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Mystery set in Mumbai (a baby elephant aids investigations)

1st November 2019

The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan, mystery set in Mumbai.

Mystery set in Mumbai

I can’t believe my luck at having just discovered this finely written and information-packed novel about Inspector Chopra and his sidekick Ganesha, a baby elephant. And I’m feeling even luckier to discover that the novel is part of a series starring the detecting duo.

Set in the sprawling city of Mumbai—a character in its own right in the novel—The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan takes the detective genre to rich new heights. I was captivated not only by Chopra and Ganesha, but by all of the characters swirling through the novel—from the haughty Bollywood legend Bijli Verma and her even haughtier (and soon-to-be kidnapped) son Vicky who is also a Bollywood star, to Chopra’s passionate and not-to-be-messed-with wife Poppy, to Chopra’s partner in the Baby Ganesh Agency, Rangwalla, who learns to confront and overcome his own prejudices, and to even the bit players like Malini Sheriwal, known also as Shoot-em-up-Sheriwal, who is another of Khan’s badass women characters definitely not to be trifled with—or she’ll shoot you.

The novel is not your run-of-the-mill detective mystery. For one thing, there’s Ganesha—a charming, intelligent, 200-kilo baby elephant who accompanies Chopra everywhere. Ganesha is not just a cute (and unusual) sidekick. He plays an integral role in helping Chopra with his investigations.

Every page of The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star is dense with the sights and smells and sounds of Mumbai, fascinating insights into life in India, and insider information about the massive Bollywood film industry that produces over 900 films a year. Chopra is hired to investigate the kidnapping of mega-star Vicky Verma who disappears during the filming of the most expensive Bollywood movie ever produced.

Reading about the race to find Verma and his kidnappers made me lose a day’s work!

I can’t say I’m sorry. The hours I spent reclining on the couch and making the acquaintance of Chopra and Ganesha and following the various mysteries weaving through the novel to their satisfying conclusions were very well spent. I highly recommend this novel and can’t wait to read other installments in the series.

Guest Review by Carol M Cram for Art in Fiction, a new literary website for lovers of novels inspired by the arts (give them a follow on Twitter and Facebook!)

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  1. User: Alyson Read

    Posted on: 02/11/2019 at 7:55 pm

    This whole series is highly enjoyable and enchanting. I wold recommend these to everyone, and you’ll learn a lot about India as well!