The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra - Vaseem Khan

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The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra - Vaseem Khan

Post by Graham on Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:51 am

If you can accept Inspector Ahwin Chopra (retd.) successfully tailing a suspect through a shopping mall while leading a baby elephant, then you should have no trouble with the rest of this book. To give it its due it does contain a great deal of the charm alluded to by the publisher and it does successfully conjure up the modern Mumbai. I knew the then Bombay in the 70’s and the 90’s before modernity staked its claim. Now the old lives cheek by jowl with the new. Inspector Chopra is distinctly old-style. This is not the Mumbai of mass terror attacks or religious riots and while the villains are murderous they will not keep you awake at night, unless they insist on reading you endless bedtime stories.

It is a light read and treads on the same ground as Alexander McCall Smith albeit with baby elephant sized feet. Clichés abound, from the villain in his ‘crisp white suit and sunglasses’ emerging from a Mercedes with blacked out windows to the alcoholic inspector who replaces Chopra and who refuses to investigate the suspicious death of a young man on Chopra’s last day in office.

Kahn’s editor must take some of the blame. On page 16 we meet Mrs Subramanium a ‘mantis-like presence’ and two pages later Chopra’s mother-in-law a ‘spider-like presence’. Then there is the uncharacteristic idiocy with which Chopra walks into the villain’s den only to be outnumbered and overcome by the support goons. This bit of unsubtle plotting is necessary to then portray baby elephant Ganesha’s heroic, other-worldly abilities.

Suspend your disbelief for a day or two and enjoy this simple but exotic tale.

Graham
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