Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken by Tarquin Hall

Review based on ARC.

This is the third mystery by Tarquin Hall involving the endearing Vish Puri, India's "Most Private" Investigator.  I have not read the other two books but, after having read this one, am definitely interested in seeking them out!

Vish Puri a/k/a Chubby is a detective with an addiction to the flavorful and savory foods of India.  I can relate.  Butter Chicken, or what I have called Chicken Tikka Makhani, is one of my favorite dishes, and I can understand the obsession.  However, Puri is more than just a stomach with good taste.  Puri is a detective who can and will handle all manner of cases, even that as bizarre as a missing mustache.

The thrust of this book revolves around the murder mystery of the father of a Pakistani cricket hero while eating at a post-match dinner.  In order to solve the mystery of who has poisoned the victim, Puri investigates various dark underbellies -- gambling, smuggling, and match-fixing.  Puri even takes the investigation into history, and we lean about the blood and horror of the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan.  In doing so, Puri is eventually led a lot closer to home then he ever hoped to be:  he must work with his mother, Mummy-ji, who has herself sworn off investigation.

Throughout the food and the mystery, there is humor.  The book is endearing, entertaining, and satisfying.  Recommended to readers who like mysteries, who have a sense of humor, and who at least understand why Makhani is so good.....

FOUR of five stars.

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