As others have mentioned, this book is similar in some ways to the books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
, but I thought that this one was more gritty than those, too. For me this was a combination of the above mentioned series and the Cetin Ikmen series
by Barbara Nadel
(just not so sexed up, and less violent). This is a series that I could see myself reading more of when I'm in the mood for a mystery that's more hard-boiled than anything in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, but not quite as full of perversion as the Ikmen books tend to be. I'd call this a gritty cozy mystery.
I listened to this on audiobook, which I think caused me to compare this to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books. The narrator, Sam Dastor, was very good, his tone and voice made this book seem cozy. But the actual words and the heavier subjects going on in this book (murder, rape, corruption, extreme poverty and social stratification, etc.) ran counter to that cozy voice, and I wonder if I'd have seen this book as being *less* No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency-ish if I'd have read it rather than listened to it. I think voice can play a huge role in perception with regard to this book.
For the most part the story read quickly and was entertaining. I thought that the author got a little heavy-handed at times when discussing India's growing pains and social issues, but I suppose to some extent those things were central to the primary mystery in the story. For me, though, that heavy handedness dropped this from a four star to maybe a 3.5 star book.