The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken
A book with a strange title can lead to one of two scenarios. The first is that the book is just as strange as the name. The second is that the name is a means to create curiosity, and the story is pretty mellow in comparison. Such were my thoughts when I was handed the book ‘The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken’ by Tarquin Hall. Imagine my astonishment and quiet relief when the book turned out to land in the secret category number three: A story that satisfies the curiosity caused by the name of the book. To add to this pleasant discovery, the book was humorous without resorting to the slapstick, something that is always appreciated.
The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken is a murder mystery based in the capital city of New Delhi, India. Although the premise of the plot is an unpleasant one, the story is certainly not. The story follows private investigator Vish Puri, or Chubby as he is lovingly called by his friends and family. A person passes on after consuming some suspicious butter chicken at a cricket after party, and it is up to Vish to bring the killer to light. All the attendees are suspects, which include businessmen, politicians and socialites. The first of many twists in the tale comes when the detective’s mother is needed to solve the case. But then again, with such an unconventional murder weapon, anything can be expected.
What I enjoyed most about the book was how humorously the characters were described. Whether it was the detective’s mother, a true Punjabi lady with her meddlesome disposition; or the detective’s driver, nicknamed Handbrake for obvious reasons; I could relate to each person as if they lived next door. The humorous take on the social and political scene in the city was also enjoyable.
And to get rid of any concerns, the book will not taint the glorious reputation of the ever-so-popular butter chicken.