Vish Puri is India’s Most Private Investigator. He handles cases as simple as cheating spouses and background checks on potential husbands to murder, kidnapping, and the abduction of a famous moustache.
Yes, really. One of Puri’s clients in this book is the man with the longest moustache. Someone breaks into his house and shaves off half of it. The man with the second longest moustache is accused, but it’s not so simple — he’s kidnapped and loses his moustache, too. Fortunately Vish Puri is on the case and eventually finds the culprit.
Beyond that, however, is the murder of a Pakistani man on Indian soil. He’s the father of a very famous cricket player and it’s assumed that match fixing and illegal betting is at the root of it — especially when a well-known bookie is also murdered the same way.
This book (it’s the third in a series) goes into the history of the India/Pakistan split and the way it tore families apart. It’s important background and fascinating reading. It’s well balanced with the descriptions of life in India, the rampant corruption, and the silly situations Puri gets into with his family. Ultimately, the history and illegal betting are both important to solving the murders.
There’s another sub-plot involving blood diamonds that feels shoehorned in and not exactly necessary. I kept forgetting that was going on and I’m not really sure what the point was.
If you haven’t read the first two books you can still pick this one up and catch on to things pretty quick. If you’re feeling really lost there’s a glossary in the back that covers aspects of Indian life and slang, and (because this is technically a “cozy mystery”) several recipes. According to other reviews, people have tried the recipes and have been really pleased with the results.