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The Case of the Reincarnated Client    by Tarquin Hall order for
Case of the Reincarnated Client
by Tarquin Hall
Order:  USA  Can
Severn House, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Case of the Reincarnated Client is the fifth in Tarquin Hall's quirky cozy mysteries starring India's Most Private Investigator Vish Puri and his ever helpful Mummy. In many ways, the series is reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Vish Puri, affectionately called Chubby (for obvious reasons) by his wife Rumpi, runs a celebrated detective agency in Delhi, India with the help of Handbrake (his driver), Flush (an electronics whiz), Tubelight (a heavy sleeper), and Handcream (a lovely Nepali undercover operative named Laxmi). Though Chubby constantly tries to keep his Mummy out of his cases, he's never successful - and she usually helps solve them, using her 'back channel of influential ladies in Delhi, better plugged in than Interpol, the CIA and James Bond put together.'

This time Mummy embroils Chubby in a very cold case that's been reborn, so to speak. Vish's father originally investigated it, with no success. A young woman is convinced that she's the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, who disappeared (believed killed) during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots when so many were butchered and burned alive. When re-living these events, Saanvi comes across very credibly, possessing surprisingly detailed knowledge during 'past life regression therapy'.

Adding to Chubby's stress levels, the government suddenly announces that 'as of midnight, all five-hundred and one-thousand rupee notes will no longer be legal tender'. Also a client, whose daughter's groom Chubby investigated prior to the marriage, threatens to sue because of said daughter's unhappiness with her new husband's extremely loud snoring.

Though I enjoyed the very clever solutions to both Chubby's cases, what I like most about this series is the window the author gives readers into the chaos and challenges (from a maelstrom of traffic and air pollution to 'Gordian knots of wires and cables hung from the sides of buildings') of life in modern India

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