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Archive for March, 2013

the case of the deadly butter chickenVish Puri’s third outing deals with the ugly side of that most gentlemanly of sports – cricket. Vish’s nephew is playing in the new cricket league in India and Vish & his family – mummyji included – are at a high-profile after-dinner match, when the father of one of the players falls over dead. Vish gets involved in this case, much to the chagrin of the official police, who are keen to solve it themselves. Before long, Vish realises the extent of the gambling mafia that has begun to control the game, the high stakes involved and the kind of powerful people who seem to have a finger in the pie. To get to the bottom of the puzzle, Vish has to head out to that most dreaded of all places – Pakistan, the land of the enemy – where a thread begins to unravel that has the potential to not only solve the mystery but also bring out some skeletons tumbling from the Puri family’s history. At the same time, not to be undaunted, his mummyji is on a quest all her own to solve a mystery that’s been haunting her for over half a century.

We have all the familiar characters from the Most Private Investigators’ stable – the seductive Facecream, the resourceful Tubelight, Handbrake the driver and Flush the geek. The canvas of this story stretches across the Indian sub-continent – in India and across the border in Pakistan.

This is the third novel in the series by Tarquin Hall and its every bit as enjoyable as the preceding two. The story line is strong, yet Tarquin manages to keep the writing light, peppering the story with witty anecdotes & side-incidents that make reading this crime novel a very easy weekend read.

We look forward to the next book in the series.

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legal briefs - stories by today's best legal thriller writersThis is a collection of legal stories by some very well-known legal writers, including John Grisham, Richard North Patterson and Lisa Scottoline. The collection has been put together by William Bernhardt, himself a known novelist in the genre and who has also contributed a story to this set. The stories have an undercurrent of crime, or rather, aspects of law-breaking which is where the lawyer angle comes in, but this is not a compendium of crime fiction. Instead, some of the stories bring out some of the more human elements of the much-maligned profession, drawing from the reader a range of emotions including that rare one for a lawyer – admiration.

I have always maintained that the short-story genre presents a huge challenge to a writer, to come up with a clever plot that grabs the attention early on and keeps the reader going till the end without him working out the ending until the last page. Most of the stories in this selection achieve that objective very well, making this collection an excellent read for the discerning reader of short stories.

Its hard to pick the best of the lot, but the ones that I really liked include Poetic Justice by Steve Martini, The Client by Richard North Patterson, The Jailhouse Lawyer by Phillip Margolin and Carrying Concealed by Lisa Scottoline. That’s not to say the rest are not nice, but rather that the plot & twist in these stories have been excellently conceived & written.

Very enjoyable selection.

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