Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Case of Missing Servant

'The Case of Missing Servant' is a decent detective novel by a British writer Tarquin Hall. This was my first detective novel based in India and in that way it was interesting. The author has tried to create a Sherlock Homes kind of character named, Vish Puri, who wears a Sandown cap and occasionally twirls his well curled up moustache. Somehow the character reminded me of Karamchand, an Indian detective played by gifted actor Pankaj Kapur on Doordarshan long time back.

The best part about the book is that it is based in India and majority of it in Delhi. Also, despite of the fact that the writer is British, he seems to have captured very minutely the nuances of India, particularly of Delhi. The scene that comes to my mind is when the driver of Vish Puri asks for direction of certain sector in Noida from a pizza delivery guy and the way the driver tells the directions is hilarious and can only happen in India (something to the effect of, near that park, besides that paani ke tanki and it goes on and on). Also, the characters in the book are extremely relate-able esp. nosy Mummy ji.

The area where the book falters is the ending which could have been more crisply written. There were a lot of loose ends esp. the motive of the culprit. Also, there were a couple of parallel stories going on which didn't add anything to the actual story.

Overall, the book is a light read that has the potential to become India's Sherlock Holmes kinda series but hopefully the next adventure of Vish Puri will do justice to that expectation.