Six reasons why you should read The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
1. A Mumbai Mystery Tour
Roll up, Roll up, this mystery takes place in Mumbai, which is a vibrant, intoxicating presence, a riot of sounds, scents and tastes that constantly influences the action – the city is a lavish distraction, a delight and, at times, an obstacle, all of which adds to the comedy and the drama. When Inspector Chopra’s investigation takes him into the city’s criminal underworld, you witness Mumbai’s dark underbelly too. Essentially, the novel takes you on a trip to one of the largest and most enigmatic cities in the world.
2. A man’s best friend is an Elephant
On the eve of his retirement from the police force, Ashwin Chopra is bequeathed a very unusual inheritance: a melancholy baby elephant. Mystified by the gift, which is from his uncle, he takes the elephant home and here begins a very sweet and very funny friendship. As Inspector Chopra finds himself drawn into a tangled mystery, the elephant proves to be an invaluable aid because, as he discovers, it has brilliant investigative instincts. As the plot darkens, their friendship deepens – but the elephant also provides many comic moments too.
3. A very unusual retirement plan
Ashwin’s wife Poppy is delighted that he is finally retiring from the Police force, but, though she may have had other plans for him, his investigative days are not over. When his rather inept replacement fails to investigate the circumstances a drowned boy, Ashwin is compelled to resume his role. Together with his pachyderm sidekick, he begins to follow the clues to a murder mystery that spans all of Mumbai.
4. Hints of Poirot
The character of Inspector Chopra has shades of Poirot about him; he is fastidious, his curiosity is acute, he follows all clues, unafraid when others think him silly, and he is governed by a strict adherence to his notion of justice. While Poirot has Hastings by his side, as a loveable yet less-gifted sidekick, Chopra has Ganesh the elephant. Both Chopra and Poirot underestimate their ‘assistants’ and both are pleasantly surprised.
5. Warning: cosy crime is addictive
Cosy crime is a genre, as its name suggests, that exudes warmth and appeals to readers who don’t usually read crime just as much as to those who do; the crimes themselves are a little less harsh, the stakes are no lower, but the comedy runs high, so the flow and the fun is pronounced. Like all novels in the genre, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, is, essentially, hilarious. Just be warned - once you have been struck by the cosy crime bug, it is hard to resist.
6. The start of a wonderful friendship
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is the first in a series of comic crime novels set in Mumbai. Full of wit and humour, Khan’s series (to be called collectively the Baby Ganesh Agency novels) will remind readers of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels. Luckily, it is not long to wait before you can venture back into the lively world of this feel-good novel as the second Inspector Chopra installment is due out in the summer.