Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan (2015)

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

Vaseem Khan is the author of 'The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra', first in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series set in India and featuring a baby elephant! He first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in the city of Mumbai, India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual sight he had ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind his light-hearted crime novels. Vaseem was born in London in 1973, went on to gain a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics, before spending a decade on the subcontinent helping one of India's premier hotel groups establish a chain of five-star environmentally friendly 'ecotels' around the country. He returned to the UK in 2006 and has since worked at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science. Elephants are third on his list of passions, first and second being great literature and cricket, not always in that order. - from Goodreads.

This book would make the basis for a very good T V series.  


Anonymous said...

Well you have me intrigued, though I probably would be one of the readers who would groan. ;-)

Mel u said...

Jamesreadsbooks. Thanks as always for your visit, it is a fun book and I think we will see a lot more from the author

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