Title: Inspector Singh Investigates : A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul
Author: Shamini Flint
Publisher: Piatkus, 2009
Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Police Procedural, #2 Inspector Singh mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.
First Line: Jimi's hands were clammy.
Inspector Singh's superiors in Singapore still don't want him around, so when a bomb explodes in Bali, they send him to help with the anti-terrorism efforts. The problem is, he's tops in solving murders. Send him on a terrorist hunt, and the man doesn't have a clue. So when a body is discovered in the wreckage that has a bullet hole in its skull, Singh finally feels as though he can do something worthwhile. Now... if he could just get rid of the Australian female cop who's been assigned as his partner....
Following the twists and turns of the plot was fun, and the Australian police officer, Bronwyn Taylor, made an excellent sidekick for the grouchy Inspector Singh. Although I didn't get as good a "feel" for Bali as I did for Malaysia when I read the first book in the series (A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder), I did come away understanding how important tourism is to the country.
If the idea of reading about people who plan to build bombs to kill as many people as possible bothers you, you may want to give this book a miss, but this part of the plot is handled very well and with sensitivity.
I think most armchair detectives who enjoy reading mysteries set in far-off lands are going to have the tendency to think of Flint's Inspector Singh and Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri almost in the same thought. I can see why they would. They are both larger-than-life characters who operate in roughly the same part of the world. But they are very different people.
Puri is a private investigator who answers to no one, and he has a very happy home life. Inspector Singh, on the other hand, is a member of the Singapore police force and must answer to superiors who-- even though they like the results he gets-- want to get rid of him. He doesn't fit their ideal of the twenty-first century policeman. His home life also isn't as happy as Vish Puri's.
I enjoy reading of Vish Puri's cases in India, but there will always be a place in my heart for grumpy Inspector Singh. He always gets the bad guy regardless what obstacles are thrown in his path.