Monday, February 19, 2018

The Case of the Love Commandos

The Love Commandos are real, a group that whisks away couples who wish to marry for love and avoid arranged marriages.  As an American, even one who's hopeless when it comes to the dating scene, I can't imagine entering an arranged marriage.  For millions of people, though, it's not only normal but leads to a successful partnership and happy life.  That's Vish Puri's point of view.  He and Rumpi had an arranged marriage which quickly turned to a love match.  Decades later, they're grandparents and still in love.

Puri's operative Facecream, though, doesn't agree.  She's been quietly working with the Love Commandos, and as the book opens she's "kidnapping" Tulsi, daughter of a rich and ruthless upper-caste family so that she can marry her Dalit boyfriend, Ram.  Ram, however, disappears from the safe house and Facecream calls her reluctant boss for help.  Puri doesn't believe in love matches, but he also doesn't believe in vacation, even if the vacation is a family pilgrimage.  So he visits Ram's home town and comes across both political corruption and unethical pharmaceutical testing.  Like The Case of The Deadly Butter Chicken, Tarquin Hall seamlessly integrates serious social matters into a fairly light mystery.  He also gives Mummy-Ji a chance to remind us that she's a skilled detective as well, when her recovery of Vish's stolen wallet leads to her solving the robbery of a shrine.

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