26 December, 2013

#BookReview :: The Case of the Love Commandos (Vish Puri #4) by Tarquin Hall

The wonderful fourth outing for Delhi detective Vish Puri.
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.

I was surprised and happy to find out about real life ‘Love Commandos’ on the show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ hosted by Amir Khan. They operate in various parts of the country and helping out couples facing trouble from family and the society.

In Tarquin Hall’s latest, Ram and Tulsi are from completely two different strata of the society and when they fall in love, Tulsi's parents are so much against the relationship that they lock her up and set on hunting down Ram. This is where the Love Commandos makes an entrance to the story as they manage to rescue Tulsi from her home. Unfortunately, they may be a bit too late in getting Tulsi out as they find out that Ram is missing from his hiding place. In the meantime, Vish Puri is looking to break the bad luck mojo that seemed to have taken over his life before his competitor can snatch a win from under his nose by finding Ram before him. But soon the stakes are higher as this story takes a turn from ‘Missing Person Case’ to a murder investigation.

The first thing about this story that helped me warm up to it is the picture perfect portrayal of India’s caste system. Being in the twenty first century, I personally find it ridiculous that people still cling on to this system. I shiver every time I am asked what caste I belong to and wonder when people will start realizing that caste system only serves as a divider and has no positive productivity in our lives or in our society. It is only a negative influence that hinders our development. Vish Puri though, through this story, gives us hope that with time people will come to see it.

The plot started out as fairly simple till a few twists took it to another level of interesting. Mummy-ji, to my delight, plays a bigger role in this book and she was a delight to read about. And how can we talk about Mummy-ji and Vish Puri and not make a mention of the impressive humour woven into the story? Or the mouthwatering foods that get its fair share of limelight? The pace was almost perfect throughout, but veered off a bit towards the end where it seemed to be a bit rushed. Too many cases and too many bad guys to be taken out made things a bit of a chaos – but one that I rather enjoyed.

All in all, it was a good book and keeps up to the expectations that we have from a ‘Vish Puri’ Novel. 

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