Katherine Armstrong has worked in publishing for over six years. She is a crime fiction Editor for an independent publishing company in London.
Things are going well for Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, despite the diet forced on him by his wife, which he is surreptitiously defying. His nephew, Rohan, is playing in one of the opening matches of the new, multibillion-dollar cricket tournament, the ICT, and he’s just taken on the case of Satya Pal Bhalla, owner of the longest moustache in India, whose house was broken into.
But Bhalla has lost more than money and possessions; he’s lost half of his thirteen-foot-long moustache, which the thief cut off while he was in a drugged sleep. A moustache-man himself, and member of the Moustache Organisation of Punjab (MOP), Puri thinks that the culprit could be someone other than Bhalla’s rival, Gopal Ragi. Especially when Ragi’s moustache is cut off too. . .
Puri is soon drawn into another case when Faheem Khan, father of Rohan’s friend and rival cricketer, Kamran Khan, is poisoned in front of him. Having seen Faheem Khan behaving suspiciously just before his death, Puri sets out to find out why he was killed. Who was the strange man that Faheem Khan had met in the gardens and what had he handed the Pakistani?
Tarquin Hall has created in Vish Puri a kind of Indian Poirot. He’s fastidious, intelligent, rather on the heavy side and solves cases before the police (although in his case, unlike in Poirot’s, they are less than welcoming to his assistance). He also uses Puri’s cases to discuss the social and economic problems facing India: The financial crisis, the corruption in government – various officials taking bribes etc. – the rise of the younger generation seeking fame and fortune, and the corruption in sport, particularly cricket. Hall infuses his characters with humour and its gentle style carries the reader along like a Poirot novel – yes people die, but there’s still time for manners and chai.