Monday, April 11, 2016

The case of Man who died Laughing by Tarquin Hall

Rating : 5/5
Read between March 25th 2016 to March 27th 2016 


Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page count : 334
Publisher: Arrow Books

First Sentence:
Ensconced on the back seat of his Ambassador with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning working full blast, Vish Puri kept a wary eye on the crack in the car's windscreen.

Dr Suresh Jha was a rationalist who had made his name by debunking the miracles performed by the so called God men. He was founder of Delhi Insitiute of rationalism and education or DIRE and was known as 'Guru Buster'.
He had now pitted himself against this Maharaj Swami. Maharaj Swami had huge followers and that included not only common man but the politicans and top level buerocrats. Maharaj Swami had promised Dr Jha that he'll show him his powers.
So, when Dr Jha is killed by a 20 foot tall apparation resembling Kali, the media and whole country is bound to go crazy. Some people say Dr Jha has finally paid for his sins,some say it's a miracle promised by Maharaj Swami and some say it's a murder disguised as a supernatural act.
Inspector Singh was as baffled as the rest of thw country and believed this was a supernatural act and something that he could need help with. So, Inspector Singh calls Vish to conduct his own investigation to which Vish readily agrees. The murder is too sensational for Puri to pass.
Will Puri be able to find out how the professor died? Who was behind the attack?

The case of man who died laughing was the second novel in the Vish Puri series. The first one being The case of Missing servant. This book is a stand alone in its own right and you can read it even if you haven't read the first one. But i would suggest do read the first one as it's great.
The second novel of Vish Puri is set against a backdrop of fraudulent babas and a guy who's debunking them. In this way this guy has made enemies  in very powerful places. Dr Suresh Jha and his organisation DIRE uncannily reminds me of Dr Narendra Dabholkar and his Andhshradha nirmoolan samiti(अंधश्रद्धा निर्मूलन समिति). I was reading first part of  his book on superstitions which is published in three parts. Dr Jha and Dr Dabholkar have many thing in common including that he was shot dead by unknown assailants(most people believe they were goons of babas whose fraudulent practices he was exposing). You can read more about this person here.
Dr Narendra Dabholkar

I have read first part of his book and will be writing about it soon.
I don't know whether Tarquin ji's  Dr Jha was influenced by Dr Dabholkar but i think there were many similarities. Anyway,coming back to the book, the story is great and moves with a fast pace. Vish Puri is pitted against Maharaj Swami who wields power over the most powerful people in the country and so it becomes exciting to see how Vish goes along with this investigation. 

Apart from the investigation conducted by Vish Puri, there is another case on which Mummy ji (Vish Puri's mother) is investigating. In the last book Mummyji. She ropes in Rumpi(Vish Puri's wife )who joins reluctantly but ends up enjoying the thrill of investigation. These little investigation conducted by Mummyji are fun to read. In this book she's investigating the robber who loots their kitty party. I think there should be a book.of short stories having only investigations done by Mummy ji. 
Although the case is serious the tone of the book is light and breezy. The reader meets Baggaji, a relative of Vish Puri, who's notorious for his hare brained business schemes. And his presence provides the humor in the story.

Following is one of the many situations that Bagga ji is part of:

They shook on it. More Aristocrat whiskey was consumed. And then the detective said: 'Sir-ji, there is one thing i don't understand. Why do you need this money if you are selling your land?'
Bagga Uncle leaned in.'You promise not to tell anyone?'
'They would have to gouge my eyes!'
'I can trust you?' Bagga Uncle suddenly regarded Puri as if he was a stranger.
'Have you ever had any reason not to?'
"There was one time you called me "Sala" ', said Bagga uncle with a wounded expression.

In the end i can only say that i loved the book. I have already bought the next two books in the series so i would definitely read them. If you are looking for a detective fiction then you should definitely read this book. If you have read this, write in comments as to how you liked it and if you haven't read this then you can buy it from the following links:
Amazon(Paperback)

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