"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library" - Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Forced into early retirement due to a recent heart attack, the incorruptible and by-the-book Inspector Ashwin Chopra marks his last day on the force with two surprises: 1) he inherits a baby elephant, Ganesha, from a favorite and long-revered (though long-absent) uncle; and 2) the final case of his career to (technically) come across his desk is the "accidental" drowning of a young man that sets Chopra's spidey sense a-tingling, alerting him it may be something more.  But in his beloved city of Mumbai, overcrowded and under-funded and sprinkled liberally with corruption, Chopra's colleagues are more than willing to solve the case by declaring it an accident and chalking up as closed - especially for a young man from one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city.  But something about the boy - about the grieving mother who has already given up hopes of learning the truth about what happened to her son, because no one cares about the poor - spurs Chopra on to find the truth, as the trail of clues leads him further into the corruption of Indian politicians and lawmakers, and to a shocking truth that will turn Chopra's entire life around, even as getting closer to that truth puts his own life in danger.  But with the help of ex-colleagues he can trust, a wife determined to stick by her husband, and one incredible baby elephant, Chopra is determined to crack the case - even if it's his last.  The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is my favorite book of 2015; in fact, one of my favorite novels of all time.  Beautifully written, the characters of Chopra, his wife Poppy, the heroic baby Ganesha - even the minor characters - breathe fully of life on the page.  At times humorous, suspenseful as hell, and even charming, the novel also provides a real feel for India - of Mumbai today - in all its conflicted beauty, always pulsating with life, and it's one of those books you will be a little sad for having finished ... with the second in the series not even due until June 2016!  Even writing this, I miss Chopra and Poppy and their friends and colleagues already, even wishing I had my own Ganesha in the backyard, frolicking in muddy waters under a mango tree.  A well-written mystery, and a marvelous start to what promises to be an endearing, original and beloved series.  *****

Note: I received a free ARC of this title via NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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