Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Meet Vish Puri

Today I am going to share a quote with you from The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall. This is the first book in a series featuring Vish Puri, a private detective who lives and works in India. He has some Poirot-like tendencies when it comes to problem solving as well as a strong cast of secondary characters who all have nicknames like Tubelight, Facecream and Handbrake who all help him solve his cases. Oh, and an interfering Mummy as well!

The reason why I started reading this series is because of the title of the third book The Case of the Butter Chicken. Butter Chicken is one of our favourite mild curries in this house, and with a title like that I instantly thought of Weekend Cooking possibilities! I can't knowingly read a series out of order so I had to start at the beginning with this book! Having said that, there were plenty of times when I was reading this book when I found myself salivating at the sound of the Indian food that was being described.

Vish is a man of hearty appetite, with a taste for extremely hot chillis which he grows himself. At one point he acknowledges that "he had turned into a capsicum junkie and occasional dealer" in his quest for hotter and hotter chillis!

Anyway, here is the first glimpse that we get of Vish:

Vish Puri, founder and managing director of Most Private Investigators Ltd. sat alone in a room in a guesthouse in Defence Colony, south Delhi, devouring a dozen green chilli pakoras from a greasy takeaway box.

Puri was supposed to be keeping off the fried foods and Indian desserts he so loved. Dr Mohan had 'intimated' to him at his last check-up that he could no longer afford to indulge himself with the usual Punjabi staples.

"Blood pressure is up, so chance of heart attack and diabetes is there. Don't do obesity," he'd advised.

Puri considered the doctor's stern warning as he sank his teeth into another hot, crispy pakora and his taste buds thrilled to the tang of salty batter, fiery chilli and the tangy, red chutney in which he had drowned the illicit snack. he derived a perverse sense of satisfaction from defying Dr. Mohan's orders.

Still, the fifty-one-year-old detective shuddered to think what his wife would say if she found out he was eating between meals - especially 'outside' food that had not been prepared by her own hands (or at least by one of the servants).

Keeping this in mind, he was careful not to get any incriminating grease spots on his clothes. And once he had finished his snack and disposed of the takeaway box, he washed the chutney off his hands and checked beneath his manicured nails and between his teeth for any tell-tale residue. Finally he popped some sonf into his mouth to freshen his breath.

All the while, Puri kept an eye on the house across the way and the street below.
Expect to hear more about Vish Puri in future Weekend Cooking posts.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.  


  1. Oh fun! Now I'm going to have track these down. Have you read the Nero Wolfe books? I love his obsession with food.

  2. I love Indian food, too, and have to stop being a chicken and eating it hotter. Thanks for the review. I've been thinking about reading these too but hesitate to start another series!

  3. Your review drew me in and now I will have to read these books! Love the description of the foods.

  4. This immediately put me in mind of Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books because your chosen passage seems to put the reader right smack inside a different culture and place. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  5. What a great quote. I love how much you learn about the character in that short passage. I also loved the "capsicum junkie and occasional dealer" bit. Fun!

  6. I love it when folks add quotes from the books they read. I enjoy a mystery...need to check this one out.

  7. No wonder you were salivating. Reading that passage is making me hungry for something salty, fiery and tangy now!

  8. Hee hee - this one's new to me. Have a great week.

  9. These books are fun, but I haven't read the most recent. I've been craving Indian food, though, this past week. Wish we had a good place here to get it!

  10. You can almost smell and taste the food in these books can't you?

  11. I didn't know this series. Thanks for the introduction :)

  12. LOL he doesn't only resemble Poirot when it comes to problem solving I'd say when looking at the book cover.. *grin* I'll be looking forward to hearing more about Puri!

  13. I adore Vish Puri :) Psst, I did a Weekend Cooking post earlier this year on the third book! And I made a butter tofu dish to go with it. I can't wait for Tarquin Hall's next book to come out :D

  14. LOL! Great quote! What a fun series that sounds like.
    Now I'm in the mood for some pakora!

  15. I keep seeing these Vish Puri books around, maybe it's time to pick one up



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