Book review: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan


  • Series: A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Redhook (September 15, 2015)


In this Indian-set mystery, Inspector Chopra inherits an elephant and an unsolved murder on his last day at work. A joyful, charming read for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.

The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved.

And the second is a baby elephant.

As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.

And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs…

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Meet the author:   I first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when I arrived in the city of Mumbai, India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual sight Vaseem Khan author picI had ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind my Baby Ganesh series of light-hearted crime novels. I was born in London in 1973, went on to gain a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics, before spending a decade on the subcontinent helping one of India’s premier hotel groups establish a chain of five-star environmentally friendly ‘ecotels’ around the country. I returned to the UK in 2006 and have since worked at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science where I am continually amazed at the way modern science is being used to tackle crime. Elephants are third on my list of passions, first and second being great literature and cricket, not always in that order.

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“What do you mean he’s sending me an elephant?

Inspector Ashwin Chopra (RetD) is at a loss.  He has problems with his ticker and is forced to take an early retirement.  The Unexpected Inheritace of Inspector Chopra is a madcap yet whimsical account of an unusual team consisting of a baby elephant and a retired police officer.  Chopra’s keen sense of honour and justice leads him on a dangerous mission to find a young boy’s killer.

Having personally been to Mumbai on two occasions, I was interested to read about daily life in Mumbai.  For the short time it took to read this story, I was transported back to India.  The story flowed easily with plenty of action and tongue-in-cheek humour and whimsical situations, for example, the scenes with Poppy, Chopra’s wife, rubbing Vicks VapoRub onto the baby elephant Ganesha to ease his cold and then commiserating together  in their living room watching Indian soap operas and sharing a bowl of banana chips.

The secondary characters in this book were just as enjoyable to read about as the main characters, from the tyrannical building administrator Mrs. Subramamium to the faithful sidekick police officer Rangwalla.

A delightful read.  I look forward to reading Vaseem’s next book The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown.


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