The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra - book 1 in the Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation
by Vaseem Khan
I can’t praise this book enough. I loved every minute of my time with Inspector Chopra (Retd). He is still a relatively young man who must retire from the police force in Mumbai because of a recent heart attack. We meet him on his last day of work. He comes upon a case of a young man found dead. It is deemed an accidental death and the police do not intend to spend any time on it. But Inspector Ashwin Chopra hears the boy’s mother say that her son’s death is being neglected because he is only a poor boy. Because Chopra is a good man, an honest man, and a caring man he takes her words to heart and begins his own investigation though he is not an official police inspector anymore.
Along with being involved in this case, he has a surprise inheritance from his uncle, whom he hasn’t seen for years. His uncle Bansi was quite a magical fellow who had a kind of Dr. Doolittle relationship with animals. A baby elephant arrives with a letter:
It is my request that you take in and care for this elephant. It is a newborn, not yet a year old. If I were to tell you the circumstances by which this elephant entered the world you would not believe me, at least not yet. Let me say only this to you: this is no ordinary elephant. Remember what is real and what is illusion is only a matter of perspective.
Can you imagine such a thing?! Mumbai is not a verdant, rural retreat. This is a city teeming with people everywhere. Chopra’s home is an apartment on the 15th floor. For the time being, the elephant named Ganesh is hitched outdoors near the hut of the security person. Chopra has a wife called Poppy. Her mother also lives with them. There are no children which is a great sadness to Poppy.
Vaseem Khan brings the city of Mumbai to life. The reader can feel the heat and the rain and the smells; the poverty and the richness and the corruption and the wonder of this place. Although I’m unlikely to ever go there, India holds a place in my heart like no other.