Valentina's Reviews > The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing

The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall
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Jul 05, 10

Read in June, 2010

Tarquin Hall simply gets India. A British journalist who lives in Delhi and who's married to an Indian woman, he combines an insider's understanding of the country with an outsider's necessarily-surprised look at all of India's never ending quirkiness.

Food is the prime example, with Private Investigator Vish Puri constantly nibbling on all sorts of dishes, eaten while sitting down at restaurants or while playing chess at Puri's all-gentlemen club, bought on the go from greasy food stalls, or quickly devoured in his office, from the tin box Puri's wife fills in the morning with an always-changing combination of spicy delicacies.

But there's more to food in Hall's books, there's a lot of Indian culture and societal mores. Take for example kitty parties, where housewives meet, about once a month, to gossip, and to award each other small sums of money via an equitable draw, in what basically is a very peculiar kind of lottery/loan system.

Small pictures of contemporary India that would be hard to get access to otherwise. And the plots of Hall's crime novels are always funny and enthralling.

This book, newly released, is the second in the nascent series about Vish Puri.

Highly recommended.
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