Posted on October 7, 2016
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
Vaseem Khan was born in London in 1973. He worked for ten years in Mumbai, India and on his return in 2006 joined the Department of Security and Crime Science at University College London and still works there.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is the first in the Baby Ganesh detective agency series and was published in August 2015. The next in the series, The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown is due out next spring.
As Inspector Chopra is preparing for his last day at Sahar police station he discovers he has inherited a baby elephant from an eccentric uncle. As he arrives at the police station a crowd is gathered because a young man has died. His mother claims he has been murdered and is very distraught because she believes her son’s death will not be properly investigated because they are poor.
Inspector Chopra asks for a post-mortem to discover the cause of death although his replacement has already decided it was death by drowning whilst drunk. There is little he can do on his last day.
In the days that follow his forced early retirement Chopra is feeling despondent and at a loss at how to spend his time to fill the long days ahead. The baby elephant refuses to eat and the new inspector has refused the post mortem that Chopra requested for the young man.
Ashwin Chopra, a principled and honest man, wishes to do what is right for the elephant and the dead boy so he seeks knowledge on how to care for baby Ganesha and commences his own investigation into the boy’s death.
His search for the truth leads him though some of the roughest parts of the Mumbai slum district and baby Ganesha comes to his assistance when the going gets tough.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is a delightful book; very amusing and entertaining with well-defined characters. Inspector Chopra is very easy to like because he is an honest man yet not pompous with it. He is kind and thoughtful but never too imposing with his code of ethics. His character evolves as the novel progresses. There is also humorous and moving interaction between Chopra and his wife Poppy.
Due to its setting the story allows you to escape to another world: the vibrant city of Mumbai. There are some wonderful descriptions of Mumbai’s underworld as well as the more affluent areas and weaves in the charm of the local people and their lives.
I can see the Baby Ganesh detective agency series a clear favourite for a television series sometime soon.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is published by Mulholland Books – An imprint of Hodder and Stoughton
You can follow Vaseem Khan on Twitter: @VaseemKhanUK