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Singh is sleuth

Balle Balle An endearing detective tracks down terrorists, solves murders in idyllic locales, writes Ruchira Hoon.

books Updated: Mar 26, 2010 21:38 IST
Ruchira Hoon

A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul
Shamini Flint
Piatkus n Rs 295 n PP 294

You’d hardly expect a sweaty, portly turbaned man to solve a mystery, much less a murder. But Inspector Singh does it with panache. He may not be able to foil a terror attack or stop himself from eating at the local food stall, but he can certainly get people to work for him.

In A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul, second book in the ‘Inspector Singh Investigates’ series, Shamini Flint has created a multi-layered story that has a very interesting first-half. There’s a bomb blast, a murder, a missing person and two most peculiar love triangles. And Inspector Singh without being a forensic expert or a terror specialist has been booted out of Singapore to investigate in Indonesia, Bali in particular.

Despite the prologue, by the time you’ve understood where the story is heading, half the book is over and you can’t help but like Inspector Singh. He is tactless yet endearing and it’s his way of trying to solve a crime which is more like Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse than Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes that is very engaging.

As Flint weaves a tale around a basic terror plot, the book begins to resemble a thriller. She has even managed to integrate romance, excitement and mystery into a very tight story, very much an improvement from her first book A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder.

What’s the most interesting element about the series are the local settings that Flint has used in both her stories. Even if you’re not a mystery lover, this book is a fun read just for the bumbling sardar, Inspector Singh.