I picked this book up as part of my 2018 ReadHarder challenge for the prompt of “a mystery by a POC/LGBT author”. I selected this specific book as I had already been to Cambodia and wanted to see the country in a fictional but modern novel. A mystery/crime novel was just up my ally.
Shamini Flint is Malaysian based in Singapore and has experience with the justice system in the form of a lawyer.
Inspector Singh Investigates; A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree
by Shamini Flint
Synopsis by GoodReads
Inspector Singh is in Cambodia – wishing he wasn’t. He’s been sent as an observer to the international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, the latest effort by his superiors to ensure that he is anywhere except in Singapore.
But for the first time, the fat Sikh inspector is on the verge of losing his appetite when a key member of the tribunal is murdered in cold blood. The authorities are determined to write off the incident as a random act of violence, but Singh thinks otherwise. It isn’t long before he finds himself caught up in one of the most terrible murder investigations he’s witnessed – the roots of which lie in the dark depths of the Cambodian killing fields. . .
The depth of history and knowledge in the background
the culture that comes through
I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of my enjoyment has to do with me visiting Cambodia before reading the book. I believe my knowledge and understanding of the country enriched my enjoyment.
Having said that, I have only read this book in the Inspector Singh series, and this is book 4. So I have dived straight into the middle of a series and enjoyed it for the background story it contains. I do not think you need to read the others and its more of an episodal type series, which means each book are independent of each other but contains a red thread with the characters and the main character’s story.
I am interested in checking out the other books in the series though. It looks to me as if the author has placed a book each in a different country than before which makes me very interested in reading her other books. It’s all a mix of murder and sightseeing.
We follow Inspector Singh as he is sent to Cambodia to participate in the war crime court for members of the Khmer Rouge as an observer and nothing more. But as you have probably guessed by now, a murder happens and Inspector Singh gets dragged into the case.
It was interesting how the culture of Cambodia came throught the text in places and how the narrator thought about the culture and the situation of poverty and loyalty in Cambodia. Also, the depth of the history and background information was really good. However, this was all I already knew by being a tourist there. It was a bit shallow and I guessed the book could have been thicker if there were more in-depth information and a more in-depth story of the trial. It was a little superficial, but entertaining still.
Inspector Singh as with any fictional detective or policeman is a character and a half. he is fat and seems both proud and disgusted by that fact. He is a Sikh but also refers to himself as an atheist. He is a chain smoker but hates the smell of lingering smoke. He was a funny main character and I liked his viewpoint, but at the same time he was a bit tame and a bit grey. He does have two side characters, one he actually refers to his sidekick (his translator), and the Cambodian policeman in charge of the murder investigation.
I, for the most part, enjoyed Shamini Flint’s writing and had minimal issues with it. My on;y issue that I took notice too was the elaborate sentences she sometimes had for small things. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book but its something I noticed and that is what annoys me; that I noticed it.
However, the writing is fairly lighthearted and not very dark which makes the book fun to read, even though the background story is horrendous and tragic.
I enjoyed this murder mystery and will definitely check out the author’s other works set in other exotic countries (exotic for me anyway). It will be like a holiday with a murder mystery 😁
Have you read this? What did you think?