Inspector Chopra & Ganesh

The Baby Ganesh Detective Agency

Created by Vaseem Khan

The second novel in the series, The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown (2016), may have won the 2017 Shamus for Best Original Paperback Novel, but I was plenty confused about how someone named INSPECTOR CHOPRA could possibly be a private investigator, no matter how lovable his baby elephant "partner," Ganesh, happened to be.

But it turns out it's all legit. Chopra, after a long and mostly distinguished career in Mumbai law enforcement, is forced to resign due to health reasons, and now works as a private eye, of sorts, even if he does seem to stumble into his cases. Now all he has to deal with is his headstrong wife Poppy, a ferocious and disapproving mother-in-law and his pet elephant, Ganesh. And some of the screwiest cases on the Sub-continent.

Yes, a baby elephant. We're not exactly talking hard-boiled here, although the author's vivid , idiosyncratic recreation of Indian culture, warts and all, reveals a pleasingly shrewd eye and he certainly knows how to spin a feel-good yarn. Fans of such other charmers as Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri, Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe or even Norbert Davis' Doan and Carstairs ought to get a kick out of this series.

According to his Amazon bio, the author first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a consultant. It was the most unusual thing he'd ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind his series of crime novels. He returned to the UK in 2006 and now works at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science where he is astonished daily by the way modern science is being employed to tackle crime.



Our listing of sub-continetnal ops

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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