Reviews & Awards

Vaseem is a winner of the CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger, a Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) Shamus Award, and the Eastern Eye ACTA (Arts, Culture, Theatre Award) for Literature


Reviews for the Malabar House series …

‘This is historical crime fiction at its sharpest, set on the brink of independence and during a dramatic period of the subcontinent’s history.’ ~ The Sunday Times

‘A beautifully complex plot and an Agatha Christie-ish denouement make for a thoroughly satisfying read, and a burning desire to see what’s next for Persis.’ ~ The Observer

‘This is historical crime fiction at its best – a compelling mix of social insight and complex plotting with a thoroughly engaging heroine. A highly promising new series.’ ~ The Mail on Sunday

‘Khan’s distinctive new protagonist is clearly here to stay.’ ~ Financial Times

‘A thrilling murder mystery, it also wonderfully evokes a turbulent period in India’s history.’ ~ The Daily Express

Reviews for The Lost Man of Bombay, the third in the Malabar House series…

‘Khan writes with a charming formality and brings his characters and their dilemmas to life in this intelligent and intriguing series.’ ~ The Literary Review

‘Malabar House is a subcontinental version of Mick Herron’s Slough House, a holding pen for misfits and malcontents … History and mystery mixed with brutal slapstick, thwarted romance and sly humour… If only all period procedurals were as good as this.’ ~ The Times

‘A brilliant whodunnit mingling fascinating history, the flavours of India, and a Himalayan blizzard of clues.’~ The Sun

‘A formidable addition to the Malabar House series…. this book weaves intriguing insights into a turbulent time with a cleverly-plotted story and rich cast of characters.’~ Women’s Institute magazine WI Life


Reviews for the Baby Ganesh Agency series …

‘There have been many insipid imitators of the Alexander McCall Smith formula … but Khan has the quirkiness and hint of grit to make his portrayal of modern Mumbai memorable.’ ~ The Sunday Express

“The first novel in a series introduces readers to a cast of intriguing characters that it will be a joy to see develop.  But the greatest strength is the setting in the teeming city of Mumbai, from which the colour and atmosphere flows out of every page in this enjoyable, whimsical tale.” ~ The Daily Express

“Khan has demonstrated a capacity to ring the changes, not least in his richly textured picture of modern Mumbai … there is an element of the caustic along with the charm, which makes this a most beguiling series.” ~ The Financial Times

“Debut Mumbai-based ‘cosy’ – complete with baby elephant – keeps things heart-warming while tackling corruption at the highest levels and violent crime at the lowest. Endearing and gripping, it sets up Inspector Chopra – and the elephant – for a long series” ~ The Sunday Times

“Chopra, diligent, incorruptible and not entirely at ease with shiny new India, is a delight, as is his redoubtable wife, Poppy – and Ganesha the elephant, once he has cheered up a bit, proves a very useful ally indeed. Utterly charming – those in search of a gentle holiday read need look no further.” ~ The Guardian

“…some of the most intriguing entries in the current crime crop … the title of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra … tips the wink that this is nothing like the other books in this column. The eponymous Mumbai inspector (with the aid of a trusty elephant) tackles crime in a narrative that owes more than a little to Alexander McCall Smith.” ~ The Independent

“This is a light-hearted read full of colourful characters and insightful details about human motivation. Chopra’s attempts to investigate the death give the author a rich opportunity to explore the stark contrasts between the worlds of slum dwellers and glitterati that characterise the city. But ultimately it is his protagonist’s good heart that wins us over….” ~ The Irish News

Pick of the Week, February 2016 – The Daily Telegraph, with WHSmith stores

“A charming story.” ~ Marie Claire

“An enchanting start to a new series” ~ Woman & Home

‘The delightful Indian detective Inspector Chopra and his baby elephant side-kick Ganesha investigate the disappearance of a Bollywood playboy.’~ Good Housekeeping

Australia – “Is this your next page turner?” ~ Yours magazine (see book extract on page 25)

Waterstones Book Club selection 2016 – “The book is reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in its eccentricity – it will win you over completely.” (read full review)

Australia – “an utterly delightful journey into the heart of this intoxicating metropolis.” ~ Daily Telegraph Australia (read review)

US – “it was the adorable antics of Chopra’s elephant and the vivid descriptions of life in Mumbai that made this a fantastic, heartwarming read.” ~ First for Women

Lovereads August 2015 Debut of the Month … “Prepare to be completely and utterly charmed in this whimsical and touching tale that enfolds you in the mystery of India. Inspector Chopra (retired), is likable, dependable and steadfast; in his case, once a policeman, always a policeman rings very true. Vaseem Khan writes with an undeniably light touch, yet he doesn’t shy away from the more sinister side of life in the city of Mumbai. A vibrantly colourful India sings and on occasion bellows from the pages. While a suspicious death leads Chopra to begin an investigation, it’s the descriptions of everyday life that really bring this fascinating novel to life. The baby elephant Ganesha is a star in the making and ‘The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra’ is a delightfully engaging start to a new series.” Liz Robinson, expert reader for Lovereads

“India seems to be flavour of the month at the moment, with the BBC season about to take off. What better way to get in the mood for it with this superlative, funny, charming detective novel by Vaseem Khan? Terrific fun!” ~ Books Monthly

“We at the Book People cannot get enough of this wonderful novel from debut author Vaseem Khan. An alluring blend of Alexander McCall Smith, Rachel Joyce and Laurie R. King, we highly recommend The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra … Joyful, charming, light and endearing from the first page to the last.” ~ The Book People (Read full review)

“… a delightful whimsical tale that manages to reveal much about life in the teeming city of Mumbai, whilst following the career of the delightful Inspector Chopra. Written with a gentle humour … I was constantly lured in by the smells and sounds of Mumbai. Comparisons to McCall Smith are inevitable, but Khan’s book stands on its own merit” ~CrimeSquad (CrimeSquad review)

Australia – “Charming, and even comical at points, THE UNEXPECTED INHERITANCE OF INSPECTOR CHOPRA turns out to be the start of a very big new adventure for Ashwin Chopra, his wife and that lovely little elephant.”~ AustCrime(Read full review)

Australia – “A delightful story of a man of integrity in a corrupt world. If you enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  or The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, by Rachel Joyce” ~

Awards for Vaseem Khan’s work

  • Vaseem Khan was awarded the 2018 Eastern Eye ACTA (Arts, Culture, Theatre Award) for Literature.
  • The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star was shortlisted for a 2018 SHAMUS AWARD for Best Original Private Eye Paperback. The Shamus Awards are one of the world’s most prestigious crime awards, awarded by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA).
  • The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star was shortlisted for The Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2018 – for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles that year.
  • The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown won the 2017 SHAMUS AWARD in America for the Best Original Private Investigator Paperback. The Shamus Awards are one of the world’s most prestigious crime awards, awarded by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA).
  • The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star nominated for Asian Books Blog Book of the Year 2017
  • The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown is named as a Bookmuse recommended read (Top 1% reviewer on Goodreads)
  • The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown is shortlisted for The Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2016 – for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles that year.
  • The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is selected as a Waterstones paperback of the year
  • The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is named as a Bookmuse recommended read (Top 1% reviewer on Goodreads)
  • The audiobook of The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra  narrated by Sartaj Garewal, was declared an Earphones Award Winner in the US. To hear a sample click here.
  • Selected as Grasnet Best Christmas Read
  • Waverton Good Read Award – “The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra” nominated for 2015 (read about the awards here)
  • The Book Trail most Inventive books awards 2015


Other Press for Vaseem Khan


More reviews for Vaseem Khan’s books

“The denouement  of the novel is just wonderful … I never saw it coming but I loved it. Something exciting and unexpected happens every few pages.  The characters, including Baby Ganesh, are really well realized …This book would make the basis for a very good TV series.” ~ Mel Ulm, The Reading Life (Read full review)

“This charming detective story, set in Mumbai, will appeal to all lovers of crime fiction, particularly fans of Alexander McCall Smith.”~Quadrapheme (Read review)

“This is a sparkling debut with a zippy plot and an endearing set of characters. The darker elements of the story are punctuated with light humour … A gentle detective story that packs a punch – fans of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency will love this.”  ~ Lyndsy Spence, The Lady

US – “I loved this story … how can you not enjoy a policeman who’s new assistant is a baby elephant? I can’t wait to read more in this series.” ~ Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie, US

“The novel cleverly weaves between the touching moments with Ganesh, Chopra’s investigations into the death of the young man” ~ The Quiet Knitter, (Read full review)

US – “This is not your ordinary mystery, though it has many of the classic elements … In style, it’s like an Indian version of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books … The characters are well-developed and believable, the setting richly developed, and the plot very satisfying.  Come and meet Chopra and his baby elephant, and settle in for a fun read” ~ Field Library, US (Read full review)

India – “As a reader, I have become attached to Baby Ganesh and Ashwin Chopra and I can see all the possibilities that lay ahead of them. I will be sure to pick up the next instalment to see this relationship develop.” ~ Bookish Indulgences with Book Reviews (Read full review)

“I love the way the various threads of the story are interwoven. While investigating the boy’s death he is also trying to find out how to help the baby elephant, now named Ganesha.” ~janni’s books (Read review)

Australia – “The author has imbued the character of Inspector Chopra with a fine sense of the ridiculous and the improbable along with eccentricities that create a most appealing individual. We empathise with his quest to see justice done. This is a most enjoyable read.” ~ Fifty Five Plus (read full review)

“I can’t however think of another detective, private or police, who ends up with a baby elephant on his hands … And in the end, who could resist a baby elephant with a taste for Cadbury chocolate?  At one point I started googling pictures of small elephants at play, which made that day 100% better.”  ~ Lisa on TBR 313 (read full review)

“…unique, funny, moving, powerful, uplifting, current, and most of all, authentic are just some of the words you could use to describe this novel. What TheInheritance of Inspector Chopra offers is a genuine look at life in Mumbai and realistic characters, like Inspector Chopra, who inspire each and every one of us to better ourselves.”~ PiMedia (Read full review)

Australia – “… introduces us to an intelligent leading character … the baby elephant called Ganesha is somewhat different from the usual offsider. A commendable debut novel.” ~ Clive Hodges, Goodreading (Read full review)

Australia – “The wise and compassionate Inspector Ashwin Chopra anchors this gently paced, amusing mystery set in Mumbai.” ~ WHO magazine

US – “Mystery readers will adore the gentle yet persistent Chopra. Baby Ganesh, as the elephant is named, contributes his own charm to the story. All-in-all, a delightful read.” ~ Reading in Texas (read full review)

US – “ … my favorite book of 2015 … Beautifully written … At times humorous, suspenseful … and even charming, the novel also provides a real feel for India – of Mumbai today – in all its conflicted beauty …  it’s one of those books you will be a little sad for having finished.” ~ Paradise Bound (read full review)

South Africa – “THIS debut novel is a riot, its mustachioed central character a perfect foil to the gung-ho characters that most often drive crime fiction …Written with a fair amount of whimsy, a keen insight into human behaviour and a deliciously light touch this is an entertaining read.” ~ Business Day Live (read full review)

“Due to its setting the story allows you to escape to another world: the vibrant city of Mumbai.”~ Carol Sampson’s blog (read full review)

Waverton Good Read Award – “The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra” nominated for 2015 (read about the awards here)

“Elephant Ahoy! Only in Mumbai could a baby elephant accompany a cop on a murder investigation.” ~ Literataah(read full review)

Selected as Grasnet Best Christmas Read

Audiobook – “ … a particularly satisfying read, with lively writing and vivid characters. It helped in its audiobook version by the performance by Sartaj Garewal, whose Indian accent and energetic reading makes the listening experience especially pleasing.”~ metapsychology online reviews(read full review)

US – “You’ll be surprised by how well a baby elephant can fit into a murder investigation– and not just by adding humor.”~ Kittling Books(read full review)

US – “Khan’s characters … are engaging and quirky, the sort of people a reader quickly comes to like and to view as pleasant companions … one of those un-put-downable books that keeps readers up late into the night, unwilling to abandon the engaging company in which they’ve found themselves.” ~ whatifknits(read full review)

South Africa – a Must Read Books fantastic festive reads recommendation

Australia ~ “From the first sentence, I was in. “On the day that he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that he had inherited an elephant.” ~ The Australian

China ~ “It is easy to see [Chopra] as India’s answer to Alexander McCall Smith’s Mme Ramotswe, at once sincere, likeable and nicely comic.” ~ The South China Morning Post (read full review)

“Vaseem had so many tales of India and it was clear that the detective novel was as much about solving a mystery as it was about India … describing how staking out a building just wouldn’t work in India was so funny.” ~ New writer’s evening at Foyles bookshop (read full review)

Australia ~ “For anyone with even a passing love of India and it’s complex, colourful, challenging society, the book is a joy, its willingness to look at the good and the bad far more intelligently realised than you might expect in a light, quirky detective novel.” ~ SparklyPrettyBriiight (read full review)

“And the food! Poppy prepares the most wonderful dishes for her husband. He has little time to eat while out solving crimes, but oh, how delicious it sounds.” ~ Bookwitch (read full review)

“…features a touch of magical realism … the depiction of Mumbai…is so well-described that it’s practically a character in the book.”~ The Saturday Reader (read full review)

“When a book leaves you with a massive smile on your face you know something’s gone right.”~Girl, reading(read full review)

Audiobook ~ “The writing for this story is lyrical and musical and the narration provided by Sartaj Garewal brought every moment of that musicality, accent, tone, delivery and pacing all transport the listener to Mumbai.” ~ I am, Indeed(read full review)

“…strong beginning to what promises to be an even stronger series.” ~ northwest Asian weekly(read full review)

“The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra is the perfect read for lovers of mysteries, foreign settings, and intelligent animals.” ~ Shelfishly Addicted(read full review)

Australia – “The love between Poppy and Chopra is beautifully written, with their losses and true feelings – both good and bad – about their life together on display.” ~  the big book club(read full review by Kate , review by Marie& main review)

US – “I can’t praise this book enough… 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 … a perfect book…” ~ Letters from a hill farm(read full review)

India – “Khan … has written a gem of a crime mystery novel.” ~ Khaas Baat(read full review)

“Imagine Midsummer Murders, set in Mumbai, featuring a retired police officer with a baby elephant…” ~ Red Book Reviews

South Africa – “A little jewel you will enjoy.” ~juggling act of life (read full review)

“This new mystery series set in India offers a gentle introduction to that culture” ~ World (read full review)

“ utterly charming book with moments of genuine tension and even more genuine hilarity..” ~ Books from Boxes (read full review – scroll to bottom of page)

“How can you not fall in love with a baby elephant who saves the day? … Such a good read for anyone who loves crime, India or elephants.” ~ Bananas for Books (read full review)

India – “…if you are in the mood to read a story on India and smile afterwards, this is your story”~ 27 Book Street by Bharti(read full review)

“Set in Mumbai, this is a gorgeous story perfect for everyone who enjoys a quirky tale.”~sofeminine

US – “a charming novel … with its vivid recreation of Mumbai, a soft-hearted but determined detective, and a glimpse of a criminal underbelly which gives the book a bit of grit”~Hastings District Library(read full review)

“The character of Inspector Chopra has shades of Poirot about him…”~ Six reasons why you should read The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Waterstones Book Club

Sweden – The British crime book of the month ~ The English Bookshop, Stockholm

“Chopra is instantly lovable and slightly eccentric, with clear parallels to Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Indeed, the characters are perhaps the novel’s greatest strength.”~ The Book Reviewer(read full review) 

“… an enjoyable read, not unlike Alexander McCall Smith’s Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series … really captures something of the culture and atmosphere of Mumbai too.”~ Life Lived(read full review)

“I love this cover, it’s brilliant. I mean look at that mustache. That is a majestic mustache. That is the mustache of a book that means business… Filled with twists and turns, brilliant subplots and comedic timing that only an elephant can provide”~Mugwumps and books(read full review)

US – “Khan’s got an especially winning formula in this first outing for Inspector Chopra … Sign me up for the sequel!” ~ Asian American Literature Fans (full review)

“For fans of … The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency … I can say that Inspector Ashwin Chopra is the Precious Ramotswe of the Indian sub-continent” ~ (full review)

Reviews for The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown

“A quirky light mystery that will have you feeling the heat and longing for a lassi.”~hittheroadjacq

“This series brings the rich world of modern India to life with all its corruption, incredible poverty and wealth, side by side, all being swept along by massive social change.” ~ Mostly Books


chopra on breakfast tray.jpg-large

6 thoughts on “Reviews & Awards

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this book (The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra) and loved all the characters and learnt a little of Mumbai and now want to know more. I have now ordered the next two. Brilliant!


  2. I’ve read all three of the Baby Ganesha and Inspector Chopra books. They really are excellent and I’m so looking forward to “Murder at the Grand Raj Palace”.


  3. I realy love the books of inspector chopra and his lovely ward ganesha.
    I got my mother involved and we are going to collect the whole serie about this briliant duo.
    Really like the way you show the reader an modern mumbai during the story.

    Hope to see in the future another book about these two ,with mybe some storyline trough the eyes of gensha 🙂


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