Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Calamitous Chinese Killing by Shamini Flint

Justin Tan stood at the main junction of the old hutong, a neighbourhood of old courtyards dating from Imperial times, and stared down narrow alleys that disappeared quickly into darkness. It was after midnight and the steet lighting was limited in such a poor neighbourhood. The lanes were too narrow for cars so no headlightslit up the gloom. 

He thought he caught sight of a shadow in the darkness and he shouted, "Is there anyone? can you call for help?" The three men started towards him with a calculated, deliberate step.

"What do you want? Why are you following me? Do you want money?"

The front man slapped the truncheon into his palm. "When the dog chases the mouse, there are always consequences. "

Title: A Calamitous Chinese Killing 
Author: Shamini Flint
ISBN-13: 9780749957797
Publisher: Piatkus/2013
Pages: 320

Justin Tan is the son of a Singapore Diplomat. He is murdered in a back alley of Beijing. His murder is made to look like a robbery gone wrong. His mother asks for Inspector Singh to investigate. He travels from Singapore to Beijing and is none to happy for it. 

Susan Tan wants Inspector Singh to get to the bottom of it. Her husband Anthony Tan thinks it was robbery gone wrong but her daughter Jemima knows something about her brother. He along with his professor Luo have been collecting evidence of the hutongs being destroyed for new constructions to come up.

Li Jun a retired local policeman is at the beck and call of Inspector Singh. Deputy mayor Dai Wei and the chief of police Fu Xinghua do not want the truth to come out. They try to falsify and hide the truth. 

The story is told from the viewpoint of almost each and every character in the book, showing a wide range of perspectives. This help in developing the case and also reflects about modern Chinese society. With bribes, kickbacks, corruption and murder, this novel has it all. Inspector Singh is a likable character and does make the novel move forward. I found a few loopholes but I would say, go for it if you want to know about China. I learnt a lot....


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Gautami,

Following your great introductory feature about this series yesterday, this and all the other Inspector Singh books are defintely on my reading list.

Enjoy the book,


Harvee said...

Gautami, I also have an Inspector Singh Investigates novel as my First Chapter meme post. Thanks to you! :)
Book Dilettante

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I think I would read a bit more - good intro. Thanks for joining us in 2014

Unknown said...

Sounds interesting, especially to learn more about China. I would keep reading.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This one does sound tempting. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Yvonne said...

I haven't heard of this one before. Sounds really good.

fredamans said...

LOL Love that last line! Sounds like a good read!

kayerj said...

that's a very intense opening paragraph. enjoy your book. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Paulita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paulita said...

This sounds like fun. Glad you are enjoying it.Here's Mine