Tarquin Hall is a writer and journalist who has lived and worked in much of South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the US. He is the author of Mercenaries, Missionaries and Misfits: Adventures of an Under-age Journalist; To the Elephant Graveyard; and Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End. He is married to the journalist Anu Anand and lives in Delhi.
The wonderful fourth outing for Delhi detective Vish Puri ('the Indian Hercule Poirot' Financial Times). These books are little gems. They are beautifully written, amusing, and intensely readable . (Alexander McCall Smith). When Ram and Tulsi fall in love, the young woman's parents are dead set against the union. She's from a high-caste family; he's an Untouchable, from the lowest strata of Indian society. Young Tulsi's father locks her up and promises to hunt down the loverboy dog. Fortunately, India's Love Commandos, a group of volunteers dedicated to helping mixed-caste couples, come to the rescue. But just after they liberate Tulsi, Ram is mysteriously snatched from his hiding place. The task of finding him falls to India's Most Private Investigator . Unfortunately, Vish Puri is not having a good month. He's failed to recover a cache of stolen jewels. His wallet has been stolen and he's having to rely on his infuriating Mummy-ji to get it back. And to top it all, his archrival, suave investigator Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate Ram. To reunite the star-crossed lovers, Puri and his team of operatives must infiltrate Ram's village and navigate the caste politics shaped by millennia-old prejudices.
The wonderful fourth outing for Delhi detective Vish Puri ('the Indian Hercule Poirot' Financial Times). When India's Love Commandos rescue a young woman from a high-caste family who has been forbidden from marrying an untouchable, she looks set to live happily ever after with the man she truly loves. But just hours before the wedding, her boyfriend, Ram, is abducted. Has his would-be father-in-law made good on his promise and done away with him? It falls to Vish Puri to find out. Unfortunately, he's not having a good month. He can't locate a haul of stolen jewellery. He's been pickpocketed. And the only person who can get his wallet back is his interfering Mummy-ji. Things only get worse when he discovers that his arch-rival, Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate the abducted boy - as is a genetics research institute exploiting illiterate villagers. To find Ram first, Puri and his team must travel into the badlands of rural India where the local politics are shaped by millennia-old caste prejudices. 'If Mma Ramotswe is an African Marple, Vish Puri is an Indian Poirot' Financial Times 'A joy to read' The Times
Vish Puri is as fond of butter chicken as the next Punjabi. And when there's plenty on offer at the Delhi Durbar hotel where he's attending an India Premier League cricket match dinner, he's the first to tuck in. Irfan 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. Clearly this isn't a case of Delhi Belly. But who amongst the Bollywood stars, politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists poisoned Khan is a mystery. And with the capital's police chief proving as incompetent as ever, it falls to Most Private Investigators to find out the truth. Puri is soon able to link Khan to a bald bookie called Full Moon and all the clues point to the involvement of a gambling syndicate that controls the illegal billion dollar betting industry. The answers seem to lie in Surat, the diamond cutting and polishing capital of the world (where Puri's chief undercover operative Tubelight meets his match) and across the border in Pakistan, Puri's nemesis, the one country where he has sworn never to set foot. Or do they? A certain determined, grey-haired lady with a unique insight into the murder believes that the portly detective is barking up 'a wrong tree.' Is Mummy-ji right?Is there more to the murder than meets the eye? And why, to make life even more complicated for Vish Puri, has someone tried to steal the longest moustache in the world - from right under the nose of its owner? Literally.
Early one morning, on the lawns of a grand boulevard in central Delhi, a group of professionals are attending their therapeutic Laughing Club when a 20-foot apparition of the Goddess Kali apppears, and strikes one of their number dead. The goddess disappears without trace, and soon news of the crime has all India agog. For the victim is celebrated sceptic and rationalist Dr Suresh Jha, enemy of all gurus and mystics, and he has been silenced in a manner calculated to unnerve even his most loyal supporters. As the media go into a frenzy, it becomes clear that the case goes to the heart of the battle between superstition and rationality in modern India. But the fact remains that a murder has been committed. And as it becomes clear that powerful forces are at play, one man is perfectly placed to investigate: the portly detective Vish Puri. In fact, the idea that he could resist getting involved in such a tantalizing murder is preposterous. There is as much chance of him going without his lunch.
Meet Vish Puri, India's most private investigator. Portly, persistent and unmistakably Punjabi, he cuts a determined swathe through modern India's swindlers, cheats and murderers. In hot and dusty Delhi, where call centres and malls are changing the ancient fabric of Indian life, Puri's main work comes from screening prospective marriage partners, a job once the preserve of aunties and family priests. But when an honest public litigator is accused of murdering his maidservant, it takes all of Puri's resources to investigate. How will he trace the fate of the girl, known only as Mary, in a population of more than one billion? Who is taking pot shots at him and his prize chilli plants? And why is his widowed 'Mummy-ji' attempting to play sleuth when everyone knows Mummies are not detectives? With his team of undercover operatives - Tubelight, Flush and Facecream - Puri ingeniously combines modern techniques with principles of detection established in India more than two thousand years ago -- long before 'that Johnny-come-lately' Sherlock Holmes donned his Deerstalker. The search for Mary takes him to the desert oasis of Jaipur and the remote mines of Jharkhand. From his well-heeled Gymkhana Club to the slums where the servant classes live, Puri's adventures reveal modern India in all its seething complexity.
After ten years living abroad, Tarquin Hall wanted to return to his native London. Lured by his nostalgia for a leafy suburban childhood spent in south-west London, he returned with his Indian-born, American fiance in tow. But, priced out of the housing market, they found themselves living not in a townhouse, oozing Victorian charm, but in a squalid attic above a Bangladeshi sweatshop on London's Brick Lane. A grimy skylight provided the only window on their new world: a filthy, noisy street where drug dealers and prostitutes peddled their wares and tramps urinated on the pavements. At night, traffic lights lit up the ceiling and police sirens wailed into the early hours. Yet, as Hall got to know Brick Lane, he discovered beneath its unlovely surface an inner world where immigrants and asylum seekers struggle to better themselves and dream of escape. Salaam Brick Lane is a journey of discovery by an outsider in his own native city. It offers an explicit glimpse of the underbelly of London's most infamous quarter, the real-life world of Monica Ali's bestselling novel.