Tarquin Hall writes the Vish Puri Mystery Series, which is an absolute delight to read. It is set in Delhi, India – not your typical mystery series setting. (Last month, it was recommended as one of June 2012 Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations, so this series will be making the list two months in a row.)
Tarquin Hall, a journalist, has begun a mystery series that I will liken to three of my favorite mystery series. I can definitely see some Hercule Poirot in Vish Puri, as well as some Sherlock Holmes, mixed in with a little No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. (Yes, I am aware that Vish would not like me to say he is anything like Sherlock Holmes!)
Vish reminds me a lot of Poirot because of his inflated (but accurate!) view of his own abilities, especially vis-à-vis the police. Vish (or "Chubby" – as his close friends and family call him) is the founder of the Most Private Investigators agency, and seems genuinely preoccupied with righting wrongs. Vish is able to overlook a lot of society's prejudices, and seems comfortable relating to both rich and poor. Vish, like Poirot, seems to have a canny ability to size up people.
Vish reminds me of Sherlock Holmes because of his inflated (but accurate!) view of his own abilities, especially vis-à-vis the police. (Hmmm, haven't I said this very same thing before?) Vish enjoys amazing people with his powers of deductions, almost to the point of playing parlor tricks. Vish uses all sorts of disguises for himself, as well as his staff. He involves himself in the actual story, putting himself right into the action, rather than simply observing all of the facts.
Enter, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. As I have said many times, I am a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Hall manages to do for India, what McCall Smith does for Botswana. Hall is able to fill all of our senses with India. He acquaints us with the sounds, smells, bright colors, and human conditions of Delhi. Tarquin Hall is a wonderful storyteller. As in McCall Smith's series, we are able to see Vish in both his professional capacity, as well as his home life. (I hope to see a lot more of his interfering Mummy-ji in the following mystery books!) All of the characters are three dimensional, and have back stories.
If you are looking for a new a mystery series to follow that is humorous, smart, entertaining, different, and downright fun, I recommend you take a look at Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri Mystery Series. I'm glad I did!