Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder Review
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I’ve definitely read my share of mysteries. I’ve read about cops and private investigators and a wide variety of amateur sleuths. But I’ve never come across a crime-solving protagonist quite like Inspector Singh in author Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder.

When famous Singaporean supermodel Chelsea Liew is accused of murdering her ex-husband, Alan Lee, in Malaysia, Singapore’s Inspector Singh is sent to Kuala Lumpur to ensure that she’s treated fairly. Things aren’t looking good for Chelsea—especially since she and Alan were involved in a bitter custody battle when he was killed. But, for some reason, Inspector Singh is still convinced that she’s innocent.

Though the Malaysian police are ready to close the case and move on, Singh refuses to give up—and he sets out to prove that Chelsea didn’t kill Alan. He soon discovers that there were plenty of people with perfectly good reasons to want him dead. But when Alan’s brother, Jasper, comes forward to confess to the crime, Chelsea’s still not satisfied—so she asks Inspector Singh for his help in finding the real killer.

Inspector Singh Investigates is most peculiar, indeed—but in the most intriguing of ways. Inspector Singh is an unusual hero: a fat old Sikh from Singapore who investigates extraordinary cases. He’s sometimes gruff and sometimes surprisingly caring, and although he isn’t especially well-developed, he’s a fascinating character—one who will have readers picking up future books in the series, for a chance to get to know more about him.

The setting, too, is certainly unusual. In fact, it’s what first drew me to the book—and, since I’ve visited Kuala Lumpur, the story’s setting brought back memories for me. Unfortunately, though, Flint fails to take full advantage of her location. I haven’t come across many stories set in Malaysia, and I was eager to read detailed descriptions of this remarkable country. Instead, Flint merely touches on some of Kuala Lumpur’s fascinating features—simply mentioning the massive towers and the bustling Chinese market in passing, without making them a valuable part of the story. In fact, it often feels as though the story could have taken place in any city in the world.

Fortunately, though, the mystery makes up for the shortcomings. There are so many plotlines woven throughout the case—Chelsea’s divorce and custody battles, issues of family and religion, and plenty of suspects with all kinds of motives—but Flint handles them all remarkably well, never bogging readers down in details. The story is well-crafted, and the occasional cultural touches give it a little extra flavor.

If you’re looking for a light mystery that’s out of the ordinary, this is it. Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder may not leave you feeling like you’ve traveled overseas, but you’re sure to enjoy the peculiarities of this unusual sleuth and his latest investigation.

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