The Case of the Man who Died Laughing


Detective Vish Puri and his fellow band of detectives are back investigating what appears to be a supernatural murder.

On first appearances, it seems that Goddess Kali is angy with rationalist Dr. Suresh Jha and has decided to kill him in public view, proving once and for all that God exists. Vish Puri investigates closely and discovers that there are a number of other additional probable causes for Dr. Jha’s violent death.

In the meantime, somebody has held up a kitty party that Rumpi (Vish Puri’s wife), and his mother attend. Immediately, the two amateur detectives are on the hunt for the culprit.

My Review

This is a solid second book in this series. Hilarious and topical just like the first one, with a touch of the bizarre to boot. The plot is a little bit over the top but Tarquin is able to make it work.

I generally love his almost Wodehousian sense of humor and his wonderful way with words. Consider his description of a lady showing off photographs of her recent trip to the great lakes.

“They are really great in every sense” she said, showing the other women some of the dozens of photographs her husband had taken of her obscuring a series of dramatic landscapes.

In short, all the while I was reading this book, I had a sort of silly smile stuck to my face.

The only drawbacks I see as to why this series might not be a runaway success is also the greatest strength of this series. His books accurately capture the local flavor, but a lot of the inside jokes could fly high over the heads of someone who is not a local, or who is not too area of India. And that means, they are missing out on half the fun of these books. He had very kindly created a glossary at the end of this book, so readers can look up the indianisms and the Indian English phrases that he uses.

But some local history is referred to without too much explanation. A passing reference to the Ganesha drinking milk miracle will make absolutely no sense to a non-Indian (or may be I am underestimating people’s knowledge of Indian trivia, I don’t know). I think for such cases, footnotes would be helpful.

For me, an Indian living in India, the book reads pretty authentic, pretty funny. I loved it and am looking forward to more Vish Puri outings in the future.

Thanks to Lucinda from Fletcher and Co. and Tarquin Hall for sending me this book to read and review.

%d bloggers like this: