The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken


Vish Puri is as fond of butter chicken as the next Punjabi. So when it’s served at the Delhi Durbar hotel at an India Premier League cricket match dinner, he’s the first to tuck in. Faheem Khan, father of Pakistani star cricketer Kamran Khan, can’t resist either. But the creamy dish proves his undoing. After a few mouthfuls, he collapses on the floor, dead…

~Synopsis taken from Good Reads

This is a nice book – very light and a fun, frothy read. I liked it very much, maybe as much as I loved the first two books in the series (read my reviews here and here).

The third time around the writing just seems a bit too much, a little less subtle. Maybe it’s me, but I found the overdose of Indian English in the book a little jarring. There was just too much repetition of some slang Indian terms.

One annoying example…

I’ll be joining you shortly, na…or

We were all doing suffering, na

Imagine that almost every single conversation in the book runs along these lines…

It’s a known fact that a lot of Indians end their sentences, with the word na, and that a few use the present or past continuous tense (I can’t even make out what the tense in that second example is) in English when they ideally should be using past or present tense. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to include such lingo in a book. But here, it was almost like as if a copy writer had run amok and changed every single conversation to follow the same format of present/past continuous + super annoying na…probably for consistency purposes, LOL.

I am not a grammar nazi (far from it), but I found these dialogues hampered my enjoyment of this book. Maybe this issue was something that was also in the first 2 books, but I don’t remember getting irritated by it. Now, I definitely was.

The plot also seems a little overblown. Two big issues are combined into one book – sports gambling and Hindu-Muslim violence during the partition in 1947. In between, the book began to drag with the weight of these 2 big plot lines. The trademark humor is also a bit subdued, although there are some gems scattered here and there.

The partition issue was captured pretty sensitively though and I liked how it showed a different personal side of Vish Puri and his mummyji. There is also a minor mystery weaved in about a man robbed of his moustache, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

So, overall, this was a good book. It was probably not for me. I think that this series is starting to lose its fizz for me.

The book has excellent reviews though, so I think it’s probably just me not enjoying it as fully as I expected to.

Thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Oh, and by the way, it appears that Vish Puri may soon be landing on the big screens, if you go by this Hindustan Times article, and he may be played by the actor Anil Kapoor. For those who don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who played the host of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? show in Slumdog Millionaire.

Anil Kapoor used to be an excellent actor before he went on to play starring roles in Bollywood. Don’t believe what I’m saying? catch Woh Saat Din where he showed a lot of promise. Anyway, he is a good actor, but I just can’t visualize this man as short, tubby, Vish Puri who tops the scales at 90 kilos. I’m not saying he can’t do it, he could try to transform himself physically, put on some weight etc. to look the part, I just can’t visualize it though. Do you?

Did anyone else feel that this book didn’t live up to the first two books in the series?

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