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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian MurderTitle: Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
Author: Shamini Flint
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Genre: mystery
Cop for review compliments of the public library

Inspector Singh is in a bad mood. He's been sent from his home in Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to solve a murder that has him stumped. Chelsea Liew - the famous Singaporean model - is on death row for the murder of her ex-husband. She swears she didn't do it, he thinks she didn't do it, but no matter how hard he tries to get to the bottom of things, he still arrives back at the same place - that Chelsea's husband was shot at point blank range, and that Chelsea had the best motivation to pull the trigger: he was taking her kids away from her. Now Inspector Singh must pull out all the stops to crack a crime that could potentially free a beautiful and innocent woman and reunite a mother with her children. There's just one problem - the Malaysian police refuse to play ball...

This is a weekend for discovering great detective stories.  I had the privilege of reading yesterday's title as well as this one for the Sizzling Summer Read-a-Thon back in August and it's always good to share fun books with people- lucky you!

Inspector Singh is not having a good day.  A police officer in Singapore, he's been sent to supervise a murder investigation in Malaysia, and is only there because the accused is a Singaporean citizen.  He understands going into things that he's going to be extremely unwelcome and expects to kind of get stonewalled; he doesn't expect things to turn out the way that the do.

Part of the problem is the nature of the case at hand. The accused is former supermodel Chelsea Liew, who's accused of shooting her estranged husband as the sad resolution of a custody battle.  Chelsea is definitely in a pickle; she stands out as the obvious suspect to the police and despite the fact that her late husband was a weasel of the first order in every possible respect and nobody cares that he's gone, she still faces execution if convicted of murder.

Singh figures out pretty quickly that Chelsea isn't the killer, and finds in this case a reason to get his investigative juices flowing, so to speak.  It isn't a spoiler to say that Singh exonerates Chelsea fairly easily, however, once that's happened, his job is technically done.  Singh stays on in Malaysia to investigate the crime unofficially, and it's from there that the story really takes off.

Singh isn't a typical detective.  He's been on the job a long time, which has made him a little bit jaded and a pain in the butt to his superiors, who'd really like him to retire, or at least go away.  He chain smokes like crazy.  He finds himself terribly bothered by everyday things.  And yet, through it all, he's phenomenally good at his job, and he enjoys having a chance to prove that, at least to himself.  Investigating who really killed Chelsea's philandering almost-ex-husband takes him down many paths, and they all seem to lead back to within the family itself.  Who's a victim and who's a criminal? Can they be both?

This is another situation where I'm happy that there are other books in the series currently in publication, as the waiting factor that always seems to plague me isn't an issue!  With winter just around the corner I'll be looking for excellent mysteries to have on hand for snow days, and this series definitely fits the bill.

Overall Grade: A
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