Vish Puri (The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, 2012, etc.) helps a couple whose mutual affection is thwarted by India’s rigid caste system.
No one knows why Puri’s female operative, known to him as Facecream, has joined the Love Commandos, a group dedicated to helping intercaste couples marry over their parents’ objections. But it’s in her commando role that she sneaks Tulsi, a Thakur girl, out of her final exams to elope with her lover, Ram, a Dalit, or untouchable. By the time they get to his hiding place, Ram has disappeared, and Facecream must turn for help to her boss, who’s about to leave for Jammu to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine. He bids his wife, Rumpi, and his Mummy-ji farewell on their train and heads to Lucknow instead to look for Ram’s family. When Puri discovers that his wallet is missing, Mummy-ji searches her train for the man who bumped her son in the aisle as the detective sets off for the Dalit ghetto of Govind, Ram’s village. There, he discovers that Ram’s mother has been killed and her body dumped in a canal. Tulsi’s father, Vishnu Mishra, is arrested for the crime, but Puri has his doubts. He sends Facecream to pose as a teacher at the village school while he tries to find out more about the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, a shady multinational corporation that’s been drawing blood samples from the local Dalit population. At Jammu, Mummy-ji tails the pickpocket, who she’s sure means to do more mischief at the shrine. Soon, it’s a race between the detective and his mum to see who’ll be first to see justice done.
Once again, India’s Most Private Investigator solves his case with panache.