Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall

Title: The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing
Author: Tarquin Hall
ISBN: 9781416583691
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 2010
Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Private Investigator, #2 Vish Puri mystery
Rating: B
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line: Ensconced on the backseat of his Ambassador with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning working full blast, Vish Puri kept a wary eye on the crack in the car's windscreen.

An eminent Indian scientist attends a morning class in a park and dies laughing when a Hindu goddess appears in a mist and thrusts a sword into his chest. Now the only person who's laughing is the prime suspect, Maharaj Swami, whose most vocal critic is dead.

Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator, believes there's nothing supernatural about Dr. Suresh Jha's murder, but proving it is going to take all the skills he and his team of undercover operatives possess as they try to persuade India's hereditary magicians to reveal their secrets.

I really enjoy this series for transporting me right into the streets of Delhi and into the culture of India. I normally don't care for very spicy food, but after following Vish Puri around on an investigation, I start looking up the addresses of local Indian restaurants.

I have to admit that I didn't care for this investigation as much as many others might, and my reason is purely subjective: I've never cared much for magic and magicians. I'm not sure why. However, this investigation did take Vish Puri into many different places, which allowed me to soak up more of the sights and the culture.

On the other hand, I was delighted with the sub-plot that had Vish Puri's wife and mother being robbed at one of their "kitty parties" and then turning sleuth to uncover the identity of the thief. Those two ladies' investigation was completed much too soon.

If you're an armchair traveler who likes humor, food, puzzles and being taken away to other countries, Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri series will suit you right down to your La-Z-Boy.


  1. Sounds like I would enjoy this more than you did. Yet another book to add the list.

  2. Cathy - I really, really like the Vish Puri character and am really looking forward to reading this one. I understand what you mean, though, about having a personal thing (like your feelings about magic and magicians) affect one's take on a book. Still, I'm glad you mostly liked this one, and I'm so glad you reviewed it!

  3. Beth-- Where would we be without our lists??

    Margot-- Thanks! If I loved magic, just think what I would've rated it! LOL

  4. I'm intrigued--I don't think I've read anything set in India, and your review makes it sound like it would be transporting and a bit of an adventure for me.

  5. Cozy-- Thank you! Stop by again soon, y'hear? :)

    Jane-- It is an adventure, and an eye-opening one at that.

  6. This sounds like it would great fun - but I don't like magic either and if there's enough of it for you to mention, then there's too much.

    Thanks for the warning, anyway.

  7. Debbie-- At least I know I'm not alone in my dislike of magic. Try the first book in the series-- The Case of the Missing Servant-- marvelous book and nary a magic trick in sight!


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