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A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
Inspector Singh Investigates #1
Shamini Flint

St. Martin's Press
7/6/2010 / 9780312596972
Police Procedural / Contemporary

Reviewed by L J Roberts

First Sentence: The accused, Chelsea Liew, was in court.

Inspector Singh has been sent from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to investigate the case of a former model, Chelsea Liew, accused of murdering her ex-husband. Involved in a bitter dispute over the custody of their children, Chelsea, in court, threatened to kill her ex, and was the obvious suspect after his being shot. In spite of the evidence, Singh is less certain of her guilt and, working with Inspector Mohammad, dedicates himself to finding the truth.

In many ways, this book is similar to The Guilty Plea by Robert Rotenberg, also reviewed this month, but this is such a better book, mainly due to the author s voice and construct of characters.

One really can’t help but like Insp. Singh. From the very beginning, one is taken in by his delightfully pragmatic approach and view. He not only wins over those around him, but the reader as well. By his side, we are provided with Inspector Mohammad, who quotes Shakespeare when he s angry. It is a winning combination, indeed.

Flint s writing and observations are wonderful. The story deals with the conflicts between Malaysia and Singapore with the author citing a broader view that there was absolutely no possibility of a successful resolution to the case he had just been handed. There never was when religion trumped rational behavior and politics influenced police work. Programmed randomness struck him as an oxymoron. She also makes some solid observations about greed and humanity being out of sync with nature.

The story provides an interesting look at Sikh life and customs. Flint masterfully conveys the impact and emotions of the case through the true victims the children. You also sense the frustration of the police in a case with several suspects for no definitive evidence toward any of them.

A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder is extremely well plotted with a very good ending and wonderful characters; particularly Singh who impacts the lives of those around him. I, for one, cannot wait to read more of this series.

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder #1
A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul #2

Reviewed 2011
© 2011