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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Delhi detective story---and see Butter Chicken recipe at end of review
This is the third Vish Puri detective story, but my first read in the series. I didn't feel disadvantaged by not having read the first two books. I felt immediately immersed in modern Delhi, where gleaming skyscrapers filled with call centers sit next to street markets, cricket matches are the subject of wild enthusiasm (especially with the new feature of blonde...
Published on 23 July 2012 by Maine Colonial

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting reprint cover
The book is excellent. Fortunately I got the first edition, because the cover of the reprint paperback is one the most off-putting I have ever seen! The single star applies to that cover.

This third investigation is as delightful as its predecessors. But it is also very authentic, stemming from a deep knowledge of India. The authenticity of Tarquin Hall's...
Published 11 months ago by Georges L.


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Delhi detective story---and see Butter Chicken recipe at end of review, 23 July 2012
By 
Maine Colonial (Maine, United States) - See all my reviews
This is the third Vish Puri detective story, but my first read in the series. I didn't feel disadvantaged by not having read the first two books. I felt immediately immersed in modern Delhi, where gleaming skyscrapers filled with call centers sit next to street markets, cricket matches are the subject of wild enthusiasm (especially with the new feature of blonde American cheerleaders in skimpy outfits), and the streets are jammed with hair-raising kamikaze drivers--and the occasional cow. In today's Delhi, the status of money is beginning to replace the caste system, but the old world remains in the multi-generational households, arranged marriages, and religious rituals.

Vish Puri, affectionately called Chubby by his family, is the Boss of Most Private Detectives, assisted by a large group of operatives with colorful monikers like Tubelight, Facecream, Handbrake, Flush, and Chanel No.5. Even his beloved Mummy-Ji gets in on the sleuthing action on occasion--though against Puri's wishes.

As the story begins, Puri has been put on a diet by his wife, Rumpi. He'll do anything to make her happy, but he finds food irresistible. The descriptions of his meals were so mouth-watering I finally had to resolve not to read the book unless I had already eaten.

Puri has several cases on his plate (no pun intended): the murder (by poisoned Butter Chicken) of wealthy Pakistani Mr. Khan at a cricket federation dinner; allegations of cricket match fixing; and the "theft" of the long, luxuriant mustaches of two men.

Puri's adventures are comic, but author Tarquin isn't just playing for laughs. He doesn't turn a blind eye to the corruption in Indian society or its inequities, like an elderly servant who is made to sleep on her master's kitchen floor. The police force is inept (and worse), and Puri is himself hampered by VIP suspects who refuse to cooperate with his investigation and threaten him for daring to approach them. One thread of the plot goes back to the horrific days of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, as Muslims fled north and Hindis and Sikhs south, with massacres of the refugees and abductions of women along the way.

What a pleasure to read a mystery with such charming, lively characters, and to be both entertained and educated. I listened to the audiobook and found its reader, Sam Dastor, to be a delight. His neutral narration was in a clear, British accent, and his characters' Indian-accented dialog seemed dead on.

RECIPE

The best Butter Chicken I ever had was at Amber India in Palo Alto, CA. Here's the recipe from that restaurant published some years back in the San Francisco Chronicle. (My apologies that the measurements aren't metric.)

Ingredients:

Main

3 pounds chicken (2 half-breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs), skinned
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups unflavored yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic paste (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger paste (see note)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt

The Sauce

1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground red chile
Pinch garam masala
Pinch mace
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups water, or more as needed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
Salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Make 3 parallel cuts on top of each piece of chicken. Place the chicken in a resealable heavy-duty plastic bag.
2. Combine the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt; pour over the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the yogurt and cream in a bowl; blend well.
4. Mix together the garlic paste, ginger paste, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt. Add to the yogurt mixture, blending thoroughly.
5. When the chicken has marinated for 30 minutes, remove it from the refrigerator, open the bag and pour in the yogurt mixture. Reseal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
6. To make the sauce: Combine the ginger, ground chile, garam masala, mace, nutmeg, white pepper and brown sugar in a small bowl.
7. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, the spice/sugar blend and water. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.
8. Add more water if the mixture gets too dry.
9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
10. Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade.
11. Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes.
12. Let the chicken cool until you can handle it, then remove the meat from the bones in bite-size pieces; discard bones.
13. Add the chicken meat, the cream and fenugreek to the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Taste, and add salt if desired.

Nutrition Information:

PER SERVING: 325 calories, 28 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 20 g fat (10 g saturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Yields: Serves 4. Note: Ginger paste and garlic paste are available in jars. Look for them in Asian markets, and supermarkets that have large ethnic-food sections
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great detective Vish Puri will become a legend, 24 Aug 2012
As a devoted aficionado of the "Ladies Detective Agency" series and Ma Ramotswe's charming, slow paced detective work in Botswana, when the first Vish Puri book by Tarquin Hall, "The case of the missing Servant", was published, I had initial misgivings about this newcomer. But that did not last long. As soon as I finished reading this first book, I thought the author had created his own genre, something that set Vish Puri apart as a character, defining a new way of telling a whodunnit story with loads of humor and creativity, in-depth knowledge of India & its culture and wonderfully woven text and subtext of characters and landscape.
I could not wait for the second of the series, "The case of the Man who died laughing"(I almost died laughing myself as the author's humor is addictive) which showed Puri's increased detecting talents and the expansion of Hall's creativity as a story teller: unstoppable reading till the last page, sense of enjoyment and satisfaction at the conclusion, followed by a deep desire to read the next book soon (when? how soon?).
Luckily Tarquin Hall has not kept us waiting too long: the third book in the series, "The case of the deadly butter chicken", is a masterpiece in all senses: all his characters, from Vish Puri himself to his wife Rumpi, Mummy Ji, his family and the special support team of Handdbrake, Tubelight, Facecream et al, plus the sharp collection of baddies which are often frighteningly real,have grown inwardly and as an expression of themselves,all merged artfully into a plot as sophisticated and incredibly complex, with a long list of ingredients, as the very recipe for making Butter Chicken -and other delicacies- which the author publishes in the last pages of the book. I was so satisfied by the end of this read that I felt hungry for more: Butter Chicken for real as I have asked my wife to prepare and this message for publishers: please ask Tarquin Hall to write the next one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable summer reading, 10 Aug 2012
A novel about a slightly pompous but likeable middle-aged detective I enjoyed this. Good descriptions of India. An easy read but with a serious side when it delves into the terrible plight of women during Partition. I wasn't expecting this, but was pleasantly surprised by this twist.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good story, 10 Jun 2014
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The characters are vivid although a bit too many. I enjoy the insight into life in India. Look forward to more from this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the world's hungriest detective, 4 Mar 2014
By 
JJ (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri 3) (Paperback)
This is another super Vish Puri book by Tarquin Hall. With a heady mix of diamond smuggling, illegal gambling on cricket matches, the fixing of said matches and murder, not just by butter chicken, and the case of some nefarious type shaving off prize winning moustaches, Puri has his hands full.
There is a sadder more poignant case too. One that goes back to the violent days of the Partition in 1947. Puri's mummy-ji plays a prominent part in this and it gives a small insight into a part of history I, for one, knew little about.
He is a great character and the books have ll been enjoyable reads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Vish triumph!, 21 Jan 2014
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So well written you can almost (but luckily not quite) taste the detectives beloved chilli dipped in salt! Bralliant characterization and the sight, sounds and smells of India are there in spades.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indian fun, 8 Jan 2014
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Peter Munn (Chambery, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri 3) (Paperback)
Tremendous entertainment but don't look for anything deep. Lighthearted with a real taste for Indian cuisine and way of life!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another 5-star Book, actually!, 26 Dec 2013
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Another brilliant 5-star book by Tarquin Hall. Having twice toured the North and South of India, his books bring back many happy (and frustrating) memories. Vish is a superb character and the Indian English used by him and all the others in the books is spot-on. Have just purchased the 4th Vish Puri book in anticipation of another superb read. Highly recommended for those who want something out of the ordinary - and amusing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A feast of Puri, 17 Dec 2013
By 
Noel (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri 3) (Paperback)
The Case of the Missing Servant The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri 1) introduced my to Vish Puri, Rumpi his wife and of course the matriachal mummyji. I loved that story and have looked forward to each addition to the series. 'The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken' is third in the series and is every bit as entertaining as its two predecessors.

Vish Puri or 'Chubby' as his family call him, is a corpulent private detective in Delhi with an idiosyncratic use of spoken English. Rumpi has decided he needs to lose some of his 90kgs but temptation is always there. His casework is as unusual as his use of English and in this case the Deadly Butter Chicken is the weapon chosen by a murderer. It takes Mummyji's intervention to help identify that killer and we learn a lot about her past at the time of partition when had to flee from Punjab to Delhi. But that's not the only murder to be solved and Puri reluctantly makes his first terrifying visit to the arch enemy - Pakistan. Ofcourse there is also the case of the moustache thief to solve as well.

Puri is ably assisted by his usual team of unusual helpers including Facecream, Handbrake, Tubelight, & Chanel No. 5 to name just a few. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest tale of his detecting skills. It combines a good plot with good fun. It is very cleverly written to get the balance right between these two. It made me smile a lot though the horrors of partition are not played for laughs. It is a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Mystery and Intrigue, 19 Oct 2013
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Derek Dobbs "636Music" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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As always, Tarquin Hall provides and authentic, well thought out and immensely readable mystery. This book is very hard to put down.
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The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri 3)
The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri 3) by Tarquin Hall (Paperback - 11 July 2013)
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