Thursday, February 25, 2016


Vaseem Khan's The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is unbelievably humorous.

The unbelievable part is that Mumbai, India, retired Inspector Ashwin Chopra's sidekick is a baby elephant. Maybe twenty percent of the book is devoted to Chopra and his elephant tailing one of the bad guys. They even tail the criminal into a huge modern shopping mall.

And the humorous part is that Mumbai retired Inspector Ashwin Chopra's sidekick is a baby elephant. The elephant, a gift from an eccentric uncle, ends up in Chopra's high rise apartment.

In the course of the book, the elephant saves Chopra's life and helps Chopra catch a dangerous criminal.

The book is a mixture of the cozy and the horrifying. It involves one of the most terrible crimes in our world today. It reveals a corrupt society. (The Mumbai police and the political structures which support the police enable the criminals.) And it ends with Chopra being disillusioned.

Chopra has been an honest cop.

Along the way, Chopra's wife plans to pretend to be pregnant. She thinks he is cheating on her because she is unable to have a child. And she worries about her husband who retired because of a heart attack.

So this book is many things. Most of all it is unbelievable but fun to read.

For me, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra was ironic too. Just a week or two ago I read The Elephant WhispererNaturalist Lawrence Anthony's point view is that the only content wild animal is uncaged, unhindered by humans. And now I'm reading a book where an elephant is a pet, a sidekick in a budding detective agency. Anthony would hate that.

If you are looking for a fun, sometimes silly and sometimes serious book, you might like The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra.


Nan said...

I very much enjoyed this. too. Recently I watched a program on the BBC (via Tunnelbear) that featured the city of Jaipur, and there were animals just roaming the streets already crowded with people. I didn't see an elephant but goats and cows and monkeys were present. So I guess it wouldn't surprise me if there were elephants as well. There's another cozy mystery series set in India, Delhi, written by Tarquin Hall and featuring Vish Puri as the detective.

Joe Barone said...

Thanks for the note, Nan. I find people either like this book or they don't. I liked it.