The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri, #1)
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The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri #1)

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  4,153 ratings  ·  771 reviews
Watch out Alexander McCall Smith! Here comes the first novel by the highly acclaimed writer Tarquin Hall in an entrancing new mystery series set in India.

The portly Vish Puri is India’s most accomplished detective, at least in his own estimation, and is also the hero of an irresistible new mystery series set in hot, dusty Delhi. Puri’s detective skills are old-fashioned in...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 2003)
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Everyone Burns by John DolanThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithThe Coroner's Lunch by Colin CotterillMurder Down Under by Arthur W. UpfieldThe Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Best Multicultural Mysteries
5th out of 109 books — 111 voters
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieOne for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Best Detective/Mystery Series
179th out of 1,189 books — 1,396 voters


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Poonam
Having heard so much about the book, I was eager to read the book. However, I was rather disappointed. To be fair, let us just say, it was nothing out of ordinary for me.

Vish Puri (pun on Hindi phrase for your wish comes true)is 51-year old Punjabi, pot-bellied private detective. (He is being India's Poirot.) But the book more reminded me of Mma Ramotswe for its sheer draggy quality.

However, don't get me wrong, my perspective is biased, since Delhi is home - this stereotyped peculiarity that Pu...more
Didi
I’m no expert when it comes to detective novels but when I read a good one I’m really happy about it and I just have to tell you guys about it. The Case of the Missing Servant ignited some kind of desire to read more detective novels, especially of its kind. What kind you may ask? Those that contain larger than life characters placed in the modern-day back drop of hustling and bustling India. All the elements for a captivating intrigue are present; starting with Vish Puri.... Go to http://didibo...more
Leila
Any fan of the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency (A McCall Smith) will find a new pleasure here. My mother recommended this author/series to me recently after reading The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, which is book 3. I like to try and read these in order if I can, so Missing Servant starts it off. Not only is there an interesting mystery to be solved by Vish Puri, private investigator; you will learn so much without being hit over the head with it about Punjabi (and Indian) life. In the way tha...more
Lori
It's funny how things find a strange way of lining themselves up. A few months ago, I came across an ARC copy of this novel at a local library sale. I flipped through it, read the back cover, and thought it sounded interesting. Once I got home, I stacked it up on my bookshelf with the other books I purchased that day, and there it sat... Until I met Lucinda, who with the authors literary agent, in NYC during the BEA.

She offered to have me host the author, Tarquin Hall, on TNBBC to discuss the no...more
Doreen
Mar 06, 2012 Doreen added it
This is the debut appearance of the Punjabi detective, Vish Puri, founder of Delhi's Most Private Investigators, Inc.

A maidservant has gone missing, and a crusading layer has been accused of killing her. Puri sets out to prove the attorney's innocence. (Other more minor cases are also investigated.)

Puri is called the Punjabi Sherlock Holmes and, although he shares similarities with a number of fictional detectives, he has a charm all his own. He is clever and resourceful but with enough eccentri...more
Laura
Just arrived from Tunisia through BM.

This is the first book of the series Vish Puri which meaning is "granter of wishes". He is the founder and director of Most Private Investigators Ltd.

The plot tells the story of a murder investigation in which a public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant.

Smita Beohar
The Case of the Missing Servant

Author: Tarquin Hall
Publisher: Random House
Price: Rs. 430/-
Let me make myself very clear at the outset. I have never been a fan of who-dun-it novels by Indian Authors. The only one that I have liked in recent times was Krishnna’s Konfession & that too I attribute to the fact that it was chick-lit cum mystery novel. My last attempt at Indian thriller (though I must accept it wasmore of a love story) was “My Friend Sancho” by Amit Verma. The book though listed Ma...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
Imagine Sherlock Holmes in modern-day India, and you've got a good feel for what this book is like. The Case of the Missing Servant is written in such a way that it was as if I was listening to the characters voices speaking (in English of course) with Indian accents. I was very impressed by this writing which was so easy to read, yet captured the grammatical idiosyncrasies of Indians speaking English.

Vish Puri is an intelligent private investigator who is famous for solving crimes, yet also doe...more
Julie Davis
Bookmark goes undercover as a maid, while Popcorn is outside drinking tea from a crumpled paper cup. Scott and Julie enjoy their new Punjabi nicknames almost as much as they enjoyed The Case of the Missing Servant. This book discussion is Episode 63 at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.

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#68 - 2010.

I learned about this series from Mystery Scene magazine. A judiciously quirky Indian detective (meaning realistic) and his operatives on an introductory case which also introduces...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
An enjoyable read that held my attention throughout. I'm the sort of person that usually has 2-4 books on the go at any one time, but this one took precedence until I finished it.
The Boss of Most Private Investigations takes on the tough cases himself. Whether it's vetting a prospective bridegroom or upsetting a bogus charge of murder, Vish Puri grants his clients' wishes. He's no Sherlock Holmes (as he says, Holmes is fiction while he is "really real") so sometimes things don't go to plan, but...more
Yvensong
In addition to being an interesting mystery (with a couple of side mysteries), the novel was full of the kind of writing that evokes a real experience for the senses. The smells, the sounds, the bright colors and the dingy back alleys, come to life.

The main character is so well described that one can see him sitting in a chair across the room. His self-confidence and arrogance are palpable. There were times when his arrogance made me grit my teeth, and I wanted to really dislike him, but it is...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
There was a popular song during my youth by a band called 10cc. The chorus of this song was, "I'm not in love/so don't forget it/it's just a silly phase I'm goin' through...." India, books Indian in setting and theme, Indian food *dripdrool*, Hindu theology, henna tattoos, all objects of fascination for me and much of the American culture just now. Fairly soon, I understand we're to get our first Tatas on these shores. (Go Google "Tata.")

So what's a weentsy-teentsy little shoestring publishing h...more
Elizabeth
The good - this is a fun read. It's funny and I can pick up some info on Indian culture and politics.

The bad - I think that authors writing of a culture that is not their own, have a responsibility to present at least some of the characters of that culture in a respectful way. Tarquin Hall does not do that. My understanding is that he has lived in India a long time but he is not Indian and all his characters are. At least one of them should be presented as if he were a real person with real feel...more
Jon
I picked this up with great hopes after reading To the Elephant Graveyard, but I'm afraid it didn't live up to my expectation. Vish Puri is more like Hercule Poirot than he is like Sherlock Holmes, and this first book in what is apparently going to be a series picks up on his career when he has already solved a good many mysteries. He is surrounded by a large cast of helpful family members and skillful employees, and he has already established a large collection of informers and people in high p...more
Susan
I loved this book and hope there are many more to come - Vish Puri is a great hero! "Chubby" to his loving wife Rumpi, "Mummy-ji" and wonderfully mixed bag of friends and associates, he calls himself India's Most Private Investigator and his ego (rightfully) equals Poirot himself. Puri carefully records all of his cases at completion, as he is sure future generations will want to study his methods and even has the title picked out for his future memoirs: "Confidentiality Is My Watchword".

Puri is...more
Lee
Need an exotic change of pace from mysteries set in Victorian London or Nowheresville, America? Has your favorite heroine been eating too many cheeseburgers? A trip to India is just the cure! Tarquin Hall emerses the reader into the rich culture and vibrant personalities in a modern day murder mystery - India style.

The lead character runs a detective agency with stylistic nods to Agatha Cristie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The humor is often tongue-in-cheek, poking at the inevitable bureaucracy,...more
Leah
A private detective in an exotic location- seems to be a trend. Yet again, the author isn't a native of India although he lives there now - Shades Of Alexander Smith McCall and his detective Mma Precious. But India is much more complex than Botswana and Vishi Puri is a more well rounded character.

Vish Puri makes his living as a private detective - mostly investigating prospective brides and grooms for the many arranged marriages. But there will be the big cases that come his way. Here he is deal...more
Shantanu
I've loaded my shelves with a lot of Indian detective fiction lately. There's Ray's entire set of Feluda stories with a lot of other novels. This one by Tarquin Hall was recommended by someone on Twitter and as it turns out, it isn't a bad book. I wanted to give it 2.5 stars but can't do that on Goodreads.

Tarquin's detective Vish Puri is a Delhi based punjabi detective who takes his job as seriously as he takes his chicken frankie. Tarquin has sketched Vish Puri's adventures in a bumbling, delh...more
Louise
Private Investigator Vish Puri is also the managing director of ‘Most Private Investigators Ltd. A well respected and honest public litigator has been accused of killing Mary, his maidservant. Vish must also investigate a second case involving a potential bridegroom.

Vish’s character is perfect except he has an immense fear of flying. Luckily for Vish, he has a team of operatives that support him, especially his Mommy who conducts her own investigation.

There are actually three mysteries in the st...more
Trish
This type of mystery is what I call Mystery-Lite; not much to it, but it goes down easy.

Vish Puri, the Principle of The Most Private Investigator Ltd., is assisted by his crack team of undercover agents with corny nicknames like Handbrake, Facecream and Flush, in solving “The Case of The Missing Servant” (the title just about sums it up), in addition to a smaller case investigating the veracity of a potential husband for another client. The plot is not complicated, nor are the characters and th...more
Gav Reads
I’ve found my new favourite detective. This time they are from India in the guise of portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, private detective Vish Puri.

The Case of the Missing Servant is our first introduction to this ‘Indian Poriot.’ An established detective, with an web of contracts and employees, Puri is very much a conductor and ring master, though even he has problems with an interfering mother. As an introduction it works well. Hall gives us several threads to follow. Not only do we...more
Lucinda
The Case of the Missing Servant (Simon & Schuster 2009) introduces Vish Puri, the portly Punjabi founder of Most Private Investigators Ltd., a detective agency in Delhi, India. Puri’s current case is the disappearance of a maid named Mary from the household of Ajay Kasliwal, a lawyer who targets corrupt government officials. A rumor is circulating that Kasliwal killed the maid after getting her pregnant, and Kasliwal is convince the smear campaign is retribution for his campaign against corr...more
Tze-Wen
After a week of emotionally charged books, I was ready to read something less serious, and it was right there and then that the colorful cover of Hall's novel beckoned to me. Spring has announced itself in the past few weeks, heating up my living room and forcing me to open up the curtain-less windows to a cacophony of happy chatting terrace loungers, soaking in the sun. When I closed my eyes, there were certainly moments that I could believe myself to be in dusty, crowded Delhi. If only I had a...more
Spuddie
In this thoroughly enjoyable first in series featuring PI Vish Puri in Delhi, India, you are not only introduced to a whole cache of fun and interesting characters but given a cultural tour of a middle-class Indian household as well. Puri is contacted by an old friend, a prominent lawyer who is being set up to take the fall for doing away with one of his former maidservants who disappeared a couple of months previously.

Puri and his crack team--whom he's given hilarious nicknames like Facecream,...more
Linda
Delightful, even if Vish Puri is a pompous, sexist ass sometimes.
Set in contemporary Delhi, Puri is hired to find out what happened to a missing servant girl whom his client is accused of killing. One subplot has him investigating the prospective groom of his client's daughter, and the other has his mother investigating who is responsible for shooting at him.
All the plots were satisfying, the characterization deft, and there was plenty of dry humor, too. Bonus points for the extensive glossary...more
Arminzerella
Vish Puri is India’s “most private investigator.” His cases generally involve delving into the lives of potential marriage candidates, digging up any dirt on them that he can find so that families can avoid disastrous arrangements. When Puri is called in to investigate the disappearance of a young woman and house servant, Mary, a body turns up that fits her description and the head of the household – a prominent lawyer – is accused of murdering her. Puri must find the girl and clear the man’s na...more
Ladiibbug
India's Most Private Investigator, as Vish Puri calls himself, faces several hurdles in defending an honest man accused of murder. Vish must deal with liars, a prosecutor who has convicted the man in his mind, and suspicious circumstances. And if the servant girl supposedly murdered isn't REALLY dead, how can Vish and his team find her in a country of 1 billion people?

This was a lighthearted mystery and it totally charmed me :-). Vish is highly confident of his abilities and is not shy about boa...more
Tweedledum
Tarquin Hall delights in spinning a mystery story that dances along amongst the sights and sounds and voices of India. Then suddenly we are pulled up sharp to bear witness to the exploitation and decimation of a community and environment. There, .... heart stops, shock registers, Hall has opened our eyes for a moment....then we're off again lightly traveling like a gawping tourist, eagerly awaiting a happy ending. Genius.

As Vish Puri juggles with time and geography to investigate 2 contrasting c...more
Jennifer
I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and had no particular expectations. In fact, it's a delightful mystery set in India, with lots of local color. Most Private Detective Vish Puri and his family and associates pull together several threads of more and less serious investigations. Like the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, this novel has the added draw of an international locale. Also like the McCall Smith books, there is a certain thoughtfulness, some insight into human nature. Why is it...more
Jill
Hmm. There was actually nothing *wrong* with the book. It was perfectly fine. The atmospherics of the book, if there is such a word, were delightful. And it made me hungry for Indian food! But the plot wasn't gripping, though I did and always do like the multiple mysteries going at once device, which the author used to good effect. The characters, with a few exceptions, didn't really grab me. It was an enjoyable read, but I certainly had no problem putting it down. (Which is probably for the bes...more
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Discussion 6 65 May 29, 2014 12:38PM  
The Readers: Book #10; The Case of the Missing Servant - Tarquin Hall 2 19 Sep 18, 2013 10:49AM  
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  • A Beautiful Place to Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1)
  • Blood of the Wicked
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  • Bruno, Chief Of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1)
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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, dozens of articles, and three works of non-fiction, including the highly acclaimed Salaam Brick Lane, an account of a year spent above a Bangladeshi sweat shop in London’s notorious East End. He is married to Indian-born jo...more
More about Tarquin Hall...
The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing (Vish Puri, #2) The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri, #3) The Case of the Love Commandos Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End To The Elephant Graveyard

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“Fortunately, getting hold of people’s garbage was a cinch. Indian detectives were much luckier than their counterparts in, say, America, who were forever rooting around in people’s dustbins down dark, seedy alleyways. In India, one could simply purchase an individual’s trash on the open market. All you had to do was befriend the right rag picker. Tens of thousands of untouchables of all ages still worked as unofficial dustmen and women across the country. Every morning, they came pushing their barrows, calling, “Kooray Wallah!” and took away all the household rubbish. In the colony’s open rubbish dump, surrounded by cows, goats, dogs and crows, they would sift through piles of stinking muck by hand, separating biodegradable waste from the plastic wrappers, aluminium foil, tin cans and glass bottles.” 0 likes
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