The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra was published on 13 August 2015 by Mulholland Books and is available to buy here
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.
On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…
But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.
So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.
On a cold wet day in summer, there is nothing better than a bit of crime from a country where the sun actually makes an appearance. I decided to read The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan, after hearing about it recently at the Bradford Literature Festival. It is the start of a quirky series set in Mumbai, India. It features a retired police officer and his pet baby elephant.
The story introduces Inspector Ashwin Chopra. We find out that Chopra is on his final day, before retirement. He has had to retire, due to a dicky ticker. He is happily married to Poppy and in his fifties. He is a good honest man. He loves his country. He has a passion for solving crime.
Chopra becomes obsessed with the murder of Santosh. The death of Santosh was his final case. It was of no interest to Chopra’s successor, who has written it off as suicide. Chopra starts to investigate privately. He spends his retirement trailing suspects and hunting for clues. He is away so often, his poor wife thinks he is having an affair. Events take a dark turn, as Chopra begins to realise what Santosh’s death means.
The beauty of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is that it gives you a whole new culture to discover. India is a fascinating place, full of contradictions and a rich history. We see the poverty and the slums. The rain and the excessive heat. It feels familiar and strange. We get to know Chopra, a middle class, intelligent man with a good moral compass. He is the kind of man, you cannot help but relate to. The story is delightful and easy to lose yourself in. It is not often you get to know a character, who has a baby elephant as a companion. There is a light-hearted touch to the writing. This is not heavy crime. It is the kind that is very welcome.
Fabulous. This is crime, with light humour and an engaging plot. A cute elephant. A super new detective. What is not to love. Recommended.