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The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector ChopraReview - The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation
by Vaseem Khan
Hachette Audio, 2015
Review by Christian Perring
Nov 24th 2015 (Volume 19, Issue 48)

Police mysteries have widespread appeal, but it's such a well-worn genre that it's hard for authors to come up with anything new.  So a new setting outside of the UK or the USA is very welcome. Vaseem Khan introduces a new series featuring the retired Inspector Chopra, who lives in Mumbai, India. Chopra has had to retire early due to a heart problem, much to his disappointment. We meet him on his last day of work, when he shows right up to the last hour of his employment the same high standards that he has demonstrated throughout his career.  He gets the case of a young man who has drowned. Other police are insisting that this is a routine drowning and should be dropped, but the facts don't add up. When the next day Chopra discovers that his successor has rescinded his command to perform an autopsy, Chopra starts investigating the case on his own. This may save him from the effects of staying home and eating too much of his wife's food, but it will also lead him into risk. He faces many obstacles in getting to the truth, and he uncovers large scale crime in the process. The reader gets to see some of modern Mumbai, with corruption, modern crime, and some distinctive elements of the developing world. But it isn't all grim; we also learn about Chopra's home life with his wife Poppy and other relatives. He and Poppy still have a strong marriage, but there are some tensions, in particular the fact that they have not been able to have children. Poppy is worried that their childlessness will cause his to look elsewhere, and this leads to some misunderstanding between them. An extra element of lighter entertainment is the arrival in their home of a baby elephant, which Chopra has to care for. We see him educating himself about the care of these animals and a growing bond between them, which of course results in the elephant eventually getting involved in the case. So The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is a particularly satisfying read, with lively writing and vivid characters. It helped in its audiobook version by the performance by Sartaj Garewal, whose Indian accent and energetic reading makes the listening experience especially pleasing.

 

© 2015 Christian Perring

 

Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York


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