Cover Image: The Waiter

The Waiter

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Member Reviews

I am afraid I found this book to be just too confusing. The names - I was not sure who was male and who female, plus the two stories welded together after the disgrace in Kolkata.  I found the style of writing  to be very manic and I was even more confused. Sorry. I did want to like it, but could not finish it
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Life hasn't exactly gone to plan for former detective, Emil. He left his hometown of Kolkata in disgrace due to messing up the murder investigation of an A-list Bollywood actor, and now he's somehow ended up waiting tables in the curry houses of London's Brick Lane. 

Life is quiet but simple (and overflowing with delicious Bengali food), until his boss's multi-millionaire best friend is found dead: bashed over the head with a whisky bottle and floating in his swimming pool. 

Likeable and witty Emil spots a chance to redeem his career, only to find the backstreets of Kolkata catching up with him. 

This Winner of the Harvill Secker-Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Award characters was an intriguing and easy read, sprinkled with characters not above a bit of sarcasm.
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from Good Reads:
Two crimes on different sides of the world come together with a disgraced Indian detective trying to discover the truth.
I initially struggled to get into the crimes themselves and how the cases were progressing - felt like a lot of leaps of faith  - but it all came together beautifully and cleverly in the end.
I absolutely loved the rich descriptions of the food peppered throughout - mouth watering.
Interested to see where this goes next
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Mixing a previous situation in India where the lead character operated as a police inspector, with a waiter’s job that becomes a private investigator in England, brings alive a great story; one which I could not wait to finish.

How these two mysteries bind together is a surprise until the reader finds out and this provides for many interesting twists on the way.

I enjoyed the mix of Indian with English language, the feel of Indian culture within modern England and a wonderful taste of the food most Brits enjoy. I hadn’t heard of a Vindaloo Visa before reading this book, but now understand its use and potential.

The variety of characters, keeping to their culture while maintaining change to modern day England was both interesting and stimulating. 

I hope I get to read more about Kamil Rahman and wonder when Anjoli will understand his love for her. A series of this team investigating would be great fun. A free copy of this book didn’t change my review and I can’t tell you why I disliked one character so much as this may spoil some moments. At least he paid in the end…
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Interesting premise but the writing felt quite stodgy and weighed down with exposition. It didn't make me want to read on and know more. DNF
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Kamil Rahman had a promising career as a detective in Kolkata and is put in charge of a high-profile murder investigation but he is refuses to agree to orders he considers corrupt and immoral, and he is abruptly dismissed.  Disgraced and ashamed to stay in India he flees to London where family friends give him work as a waiter in their Brick Lane restaurant.  While working a private party of a wealthy friend of his employer a body is found and a murder investigation begins.  Although he has no jurisdiction Kamil begins his own unofficial investigation uncovering conspiracies and duplicities that reach from London to Kolkata.  This is an enjoyable, descriptive and fast paced thriller.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage, for an advance copy of The Waiter, a debut novel featuring former Kolkata Police Sub-Inspector Kamil Rahman. 

After his last case in Kolkata went badly wrong, Kamil has moved to London to stay with family friends, Saibal and Maya Chatterjee and their daughter Anjoli. He is working as a waiter for them when they cater their friend Rakesh Sharma’s 60th birthday party. The party has ended when Rakesh’s young wife, Neha finds him dead in the swimming pool, a victim of murder. When Neha comes under suspicion Kamil and Anjoli undertake an investigation to find out what really happened to Rakesh.

I enjoyed The Waiter which is an accomplished start to what has the potential to become a series. The novel is told in the first person from Kamil’s point of view. This has the advantage of letting the reader get close to both his personality and his hopes, dreams and doubts, while at the same time allowing the novel to slip seamlessly between this current investigation and the investigation in Kolkata that lead to his downfall. I admire the plot device where current events remind him of his previous investigation and lead to more explanation. It is a neat way to do it.

I must admit that I would have been happy with either one of the investigations as a novel, so I found it quite strenuous switching between the two (I’ve been ill, so probably not the best time to take on such a detailed novel). As it is, both involve money, corruption and venality at their core and take a good look at the weakness of man. It is interesting to see the contrasts between the two countries and the universality of greed. I liked the way both investigations slowly unfold as the novel progresses with each offering surprises and twists. 

Kamil Rahman is a young man of principle, which, in certain lights, could be regarded as a character flaw. He is rather serious and feeling very sorry for himself at the beginning of the novel, but this is a transformative novel, so while, by the end he is still principled, he is rather more pragmatic about applying them. Anjoli is the fun character in the novel, be it the slogans on her t-shirts, her railing against the more restrictive dictates of her parents’ way of life or her enthusiasm and impetuosity, and provides the light relief. 

The Waiter is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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Ajay Chowdhury: The Waiter,  Harvill Secker (Penguin Random House UK), 9781787301832, paperback, pub date May 24, 2021

It was hugely entertaining to read an early proof of “The Waiter” by Ajay Chowdhury, publishing in May 2021.   This refreshing first novel reminded me in style and story line of Abir Mukherjee’s historical crime novels set in before Independence  India which I love, so little surprise here that I give “The Waiter” a thumbs up.
Kamil Rahman is a former detective of the Kolkata police who ends up working as a waiter in a Brick Lane restaurant owned by his father’s friends Maya and Saibal. Rahman had refused to be corrupted in the murder investigation of a famous Bollywood actor in his home town losing rank and privileges which gave him little choice but to make a fresh start in London. When Kahman has to cater a birthday party for his boss’s rich friend Rakesh married to the much younger Neha, the evening takes an unexpected turn. At the end of the party Rakesh is found murdered by his swimming pool and all fingers point to Neha.  Saibal, Maya and Anjoli, their daughter, plead Kamil to investigate on their behalf as Neha was like a second daughter to them und an improbable murderess. The book switches back and forth between the current murder investigation and the old memories of the case that brought Kamil to his knees.  “The Waiter” is a very non-bloody, atmospheric, clever and often funny crime novel, a perfect summer read.
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This is an outstanding debut thriller that blows you away with its murder mystery plot that is not just incredible but fantastic what a debut.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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A fabulous read.
I would highly recommend to family and friends.

Many thanks to the publisher and NeyGalley for my ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
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Two worlds collide as a disgraced detective seeks refuge as a waiter in London, but his troubles follow him and more amount. Two crimes entwine and need to be solved to allow for new beginnings. A quick moving story that switches between London and India with characters seeking to be true to themselves and uphold their moral code. It took a little while to get into both stories but by the end I would have happily kept reading. Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy of this book.
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An interesting read, about a disgraced detective, the story is full of twists and turns and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for letting me have an advance reading copy of the novel.
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Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an unbiased review.
Strong first publication by this author 
The story takes us back and forth between events in Kolkata and London.
Initially I found it a little difficult keeping up with who was who given the number of characters introduced but soon it was no problem.
Decent story casting suspicions upon a number of members of the same family.
Thoroughly enjoyed it, decent story and happy to recommend.
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Don’t you just love a disgraced detective and a grimy story. Loved this book. Real gum shoe stuff.  Was loved by my husband too and we don’t normally have the same tastes.
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Two countries. Two cultures. Two murder mysteries. One sleuth. Ajay Chowdhury has created a unique lead character in his disgraced Kolkata detective, turned London waiter, Kamil. Potential here for a series. Ideal for crime fans looking for something a little different.
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This is an intriguing and compelling new crime thriller from debut author Ajay Chowdury.

The Waiter is Kamil, Rahman, a recently disgraced ex policeman from Kolkata, India, uprooted to London in an attempt to rebuild his shattered career and life.

Living with family friends, Kamil begins to work in the family restaurant illegally as a waiter. At a party catered for by the family, Kamil finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation when a rich, prominent Indian businessman is found dead at his own party.

Kamil, and family friend Anjoli, for which there is great chemistry between the 2 begin to investigate the murder.

A tale of 2 cities then plays out as Ajay Chowdury takes us to the streets of Kolkata to flesh out Kamil life whilst the other side of the book tells the story in London.

An almost enchanting story, that delves into Indian Culture, it’s food, it’s police and the families and how important they are to each other.

Never dark or gloomy this is a bright, vibrant and energetic tale, a quite refreshing change.

With likeable protagonists and great locations, this fast paced and well thought out thriller was a great start to my 2021 reading and I hope the start of a new series

Thanks to Harvill Secker and NetGalley for the ARC
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A most enjoyable and interesting read of an Indian community enclave in multicultural London. A disgraced Senior Detective of Kolkata flees to the bosom of a family in London’s East End where he works for them in the family restaurant illegally as a waiter. The wife, who mothers him, is the cook producing all the home dishes that are on the menu, so he is in a home from home. He has lost all left behind including his fiancé, so he finds some consolation in befriending the feisty daughter. When serving at a function of an Indian tycoon the host was found dead and his wife a friend of the daughter was subsequently arrested for murder. So, he has no option but to investigate. exposing the complexities of Indian business dealings and family relationships and obligations. In solving the crime, he is forced to learn that justice can be serve in more ways than one, a truth that he was not able to accept before.
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I definitely liked this book. It was fast paced and full of twists and turns that kept me reading. I loved the way the story was connected across two continents and that the characters were well drawn. They didn't feel cardboard or mechanical and at the same time the plot didn't slacken. 4 stars.
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I am not able to leave a review of the either on GoodReads (not found) or Amazon (item not eligible), which is a shame as I wanted to be able to make my review visible to recommend to others.

I thought I would give this book a try, I love crime books.  This book was different to any I've read before, which was so refreshing.  The descriptions of the Indian culture was fascinating and I was pulled into the story immediately.  

It did keep me guessing 'whodunnit' up until the last few pages - I must admit to being a bit disappointed at the eventual outcome, however this book is a great read, interesting, keeps you hooked and I would definitely recommend.
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I find if I cannot get into a book in the first few pages, then I give it a miss. Perhaps this is wrong, but I need to be drawn in early.
When I started reading The Waiter, I did think it was going to be one of those that was going to get the heave-ho early on, but for some reason I decided to keep with it. This was the correct option, as it became an enjoyable read.
Judging by the ending, I imagine that there will be a follow up, which I will look forward to.
A different author, a completely different dialogue at times, with theodd touch of humour for good measure.
Give it a try.
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