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Allyson James
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The Case of the Missing Servant - Tarquin Hall I picked up a copy of The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall at my local library after hearing it referred to from several sources as similar to Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Sadly, Tarquin's first book in the Vish Puri series lacks the grace that draw me to McCall Smith's books. While The Case of the Missing Servant has good points, it also has many flaws.The series centers on private detective Vish Puri and his Most Private Investigators Ltd., a small private detective agency in Delhi, India. In this first book in the series, Puri works on several cases, the most dramatic of which is a case in which a man has been accused of murdering a maidservant. I did find the descriptions of life in India quite interesting and some of the characters - especially some of Puri's employees and his indomitable mother - were very likable and even relatable. Unfortunate, the main character himself is smug, arrogant and outrageously wrong-headed, almost to the point of becoming a caricature. There were moments that felt that they deserved the sort of laugh track a 1950s sitcom husband would get when his wife or mother saved him from himself. Puri ultimate made The Case of the Missing Servant impossible for me to fully enjoy.This is an interesting concept for a detective novel - its setting, descriptions of life and culture in India and some of its characters were not bad at all. Unfortunately, the smug arrogance of the main character ruined the book for me. I would rather wait for the next No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel than read another Vish Puri book.Read this review and more at The Library Lass Book Talk Blog.