Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, The

Hall, Tarquin

  23 Reviews

Meet Vish Puri the generously proportioned Indian private detective who is on the case again, locating a moustache thief, investigating cricket match fixing with its deadly butter chicken connection, and more somberly, shedding light on the tense events that occurred at the time of Partition.

Involving a cheerful cast of characters, this light-hearted whodunnit is perfectly balanced by its exploration of historical and contemporary issues faced by the Indian sub-continent. Good food and high jinks abound. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

Loved the language. And there were really positive comments about the notes. Excellent. Christchurch 004

Group enjoyed the book, both the style and theme. Felt the author had achieved his wish to convey the complexity, humour, warmth and brutality of modern India to his readers. Very colourful and a grand read. Mt Maunganui 001

Somewhat enjoyable, but confusing with lots of different characters and plots making it hard to keep up. Southbridge 001

We loved this delightful quirky mystery. And very topical. Taihape 001

Generally the book was liked, but the group was divided into those who really liked it and those who found names too difficult to follow, and it had a rather disjointed storyline. All agreed it gave an interesting and disturbing insight to Indian history, as the plight of women at the time of partitioning was unknown to us. Auckland 116

Most of the group enjoyed the book, especially the way in which humour was balanced with more serious facts about India and Pakistan. The questions were exellent and generated thoughtful discussion. Putaruru 001

Some enjoyed this, others didn't. To be approached as a "light opera", but there are serious issues within. Nelson 040



PICT 007
7 out of 9 members finished this book. And those that finished it, loved it. So much humour and the main character was very likeable. It generated a lot of discussion on India and the partition. None of us knew about that history, so that was very interesting. An all around great read for most of us.
AUCK 100
Our group were divided in their opinions on the book. All agreed that the information about the partition of India in 1947 was very interesting. Comments included I had no idea how bad it was. Some really enjoyed the book, while others found the writing (by a person of non-Indian origin) patronising and grating. The use of Indian slang was thought to be unsubtle and offensive by some. The glossary was useful but very incomplete.
A mixed response from our group. Most enjoyed it, a few found it hard to get into but liked it by the end, and some did not like it. Overall more positive than negative feedback hence a 4 star rating. I thought it was a very interesting look at a piece of history I was not that familiar with, and even made cricket sound like it could be fun.
Most of us felt this book disappointed. It was highly recommended but in actual fact was just a thin tale with little characterisation and predictable outcomes. Perhaps if the reviews hadn't been so good we would have expected less and enjoyed it more.
CHCH 049
Enjoyed the humour and the style.
Well, the Buttered Chicken went down very well! Tarquin Hall was very clever in interweaving the themes of comedy, mystery and history. We were amused by Vish Puri, the plump private detective, as he set about solving the mysteries, all the while giving us a romp through Indian cuisine.
General agreement that the book notes were excellent and informative. Diverse reactions to this novel with its many strands. Several members gave up and did not finish, others thoroughly enjoyed it. The author cleverly changed the mood of the book to introduce the in depth information about the horrors arising from partition.
CHCH 064
Divided views about the tenor of the book, which produced a lively discussion. Excellent notes and questions. A clever way to write of a country's history. Not just a detective story.
Those that read it really enjoyed it. We had a very interesting discussion. We thought the characters were great, it flowed well, it was educational, humorous and taught us more about cricket. Altogether a good read.
NELS 064
A good book if you like cricket. Our group wasn't impressed, but most managed to get through it. It was a light read.
TAUM 003
A favourite with all members - a mystery with an unusual flavour but so much more than a mystery - a masterly blend of mystery, history, culture, national character and humour.
CHCH 480
All members of group who read the book enjoyed it. Members are enjoying being exposed to different styles, genre and authors. Often we follow only certain authors. The history and culture including the recipes was notable. Writing was very descriptive. There was some difficulty with remembering and putting faces to names. Some of us found we needed to read several chapters in one sitting to keep track of all the characters.
Overall our group enjoyed the book, enjoyed the characters, especially Mummy-Ji. For some the descriptions of Indian culture was very familiar and real. The sad history of the Partition was not well known to us and was hard to read about. A 'Cosy Murder' genre. The many threads in the story meant that those who were able to read the book through from cover to cover enjoyed it most and those who couldn't found it a bit disjointed.
AUCK 412
Only 3 people in our group finished the book, and enjoyed it. Compared it to the Hercules Poirot books, with its many twists. Other book club members just didn't like the book at all.
Everybody loved the book, especially the language, descriptions of people and places and the mannerisms - so very Indian. Despite the fact that the writer was not Indian himself, he has spent much time living there and is able to pass on the culture, people and history to the reader. Many tales wove their way through the book.
STEW 001
Mixed reaction - a "love" or "indifferent" book. Characterisation was strong; almost overdone. It was generally light hearted humour.
NELS 044
Differing reactions to this book. A couple loved it and will seek out this author again. One thought it patronised the Indian people. Others enjoyed the humour and appreciated the information about the Partition.
NAP 024
This book reminded everyone of Alexander McCall Smith's stories. Very easy read. This meeting was our end of year dinner for our book club. We held it at an Indian restaurant and no-one ordered butter chicken!
ASHB 022
Resulted in a diversity of opinion. Two really enjoyed this book as it captured the essence of their own experience of Indian culture. We all enjoyed the opportunity to gain knowledge of the partition history of India and Pakistan. In many ways it was a complex read, and did manage to introduce an intricate plot and humour along the way.
AUCK 344
Our group enjoyed the book - some 'laugh out loud' moments. The book contains a mixture of quirky humour and serious insight into the history of India and Pakistan, particularly the plight of women at the time of partition. It was obvious that the author had lived in India - he conveyed the complexity, contrasts and corruption of present day India very well.
TAUR 018
Overall there were mixed reactions to this book. We were interested in the experiences of Partition, and found it harrowing and confrontational. Some of us were confused by the numbers of characters. The three themes of the book were beautifully interwoven. We enjoyed the detailed descriptions of Indian food - perhaps the central theme of the book!
AUCK 280
A few of the group found it challenging to start with - the 'voice' and multitude of different threads! Most thoroughly enjoyed it however - the humour, the historical background and especially the character of Mummy-ji.
Some of us found it to be a light, semi-entertaining book that picked up when it encountered the history of the partition in India - especially the women at the time. Some of the group found the book to be dull and/or insulting and possibly racist.