heaven_ali (heaven_ali) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

#54 The Case of the Missing Servant - Tarquin Hall (2009)

Now and again I find I like cosy type novels, they hit the spot on a busy or stressful week when other kinds of books seem to be hard going. Novels like those by Alexander McCall Smith – although it is a while since I read one, the Marriage Bureau books and the Agatha Raisin series – to name but a few. So when this novel came my way recently at a bookcrossing meet up – I was anxious to give it a go – as it looked like something I would love. I should have loved it – it has all the ingredients of something I would like a lot. However it left me rather cold, although I’m not at all sure why. Maybe it has more to do with my mood this last couple of days than the book. Of course it may have suffered for having been read after the beautiful prose and powerful imagery of the Hilary Mantel novel which I finished on Saturday.

In the case of the Missing servant – we meet Vish Puri proprietor of the Most Private Investigations agency, where he is assisted by his operatives, Facecream and Tubelight. He is hired by Ajay Kasilwal when Mary the family maid disappears, soon Kasilwal is charged with her murder despite a less than convincing identification of an already cremated body, and Puri needs to try and discover whether the young woman concerned is indeed dead. Meanwhile, much to his disgust, Puri’s mother is carrying out her own investigation into who has been taking pot shots at her son.

This novel is certainly undemanding, inoffensive stuff. I did like how the author manages to explore the inequalities of Indian society, showing the realities of the grinding poverty, and judicial corruption that still exist. In this way it did remind me of the Marriage Bureau books – although I enjoyed them much more.

So although I was rather disappointed and was left feeling a little flat by this book, I can completely understand why it has so many great reviews on Amazon. Maybe I will try another one of this series one day – because I still feel I should have loved it. I only hope I haven’t fallen out of love with cosy. I have been reading a lot of lovely good quality literature just lately, lovely Virago books, Persephone, Thomas Hardy and Edith Wharton among others, but that shouldn’t mean I stop liking cosy should it?

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