Vish Puri, P.I.
- Born: 1951
- Birthplace: Punjabi Bagh, Delhi
- Nickname: Chubby
- Wife: His wife, Rumpi, is the daughter of a retired Brigadier in the Indian army. They have three daughters.
- Mother: Puri’s mother, known to all as “Mummy-ji,” is a retired head teacher with a keen interest in the affairs of others. A capable detective in her own right, she often becomes embroiled in minor cases, despite Puri’s disapproval: “Women are not detectives and detectives are certainly not Mummies,” as Puri points out. But when the father of a star Pakistani cricketer is poisoned in The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, she realizes that she alone has unique insight into the case.
- Father: Puri is the son of a deceased Delhi police officer, framed for corruption.
- Current title: Chief Operating Officer, Most Private Investigators Ltd.
- Profession: Private investigator (former Military Intelligence)
- Company: Most Private Investigators Ltd.
- Credo: “Danger is my ally.”
- Service Awards: Winner of six National Awards
Vish Puri’s company, founded in 1981, is India’s number one private investigation agency. From their HQ above Bahri Sons bookshop in Khan Market, South Delhi, Puri and his team of operatives handle all manner of problems plaguing modern Indian society – from exposing the secret affairs and devious lies of prospective brides and grooms to the alleged murder of a lowly maidservant. Puri has recently solved a most unusual dilemma: namely, who would want to steal the world’s longest moustache off the face of its owner while he was sleeping.
- Flush: So named because his was the first house in the village to have a “western-style” toilet, Flush is a young computer and electronics geek who can hack networks and build his own bugs, many of which look like real insects. His greatest claim to fame is having secreted a bug inside the Pakistani ambassador’s dentures. But what he’d like most in life is a girlfriend. Preferably one featured on the annual Kingfisher swimsuit calendar.
- Facecream: Puri’s most versatile and enigmatic operative is a steely and comely Nepali woman who ran away from home as a teenager to join the Maoist insurgency. What led to her disillusionment with the movement and her subsequent flight from her homeland remains something of a mystery, even to Puri. With an innate ability to blend into any situation – from servant girl to spoiled society siren – Facecream often plays a valuable role in Puri’s unique approach to investigative work.
- Tubelight: Puri’s chief operative was born into a clan of thieves, is blind in one eye and often disguised as an auto rickshaw driver. His nickname is derived from the fact that he takes a while to “flicker on in the morning.” However, Baldev Pawar, as he’s known outside professional circles, knows every brothel, illegal cricket-gambling den and cockerel-fighting venue in the city – not to mention most of its best forgers, fencers, smugglers, safe crackers and purveyors of everything from used Johnnie Walker bottles to wedding-night porn. He also maintains a team of snoops and informers – his “boys.”
- Weapon of choice: A .32 IOF revolver produced in India by the Ordnance Factories Organisation in Kolkata. It’s a six-shot, break action, self-extracting weapon based on a Webley design and uses the Smith & Wesson Long cartridge. India’s 1959 Arms Act gives Indian citizens the right to bear arms and Puri has been known to carry his piece when danger is near.
- Vehicle: Puri owns a white Ambassador. Manufactured since 1948 by Hindustan Motors and based on the Morris Oxford III, it was, until roughly a decade ago, the most popular car in India . . . not that there was much choice!
- Puri is a capsicum junkie: he likes to eat raw chillies with a little salt, sometimes for breakfast. To ensure that he has a ready supply, the detective has several species growing on the roof of his house. Often he goes up there to think over a case and wipe the dust and pollution from the leaves. He has proven most successful at growing Naga Jolokias, generally regarded as the hottest in the world.
- Puri has a collection of a dozen tweed Sandown flat caps, most of them supplied by Bates of Piccadilly in London, England. His other chosen attire is a Safari suit, a style once popular in India amongst bureaucrats and corporate employees, but now regarded as somewhat passé.
To learn more about Vish Puri, please visit VishPuri.com.