The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopa is the debut novel of Vaseem Khan. I loved it and hope it is the first of many to come. The subtitle of the book is A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation, is giving me hope it is the first in a long series of works centering on retired Mumbai Police Inspector Chopra, his wife Poppy and Baby Ganesh, a four hundred pound baby elephant he unexpectedly inherited from an uncle.
Vaseem Khan is from Mumbai and he totally brought the sprawling mega-city of twenty million to life, as seen though the eyes of a veteran police inspector, a head officer of a police station. As portrayed police officers of all ranks are very tempted to fall into corruption. The pay is not huge and giving into graft can bring riches. Inspector Chopa in his thirty year career has never given in. He is fifty and has recently had a heart attack and is being forced into early retirement. He and his wife Poppy have no children, they live in a good high rise community. He worries what he will do once he retires, his wife wants him to just relax but he really has few outside interests.
On the last day at work there is a nice party for him. He also gets a very unexpected gift, a baby elephant. He names him "Ganesh" and takes him home and chains him up out front of the building. Needless to say, Poppy is not real thrilled. Near his last day a woman came into the station saying her son has been murdered but because he is from a poor family know one will really investigate his death. Chopa is bothered by this and from that feeling the story unfolds.
Poppy is a great cook and foodies will relish all the meals she cooks.
Chopa starts on an investigation that takes him to the mansions of a lord of Mumbai gangsters, to a huge slum, almost gets him killed and infuriates Poppy by his failure to stay home, with visits to all sorts of interesting places perfectly included. As Chopa continues on his investigation there are several interesting and so much fun to follow subplots. At first Poppy is very mad over the baby elephant, but soon she is feeding and bathing him and fighting with the president of the building owner's group over their right to keep a baby elephant. Ganesh actually becomes a "house pet" for a while. The ban and shame of Poppy's life is her medically established inability to have a child. She hatched a truly crazy plot to make her husband think she is pregnant and will have a child. Ganesh bonds more and more with Chopa and he takes the elephant along on his investigations. In a scene I loved, a few may groan over it, Ganesh saves the Inspector from being murdered by gangsters.
The denoumont of the novel is just wonderful. It is a happy feel good close I really enjoyed. I never saw it coming but I loved it. Something exciting and unexpected happens every few pages. The characters, including Baby Ganesh, are really well realized. This feels like it might be the start of a series and I certainly hope so.
About this author
You should have a look at his very interesting webpage vaseemkhan.com
- from Goodreads.
This book would make the basis for a very good T V series.