish Puri mystery series, as Tarquin Hall’s best yet, saying that each book is “more complicated and dangerous than the one before” (The Huffington Post). Now, with The Case of the Love Commandos, Hall keeps raising the stakes, delivering more twists, turns, and surprises than ever before.
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.
"These books are little gems. They are beautifully written, amusing, and intensely readable."
-Alexander McCall Smith
"India, captured in all its pungent, vivid glory, fascinates almost as much as the crime itself."
"Hall writes amusing mysteries... [his] affectionate humor is embedded with barbs."
"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."
“It’s only a matter of time before Hollywood turns this into a movie or a TV show... The three books develop nicely with each central mystery a little more complicated and dangerous than the one before… It’s quite possible that what has begun as fun series will become a genuinely great one.”
“A wry whodunit, with recipes.”
“Outstanding third mystery… Well drawn, colorful characters bolster a whodunit sure to appeal to those who enjoy a dash of humor with their crime.”
“A thoroughly engaging series… Hall has a gift for conveying the rich stew of competing cultures in contemporary India with a wonderful economy of image… Hall presents a complex hero in a complex country with a great deal of history, humor, and panache.”
“Vish’s third outing continues the tradition of Hall’s lively franchise.”
“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
“Modern India, in all its colorful squalor, provides a vivid backdrop for this well-crafted whodunit.” —Jean Westmoore, Buffalo News