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Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation #1

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

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On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.

The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant. As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought. And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs...

316 pages, Paperback

First published August 13, 2015

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About the author

Vaseem Khan

43 books793 followers
Vaseem Khan is the author of two crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series, and the Malabar House historical crime novels. His first book, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Times bestseller, now translated into 15 languages, and introduced Inspector Chopra of the Mumbai police and his sidekick, a one-year-old baby elephant. The second in the series won a Shamus Award in America. In 2018, he was awarded the Eastern Eye ACTA (Arts, Culture and Theatre Award) for Literature. Vaseem was born in London, but spent a decade in India as a management consultant. Since 2006 he has worked at University College London’s Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science. The first book in his new series is Midnight at Malabar House, set in Bombay 1950 and introducing Persis Wadia, India’s first female police detective.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,436 reviews
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews735 followers
February 20, 2020
On the day that he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that he had inherited an elephant...

I enjoyed this book! It's just great fun, interesting, entertaining, heartwarming and quite an unexpected nice read, so...recommended! And who can think of a cute baby elephant playing a key role in the story? The lead character is Ashwin Chopra, a man of integrity with a rigid sense of honesty and fairplay. A man passionate about the social ills that plague his country. Married with Poppy, the book starts with Ashwin retiring early as Inspector, after having suffered a major heart attack. But Chopra can't sit at home.... and he is drawn into a case which started on the day of his retirement, the death of a young man. Things go from there. Also, on the day of his retirement a gift arrives at his house from an uncle: a baby elephant. Refusing to eat at first and pining away in the courtyard of Chopra's home in a big tower, Baby Ganesh turns out to be an intelligent animal, and a fierce protector of Chopra at just the right times..... Interesting to read about the city of Mumbai as well, colorful, sweltering hot, rich and poor, monsoons...
What a delightful surprise, great book!
Profile Image for Vishnu Chevli.
650 reviews564 followers
January 19, 2021
[Edited - Added Author Interview Link]

Four months back while window-shopping I found an interesting cover of "The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star". It is the latest book by Vaseem Khan in series of A Baby Ganesh Agency. I instantly liked the book and checked more about the author and his work. My efforts led two more books in the same series released earlier. We also got the chance to interview Vaseem on our blog. I got my hands on the first part of the series "The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra" around a month back. I should be punished for not taking the book with priority, but I am glad that I have broken the queue and taken book earlier than my planner prompted me.

"The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra" is the first book in series and has its importance to take readers into the world of "Baby Ganesh Investigation Agency" sequels. The story started with the retirement of Inspector Ashwin Chopra. Ashwin Chopra had to take earlier retirement under medical conditions. But taking an early retirement for a person like Chopra was not easy to accept. On top of that, on his retirement, he inherited a baby elephant from his uncle. He was asked to take good care of the elephant. Chopra was promised that elephant was not a normal animal. If that was not enough, on last day of the job, he found out a case of a drowned boy. Police found boy's dead body from a sewer, and boy was drunk. Boy belonged to a poor family, and boy's mother wanted justice for her son's death. Chopra assured justice to the lady but it was his last day at the job and he was not able to do anything for the boy.

Police wanted to close the case as accidental death due to alcohol consumption. Being an expert in the field of crime cases, Chopra smelled something fishy in the behavior of his superior and inspector appointed in his place. He started investigating the case independently; and started finding shocking revelation one after another. The story became interesting as little elephant came handy to Chopra at multiple instances.

The story is gripping yet light. You don't have to give extra effort to understand what is happening. Flow is flawless. I finished the book in 3 sittings. The book is written with an audience in mind. Every detailing, character and scene were portrayed with a proper thought process. It shows efforts applied behind the work. Author has nicely placed comic, thrill and drama in story keeping overall tempo. The book can be easily adopted as movie or series.

Detailed Review Link - http://chevusread.blogspot.in/2017/05...
Author Interview Link - http://chevusread.blogspot.com/2017/0...
Profile Image for carol..
1,565 reviews8,204 followers
November 12, 2017
"The next morning Inspector Chopra awoke for the first time in thirty-four years without the knowledge that he was a police officer.

For a while he lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. He felt his body urging him to get up, shower, and put on his uniform. Inertia; wasn't that what people called it? After all, when one has been running, it takes a while for the body to stop even though the finishing line has been crossed. When he arrived at the breakfast table, dressed in a plain white shirt and cotton trousers, he felt strangely naked.

Poppy was already bustling around the kitchen with the housemaid, Lata, and flashed him a welcoming smile. 'How nice to have you home for breakfast,' she beamed. 'I've made your favorite: masala dosa with sambar.'"

Inspector Chopra has spent over thirty years on the police force in Mumbai, and the day before he is to retire for medical reasons, he receives a note from his uncle leaving him a baby elephant. But he can't deal with that now; there are too many things on his mind. What about the distressed woman accusing the local police that they don't care about her dead son? And what about his wife, Poppy, and her conviction that anything non-sedentary would cause him another and potentially fatal heart attack?

It's an interesting tale, set in the wildly growing city of Mumbai, where money greases all wheels. True to the detective tradition, the setting comes alive as Chopra travels from place to place. Any inadequacies in visualization are solely my own, hamstrung as I am by life in the U.S. and a lack of travel. The puzzle unfolds quite well, with one discovery leading to the next, although Chopra also spends hours and hours on stakeout. I found myself partially distracted with concerns on the care and feeding of elephants, which was likely not Khan's intention. He should be careful how he uses pachyderms! The end takes a surprisingly dark and deep turn, perhaps incongruous with much of the earlier story, but I think perhaps fitting for the idea Khan wants to convey about Mumbai. But it all comes out well in the end.

I enjoyed it and will no doubt try the next in the series when in the mood for a gentle mystery. Besides---a baby elephant! Recommended for fans of Inspector Singh (Shamini Flint), Dr. Siri (Colin Cotterill) and of Precious Ramotswe (Shamini Flint), as well as anyone else who enjoys a mystery sans blood and gore.
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
815 reviews614 followers
August 24, 2023
2.5 ✭

Nope, didn't really care for this tale.

The feeling that this wasn't written by a native born Indian (& I was right)

The writing was very heavy handed, clumsy and amateurish. Too much telling, not showing - & done repetitively.

...This last was directed at her son-in-law, against whom she had always held a grudge for not being Jagirdar Mohan Vishwanath Deshmukkk, landowner and erstwhile suitor of her daughter.

We know!!! Halfway through the book & this has already been mentioned several times. Khan isn't big on subtlety. Every point in this book is sledgehammered across. Multiple times.

A couple of things the proofreader should have picked up.

There were two men in the room, sitting at the small table that Chopra had seen before.

The idea that an Inspector who had retired from the police force through ill health would decide that chasing after underworld figures was a way to restore himself to good health. The feeble way the The whole book swung uneasily between an Indian version of a cosy & a much darker, sadder story.

I did like Chopra himself, an upright man in a corrupt world.

But the only thing I really loved was Ganesha the baby elephant who is foisted on Chopra. The scene where Chopra has Ganesha - that made me laugh till I cried. & if the author wanted to show Chopra's wife Poppy's caring side - her relationship with the depressed Ganesha does that far more effectively than the first scene I have spoilered.

My library does have The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown I may try that to see if the author does resolve the problems with his writing style - which I did find very amateurish.

2✭ bumped up to 2.5✭ for Ganesha.

Profile Image for Margitte.
1,177 reviews539 followers
May 8, 2017
Mumbai India

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.

The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant.

As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.

And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs...

I just loveeeeed this book. Charming, adventurous, picturesque, heartwarming, culturally rich, and a baby elephant to cuddle with all the love in the whole wide world.

This book is so much more than that. Inspector Ashwin Chopra faces retirement with his beloved wife, Poppy, but also with his curmudgeon old mother-in-law who, through all the years, never forgave her daughter for marrying a policeman. She could have married a rich old landowner, divorced and twice her age, a crook and thief, but Poppy chose the honorable, honest policeman instead. Totally unacceptable and vile of beloved Poppy! Inspector Chopra believed that God was democratic. He actually agreed with God's decision to lure Chopra's good and gentle father-in-law to heaven, leaving the old nosy MIL on earth alone to smother in her miserable personality. However, the contentment in the partnership with the Heavenly Being quickly turned sour and into discontent when the MIL moved in with her daughter. Retirement was a bittersweet prospect. Chopra had to do something ...

On the last afternoon of his thirty year long career as a respected Inspector of police, Ashwin Chopra arrived home to find his inheritance already waiting outside the apartment building: a baby elephant, who decided to commit suicide by going on a hunger strike. When the monsoon broke out in full force over the city of Mumbai, Chopra, who could not swim, dove into the water which dammed in the apartment's court yard to safe Baby Elephant's life. Poppy bathed the little darling, and introduced him to her favorite soapies on tv in the apartment on the fifteenth floor. All he needed was the warm duvets she covered him with, and Poppy and Chopra's tender loving care. Oh! Oh! Oh! and his favorite Cadbury's Milk chocolates. Vicks for a watery nose, and mother-in-law's secret balm for his skin did the trick there on the apartment's living room floor. Life was suddenly secure and good. Since then, Ganesha, our beloved baby elephant, was determined to protect and love his new parents back with all his mysterious powers.

Retired Inspector Ashwin Chopra, a one-man-band in catching old crooks and thieves, got a self-appointed partner in fighting crimes in the city which the police were too corrupt to attend to themselves. Ganesha knew nothing about human rights, political correctness or being nice to the people endangering his new daddy's life. He could smell the criminals miles away and nothing stopped him from playing his part in destroying the criminal syndicates of politicians, policemen and bad people who murdered an innocent poor boy. They never saw Ganesha coming until it was sooooo late....Even Inspector Ashwin Chopra was dumbfounded.

I had so much fun with this book. Riveting and entertaining. What a joy!
Profile Image for Martin Belcher.
408 reviews36 followers
August 29, 2015
There is something uniquely fascinating about India and it's culture, I completely love everything about it, the food, the people the wonderfully intoxicating mix of sounds, warmth, monsoons etc.
I heard about this book from seeing an interview with the author on Breakfast TV and felt hooked and wanted to read it. To be honest crime fiction is not a love of mine and I tend to steer clear of it but with the mix of Indian culture and an elephant I wanted to give it a try.
I absolutely loved it! The main character Inspector Ashwin Chopra is a magnificent Indian version of Poirot, a wonderfully colourful and instantly likeable character that moves the story along in both a lighthearted and serious way.
The story begins with Chopra's retirement from the Mumbai police force and an uneasy transfer into civilian life, one that he doesn't really enjoy. He is unexpectedly left a baby elephant by his late Uncle Bansi. The elephant is charming and at first Chopra wants nothing more than to rid himself of this burden but as the story evolves we find Chopra and the elephant are linked in many ways. A young boy is found dead and what might be a simple case of drowning refuses to settle in Chopra's mind, although retired from the Mumbai Police, he takes up the case himself and investigates it further and clue after clue leads him further down into the dark seedy criminal elements of the great city of Mumbai.
A wonderful story, at heart a crime mystery but filled with comical moments and lavishly set in exotic Mumbai, it took me there and kept me hooked. Loved it!
Profile Image for Babs.
563 reviews10 followers
March 20, 2016
This book is very similar to Alexander McCall Smith's series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. There are numerous parallels between the two books, and the main characters are very similar. However, while the McCall Smith books are engaging, well written and good page-turners; Khan's book falls short on a number of levels.

The book starts off promisingly, and the notion of a baby elephant being sent to live in downtown Mumbai is an interesting start. However the book kind of doesn't really go anywhere from here, and meanders around until it limps towards a conclusion. There are lots of descriptions of Mumbai and the surrounding areas - from wealthy mansions to the poorest slums. But even then it didn't really evoke a sense of the noise and colour of these Indian cities. The characters were OK, but I found Poppy, Inspector Chopra's wife, to be annoying and insignificant. Without wishing to add a spoiler, something does happen with Poppy in the book which is just left hanging at the end - which was not just irritating, but was downright pointless in the story.

By the end, the book really dragged and it took me a couple of days to limp through the last 80 pages or so. I was reaching the point where I wasn't really looking forward to reading it, which is bad news indeed!

The series has potential. But Khan needs to sharpen up his writing and bring more life to his surroundings and his characters before I'll return to the Baby Ganesh Agency series.

This review was originally posted on Babs' Bookshelf
Profile Image for John Naylor.
929 reviews15 followers
May 27, 2015
I received this book for free via Goodreads First Reads.

I had no idea what to expect from this book except for it to contain an elephant. What I found was a tale I want to describe as 'sweet' but as it contains deaths and criminal activity I need a better word which is not currently available to me. It has a very interesting main character with a very supportive and intriguing wife who has her own subplot.

The book is primary a detective novel but not like one I have ever read before. Various supporting characters add to the book but to be honest the one that matters is the elephant. To have an elephant sidekick in a story set in India just feels right. The city of Mumbai features heavily and I enjoyed the descriptions of the city and its various areas.

I loved the flowing writing style and the way the author paints a picture with his words. I did enjoy the book from start to finish and I will read any sequels given the chance. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a different read or is into detective fiction.

Oh, and it has a elephant! I love that!
Profile Image for Eva.
254 reviews63 followers
August 9, 2018
Unique book which offers some interesting information about modern India. Besides also having an interesting detective plot. Fun to read, well written. I have read it in English. I must admit that some words are difficult because as a dutch woman i dont have any knowledge about India or any of the Indian words, which are doubtlessly comon knowledge to many Brits.

3,5 stars. Nice read.
Profile Image for Aditya.
270 reviews83 followers
October 2, 2021
Amateurish in a lot of ways, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra was a slog to get through. The writing is insipid and stilted often using redundancies like heart thundering in his ribcage because no one knows where hearts are located or thinking That is not that, this is this is an example of smart retort. But the most amateurish mistake are its tonal inconsistencies. It is a gritty police procedural where the nobler than noble cop has a magical elephant as a sidekick. It is completely straight faced about the magical elephant too!!

Most people will get into the book for its gimmick of a police procedural set in contemporary Mumbai. And I even see some readers praising Khan for providing cultural insights into India. Well it doesn't, it is cliched to the point of being absurd. Saying all Jews are only good with money or saying all Texans talk in an unintelligible drawl would be an equivalent comparison. Khan lacks nuance and he probably has neither spent much time in the country nor done much research about it.

For example Chopra takes his elephant (it is the titular inheritance) everywhere around with him including a busy mall. Hell he keeps it in his flat. That is ridiculous, it would never happen. Elephants don't roam around malls or roads here. Khan also calls rickshaws as ricks, that makes as much sense as calling taxis as tax. It is not an abbreviation that I have ever heard used in Mumbai or any other part of India. Chopra's mother-in-law keeps sniping at her including insulting him in front of others. Once again a lack of cultural understanding exhibited by Khan. In a patriarchal society like India a mother-in-law won't do that to the son-in-law when the son-in-law is the one paying the bills. Chopra's family subplots are unbelievably corny. They are too melodramatic for day time soap operas so I don't know what they are doing in a crime book.

The mystery deals with a retired cop trying to solve the case of a poor murdered kid. It leads him back to his dead arch nemesis. Maybe Khan was trying to pay some sort of homage to old Bollywood melodramas but I never cared about them. I know more about film history than most and Indian movies have been historically considered something more akin to circus than cinema. The plot is pretty basic with the only wildcard being Ganesha, the elephant. He often comes out of nowhere to kill bad guys, hell he once ran in pouring rain for an hour to save Chopra. It won't be a problem if I was 5 years old but because I am not I will call it what it is - awful, awful plotting.

My last problem is more personal in nature. The dialogue and the interactions ringed false to me as all literature written in English but set in India always does to me. Only 2-3 percent of the country is capable of holding a conversation in English and they are part of the affluent sections of the society. So a constable or a goon won't use the words they did in the book. I myself had tried to write in English here and pretty much faced the same problem. Short of making all characters upper class, there are no easy solutions to the problem, but it takes me out of the book when proper, grammatical English is spoken by characters who I know from experience won't even know rudimentary English. If you want a crime series set in India, go for Abir Mukherjee's Sam Wyndham series, because this is a disappointment on all counts. Rating - 1/5
Profile Image for Susan Hampson.
1,522 reviews58 followers
May 26, 2018
Ashwin Chopra is a little unusual to the normal sort of detectives that I read about. Set in Mumbai there were lots of cultural differences and he has just retired from the police force, rather than just setting out. But the biggest difference was where as some people have a dog as a pet he has a baby elephant. An unusual gift from an uncle and one that at first he didn’t really know what to do with. One thing for sure though was that he is adorable, the elephant that is, but scared and pinning for his former life the little fellow is really struggling.
Now Chopra has been a very dedicated man in his role of Inspector and he just can’t bring himself to either physically and mentally walk away from his last case on his last day, as the body of a young boy is found dead. Although put down to a tragic accident the former Inspector just feels that there is far more to it than that. So begins the most unusual partnership between Chopra and Ganesha the baby elephant.
I can’t even write this review without having a constant smile of my face, don’t get me wrong the case Chopra is working on is very real and very dangerous as he doesn’t have the back up of the police any more but Ganesha definitely pulls his weight and that is quite a weight to pull! The scenes of the little guy at the shopping centre and Chopra’s home are very funny, scary and at times touching, especially with Chopra’s wife Poppy. Married for many years the couple have remained childless which has put Poppy under the constant worry of not giving her husband a son or even a daughter.
The writing is light and very entertaining. Yes, people do die in this story but those scenes are not graphically described to make it uneasy reading, just little quickening of the pulse rate rather than lock all the doors stuff. Ganesha soon becomes a very loyal asset to Chopra, where I was like wow! Did that little elephant really do that! But both man and beast had something missing in their lives and that was each other. This is going to be one cracking little series.
Profile Image for Christine.
831 reviews150 followers
August 10, 2017
On a cold wet day in summer, there is nothing better than a bit of crime from a country where the sun actually makes an appearance. I decided to read The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan, after hearing about it recently at the Bradford Literature Festival. It is the start of a quirky series set in Mumbai, India. It features a retired police officer and his pet baby elephant.

The story introduces Inspector Ashwin Chopra. We find out that Chopra is on his final day, before retirement. He has had to retire, due to a dicky ticker. He is happily married to Poppy and in his fifties. He is a good honest man. He loves his country. He has a passion for solving crime.

Chopra becomes obsessed with the murder of Santosh. The death of Santosh was his final case. It was of no interest to Chopra's successor, who has written it off as suicide. Chopra starts to investigate privately. He spends his retirement trailing suspects and hunting for clues. He is away so often, his poor wife thinks he is having an affair. Events take a dark turn, as Chopra begins to realise what Santosh's death means.

The beauty of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is that it gives you a whole new culture to discover. India is a fascinating place, full of contradictions and a rich history. We see the poverty and the slums. The rain and the excessive heat. It feels familiar and strange. We get to know Chopra, a middle class, intelligent man with a good moral compass. He is the kind of man, you cannot help but relate to. The story is delightful and easy to lose yourself in. It is not often you get to know a character, who has a baby elephant as a companion. There is a light-hearted touch to the writing. This is not heavy crime. It is the kind that is very welcome.

Fabulous. This is crime, with light humour and an engaging plot. A cute elephant. A super new detective. What is not to love. Recommended.

Profile Image for Susan.
2,693 reviews595 followers
January 3, 2019
This is a fun, and gentle, mystery, set in modern India. Inspector Chopra has been a Mumbai police inspector for many years, when he is forced into retirement because of a heart problem. However, his chance of stress free relaxation is made difficult on his last day of work, when he inherits two things – firstly, a case that his successor is unwilling to investigate, and, secondly, a baby elephant, left to him by his uncle.

The case involves the murder of a young man, found drowned near a sewer pipe, with a bottle of whiskey found nearby. When his mother cries that poor people, like her and her son, will get no justice, Chopra is determined to find out the truth behind his death. The elephant is a little more complicated… Where can a man who lives in an apartment block, with his beloved wife, Poppy, permanently disgruntled mother in law and complaining neighbours, keep an elephant? Especially a depressed, little elephant, who is refusing to eat?

Much of the joy of this novel is in the characters that populate the book. They are people you want to get to know better. However, this mystery does also look at serious issues, as Inspector Chopra solves the crime and determines what to do in his retirement, as well as dealing with his chocolate loving inheritance. Quirky and humorous, this is a delightful start to a series that I will be following.

Rated 3.5

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,585 followers
March 3, 2017
Basically a cosy mystery, very much in the vein of No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency/Dr Siri. Very fluently written, vivid description of Mumbai; likeable characters; cute elephant for a bit of magic. Murder plot was a little thin and lacked grounding to give the reader a chance (or it was so incredibly clever I missed all the clues, one of the two).

I find something weird about cosy mysteries tbh. Let's curl up for a fun read about warm, mildly eccentric but good hearted characters solving savage, brutal crimes! Particularly in the midst of a city of incredible poverty and hardship for millions. But if Midsomer can have all those murders, why not Mumbai. I think probably I'm just not a cosy murder reader.
Profile Image for Fred Shaw.
562 reviews43 followers
February 6, 2017
Wonderful story, delightful to read with laugh out loud moments. Incredible creativity. In Mumbai, a police detective retires and comes home to find he is the proud owner of ??? I won't give away this secret because it is too important. Read this book. You will be glad you did. The author Vaseem Kahn has another book and I am procuring it now.
Profile Image for Katerina.
831 reviews694 followers
June 8, 2021
On the day he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that he had inherited an elephant.

Честный, порядочный, серьезный инспектор Чопра выходит на пенсию: доктор сказал, после того случая с сердцем надо поберечь и себя, и преступников. Жена инспектора, Поппи, только рада: наконец-то можно будет откормить тощего мужа обильными завтраками. Да вот незадача: аккурат в предпенсионный день дома инспектора ждет "молодой слон", килограммчиков двести, не больше, а на работе - труп молодого человека из бедного квартала, который руководство настойчиво советует записать как несчастный случай. Но не так простодушен наш бравый инспектор, чтобы дать вероятному жулику ускользнуть.

Chopra unchained Ganesha and began following him.

Эта книжка, безусловно, для любителей и ценителей Индии - с ее хаосом и коровами посреди дороги, с "мумбайкерами" и специями ста восьмидесяти сортов, с жарой и проливными дождями, в одночасье затапливающими двор многоэтажного дома. Не знаю, действительно ли в лифты таких домов помещается молодой слоненок, но, если верить автору, сотрудники торговых центров точно не удивятся, если вы придете за покупками в обществе своего немаленького друга.

Behind him, Ganesha had planted his feet and was making it clear that he had no intention of boarding the moving staircase.

В общем, если детективная составляющая вас не очень увлечет, хотя бы узнаете, чем заманить слона на эскалатор.
Profile Image for Kayla P.
2 reviews
July 8, 2016
I wanted to love this book.
I carefully picked it out while I was visiting Powell's "city of books" and really wished I had picked something else.
It starts of promising: a retiring detective in India gets a baby elephant and one last murder case to solve! I was very disappointed with everything after that.
The book went all over the place. The elephant wasn't significant in 80% of the story... it almost feels as though it was added just for the cute cover.
Chopra's character is cliche and unlikable. His wife is forgettable.
I give the author credit for trying to get the reader to be aware of gentrification in India and all the wealth disparity, it is just poorly executed.
The mystery itself is not very interesting. The "plot twists" are cliche, predictable, and boring.
I couldn't bring myself to read the last 50 pages... I lost all interest and couldn't make myself read anymore.
Profile Image for Julie  Durnell.
1,032 reviews111 followers
October 26, 2022
Mediocre-I have finished the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall and was looking for something similar, sadly this won't fit the bill for me.
581 reviews128 followers
August 29, 2022
This was like watching a masala Bollywood movie, and equally forgettable. Thankfully it was quite short.
I might read the next in the series, only if I have nothing else to read. Thank Heavens for my never-ending TBR pile.

Yes, a chocolate bar is what is needed to help even a baby elephant out of depression 😀🍫🍫
Profile Image for Shabbeer Hassan.
587 reviews35 followers
August 21, 2019
A sort of fun story with a baby elephant (India of course, so duh!) serving as the literal avatar of deus ex machina to a grumpy, stoic DI Chopra of Mumbai Police. Complete with cliches picked up in heaps from Bollywood, this is what a book version of the famed Tinseltown would have been.

My Rating - 2.5/5
Profile Image for Lori.
1,164 reviews33 followers
July 7, 2019
Forced into early retirement, Inspector Chopra feels the need to investigate a drowning which occurred on his last day in office. His higher-ups want to rule it accidental, but he gets a coroner's report on the sly and discovers his suspicions correct. He also received an unusually talented elephant from his uncle. The elephant even goes into his apartment. While Chopra gets himself into some hot water a couple of times because he acts alone, the book still entertains. His suspicious wife Poppy thinks her husband sought solace with another woman because of her inability to produce children. I feel certain Poppy's story sets up future plotlines because it added little to this one. I suspect I enjoyed it more than some because I listened to the audio version. The detective story's average storyline gets a boost from the elephant superstar, raising the star rating from 3 to 3.5.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,539 reviews595 followers
August 30, 2016
This is a lighthearted mystery set in exotic Mumbai. The sense of place is well done, with the city's various neighbourhoods, its sites and smells, it's traffic and its class structure almost putting the reader there.

Inspector Chopra has just retired, and is not looking forward to the boredom ahead. He has a admirable reputation in the police force as a great detective and an honest and honourable man. Chopra states that he loved solving mysteries and his part in seeing that justice was served.

On the day of his retirement a young man is found drowned. His distraught mother believes he has been killed, but Chopra's replacement refuses to open an investigation and writes the death off as an accident or suicide. Chopra hearing the mother wail that nothing will be done because they are poor promises her that he will discover what happened.

Chopra has also been given a depressed baby elephant which may be attempting suicide by starving itself. Chopra knows nothing about caring for an elephant, especially a sick one. He purchases books to find out how to care for the animal and visits veterinarians and the zoo. He gets a lot of contradictory advice, and looks for information on a good shelter where it can be cared for. There is a harsh landlady who does not want Ganesh (named after the Hindu elephant God) chained in her yard or in their apartment during monsoon flooding. Poppy, his supportive wife,has no objection to Ganesh.

Both Chopra and Poppy are very likeable characters. Poppy is happy that her husband will no longer out solving crimes now that he has retired, and especially after a recent heart attack. As clues start adding up suggesting the drowned boy was murdered, Chopra gets no cooperation from his former police department, so he decides to work on the case secretly so not to worry Poppy. Being childless, Poppy thinks his absences from home are the result of him seeing a younger woman who can provide him with babies. His investigation leads him deep into the underworld of criminal activity and into danger. Must not forget there is an elephant involved!!

A delightful read for those who like their detectives working in exotic locales.
Profile Image for kate.
1,220 reviews947 followers
December 20, 2015
A wonderfully written, gently paced detective novel. I loved the way Mumbai and Indian culture was portrayed, since I've not read many books set in India, I really enjoyed the imagery in this book. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the gentle pace of the story, it was such a lovely read. Great characters with a brilliant plot and the added bonus of an adorable baby elephant.
Profile Image for John.
Author 339 books166 followers
November 17, 2015
My wife picked up an ARC of this at BookExpo in the spring, and loved it. She told me firmly that I should read it and so finally, after the requisite amount of resentful grumbling, I did. And, when I finished it, I thanked her for her persistence.

Inspector Ashwin Chopra of the Mumbai police retires relatively young at the insistence of his wife Poppy, because he had a minor heart attack a while back. On his last day he reluctantly leaves unfinished the case of a boy who's been found drowned; his superior is determined the death was just an accident, but Chopra isn't so sure and can't get it out of his mind. And so he decides to do a little independent sleuthing, while being careful not to let Poppy know what he's up to in case it might worry her . . . or annoy her.

But there's another complication. An eccentric uncle from whom Chopra has heard nothing in years has bequeathed to him a baby elephant, Ganesh. How do you look after even a very small elephant in an urban environment like Mumbai? The answer is, of course: with very great difficulty. But Chopra perseveres and discovers that the little elephant is the best sidekick a private detective could hope to have, as his original murder case expands until it involves some of Mumbai's most powerful and respected figures . . .

This is a genuinely charming tale, although at the same time the crime involved and the background of corruption mean that it can't be read a cozy: in fact, behind the amiable surface lies quite a hard-hitting tale. Imagine a Raymond Chandler novel written by Giovannino Guareschi, of Don Camillo fame, and you might get something of a taste of this curious, but very pleasing, juxtaposition of style and content.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra isn't a life-changer, or anything of that ilk. What it offers is quiet, almost old-fashioned entertainment. Much recommended.
Profile Image for Sally906.
1,376 reviews3 followers
October 12, 2015
The story opens on the day Inspector Chopra retires from the police; a day when he realises that his replacement is not going to care about the crimes committed against the poor; and the day he gets a delivery of a depressed baby elephant from his wacky late uncle.

Faced with the prospect of dreary boring retirement he decides to investigate the unexplained death of a local lad written off as suicide by his replacement. His little elephant – now named Ganesha after the elephant god – snaps out of his funk and (strange as this sounds) plays an important part in the ensuing investigation.

As the investigation unfolds the reader gets to see India come alive on the pages. The supporting cast are all well developed and are totally believable. There are a couple of threads going on – and despite the nasty underworld that Chopra has to deal with – there is lightness and humour. Especially once Chopra’s wife believes he is seeing another woman.

If you love the writing and atmosphere of Agatha Christie’s Periot investigations and Alexander McCall Smith No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books you will enjoy this.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,764 reviews205 followers
July 22, 2017
3-3.5 stars. A light start, with a baby elephant delivered to Ashwin Chopra, police officer, on the day of his retirement from the Mumbhai police force. Retirement doesn't sit well with Chopra, and he begins investigating, on his own, the death of a young man, while coping with an apparently despondent elephant. The case takes Chopra around the city, uncovering corruption (not surprising) leading to darker situations. The ending, however, was a return to the lightness of the beginning, with a way forward for Chopra's retirement and for the elephant.
Profile Image for Caroline.
781 reviews232 followers
December 22, 2018
Charming. Plot is not the strong point, and culprits’ confession at the end is a weak and non-credible finish, but the characters and depiction of life in Mumbai redeem it. I’ll read more. Can’t give it a four star rating, but I enjoyed it a lot.
Profile Image for nastya ♡.
870 reviews83 followers
March 3, 2023
acab doesn’t apply to baby ganesh. he’s just a tiny elephant.
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
2,410 reviews
February 7, 2018
I L O V E D this book!! OH. MY. GOSH.

What a great trip to Mumbai India this was! I loved learning about Inspector Chopra, his beautiful baby elephant Ganesh and his hilarious wife Poppy!! I cannot even go into details about this book because even one little glimpse will ruin it all for you. Just know that this is a most excellent book, and even BETTER audiobook [I loved every second of this] and you should be reading/listening to this right now. Go on! RUN to your store and buy it now. Go. ;-)

Cannot wait for the next one!!
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