Superbly crafted novel with a heart
- Book: Bad Day at the Vulture Club
- Location: Mumbai (Bombay)
- Author: Vaseem Khan
I love Vaseem Khan novels for the way he tells his stories. Baby Ganesha agency’s investigations are light and breezy with the added advantage of having Bombay as the backdrop. So, while they are wrapped up in a whodunnit, Khan has beautifully way of interwining the city with it.
I was hooked ever since I read the first one and this is the last book in the Ganesha series. What a way to end it! With each Baby Ganesha book, the storytelling is more nuanced, the style more layered and the narrative full of laughs with a slight undercurrent of social issues. Not many whodunnits do that and that is one of the main reasons why I love the writer and his work.
When Perizad, a Parsi heiress comes to Inspector Chopra to reinvestigate her father’s death, Chopra doesn’t realise that he will end up unearthing some dark secrets about the Parsi community.
Vaseem Khan sets his story in the Parsi community, which not many know is a decadent but critical contributor to the city’s financial foundations in the past.
I particularly loved the way he introduces the Parsi culture through the dilapidated building. “Time’s inescapable embrace shimmered around the facade: in the crumbling plasterwork, the faded paint, the creepers that wound unhindered between the rusted railings of the wrought- iron gate.”
I could immediately picture the place, its declining glory and that sense of harbouring many secrets.
Setting the story set in the Parsi community meant it would have rich cultural influences in terms of food and practices which was a delight to read.
The characters as usual are distinct, and it is amazing how the story moves away from the community into the general population and back so seamlessly while keeping a tight rein on the plot. Absolutely loved it!
While traffic is a perennial topic, he also uses the story to highlight the Poo2loo campaign, which comes with a helpful author’s note at the end. And that for me, is a big plus. The reader gets the whole package – entertainment value in the case of a well crafted whoddunit, an insight into a less known community and a social issue which adds to the reading experience.
This is my favourite of the lot and as Vaseem Khan moves on to a whole new series, this fan is going to be definitely looking forward to his next!