The Case of the Love Commandos

caselovecommandosThe delightful Vish Puri of India’s Most Private Investigations Ltd. returns in THE CASE OF THE LOVE COMMANDOS, a respectable addition to the series canon of author Tarquin Hall. In this installment, one of Puri’s beautiful associates, Facecream, is involved with the Love Commandos, a group of individuals infuriated by India’s caste system that prevents people of one caste from marrying into another.

Ram Sunder is a Dalit, one of the nearly untouchables. It has been his bad luck (or fate) to fall in love with Tulsi, a high-born daughter of a criminally powerful father who has forbidden the union. The Love Commandos are on the job.

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The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken

butterchickenTarquin Hall’s THE CASE OF THE DEADLY BUTTER CHICKEN is the third charming entrant in his series starring Vish Puri, the sole proprietor of Delhi’s Most Private Investigations Ltd. Puri is a stolid Indian character, much in love with his country’s food, and much put upon for his weight by his beloved wife. He grows his own chilies in a rooftop garden; he sabotages the bathroom scale so that it looks like he’s not gaining weight; he is inordinately fond of his own mustache; and, in general, he seems a likable enough chap.

The police don’t always think so. They treat him as a meddler, someone who gets results but through some very unorthodox methods. Well, sometimes the end justifies the means.

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A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul

Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh is so reminiscent of Tarquin Hall’s Detective Vish Puri that if you like one character, you’re sure to like the other. Both men are idiosyncratic investigators, tend to put on weight, have to deal with nagging wives, perform their tasks a little haphazardly, have an absolute passion for food, are a little cranky, and deal with their respective environments with a subtle humor. The only difference is that Inspector Singh tends to handle much darker crimes.

For instance, in A BALI CONSPIRACY MOST FOUL, the Singaporean Inspector Singh is sent to Bali in Indonesia to assist with a terrorism investigation.

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The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing

I don’t know what else I can say about Tarquin Hall and his brilliant detective Vish Puri of Delhi’s Most Private Investigations Ltd., that I didn’t already say in a review of the first book, THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT. I absolutely loved that novel, and the second, THE CASE OF THE MAN WHO DIED LAUGHING, is more of the same wonderful mix of beauty and chaos, astute detective work and comical situations, and delicious Indian food.

The main case involves one Dr. Jha, known as the Guru Buster, who makes his living unmasking religious frauds. One of these swamis takes offense and declares that a major miracle will take place. Not coincidentally, Dr. Jha is murdered in plain view, outdoors … but by what, exactly?

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The Case of the Missing Servant

Vish Puri is the head of India’s Most Private Investigations Ltd., where confidentiality is the watchword, and the success rate is 100 percent, in Tarquin Hall’s THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT. Supported by a strong and indomitable cast of women — including his fascinating secretary Elizabeth Rani and his iron-willed Mummy — the company also features a group of delightful assistants nicknamed Tubelight, Flush, and Facecream. It’s kind of like the Indian A-Team as they solve crimes and do background checks, in this endearing first effort in what will hopefully be a series.

Puri disdains comparisons with Sherlock Holmes, but he still considers himself an astute master of the arts of deductive reasoning. But when a man is accused of murdering a servant, and the servant girl has gone missing, all of his powers will be put to the test. The family that employed the girl knew nothing about her but her first name, Mary. And now Puri must find this Mary — last name and origin unknown, no photograph available — in a land that contains one-sixth of the world’s entire population.

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BOOK WHORE >> 3.23.10

book whoreShe’s back, pimpin’ out notable new releases to place on your radar!

THE BONE THIEF by Jefferson Bass — Dr. Bill Brockton has been called in on a seemingly routine case, to exhume a body and obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But when the coffin is opened, Brockton and his colleagues, including his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady, are stunned to see that the corpse has been horribly violated. Brockton’s initial shock gives way to astonishment as he uncovers a flourishing and lucrative black market in body parts. Soon Brockton finds himself drawn into the dangerous enterprise when the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop — using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation.

DOG BOY by Eva Hornung — Two million children roam the streets in late 20th-century Moscow. A 4-year-old boy named Romochka, abandoned by his mother and uncle, is left to fend for himself. Curious, he follows a stray dog to its home in an abandoned church cellar on the city’s outskirts. Romochka makes himself at home with Mamochka, the mother of the pack, and six other dogs as he slowly abandons his human attributes to survive two fiercely cold winters. Able to pass as either boy or dog, Romochka develops his own moral code. As the pack starts to prey on people for food with Romochka’s help, he attracts the attention of local police and scientists. His future, and the pack’s, will depend on his ability to remain free, but the outside world begins to close in on him.

212 by Alafair Burke — When New York University sophomore Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a Web site specializing in campus gossip, she’s taken aback by their menacing tone. Someone knows her daily routine down to the minute and is watching her — but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police tell her there’s nothing they can do. Her friends are sure it’s someone’s idea of a joke, but when Megan is murdered in a vicious attack, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats are more than just empty words.

THE SECRET OF EXCALIBUR by Andy McDermott — Archaeologist Nina Wilde is hoping for a little R&R with her fiancé, former SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase. But the couple’s plans are dashed when a meeting with an old acquaintance propels Nina and Eddie into a razor’s-edge hunt across the globe — battling a team of elite mercenaries who will stop at nothing in order to claim a prize every treasure hunter has coveted since the final days of Camelot. Nina and Eddie must do everything they can to keep the legendary blade from falling into the wrong hands. Because the truth behind the sword’s power — and those who seek it — will not only shock the world but plunge it into a new and more devastating era of war.

8 IN THE BOX by Raffi Yessayan — The harrowing scene is always the same: the home of a single woman, no signs of forced entry, no evidence of an intruder, and no victim — only a bathtub filled with blood. Newly promoted homicide detective Angel Alves wants to make his mark in the department and a difference on the streets, but tracking this elusive serial killer sorely challenges his commitment and skills. Meanwhile, assistant DA Conrad Darget has his own hands full mentoring an ambitious young law student and rallying his fellow attorneys in their daily courtroom battles. With each new attack the twisted mystery only deepens, and the hunger for answers — and action — intensifies.

THE SILVER EAGLE by Ben Kane — Trapped in Parthia by Crassus’s failed invasion, 10,000 legionaries are captured and marched to the edge of the known world — these men are the Forgotten Legion. Among them are Romulus, Brennus and Tarquinius, all men with troubled pasts and good reason to hate Rome. Together the trio must face the savage tribes that surround them as well as the more treacherous enemies within the ranks of the legion itself. The three friends’ character will be tested to the utter limit as they struggle to find a way back to Rome. Meanwhile, Fabiola, Romulus’ twin sister, fights to survive and maintain hope in her brother’s survival. Freed by her powerful lover but beset by enemies on all sides, she must travel to Gaul to find her lover, Caesar’s right-hand man, where Vercingetorix threatens the life and the lives of all who rally around Caesar.

Buy them at Amazon.