Shamini Flint

A Curious Indian Cadaver

"..especially for those looking for a touch of the exotic with their crime."


Inspector Singh is not the all-action hero. He is rather overweight, asthmatic and fond of his wife's cooking. He struggles with the heat and officialdom that gets in his way, but is a caring cop who uses his intellect and sympathy with the human condition to track down the culprits. He is based in Singapore, but manages to find himself in various Eastern countries investigating crime. This latest story is based in Mumbai where he goes with his wife to attend a family wedding. When the bride goes missing shortly before the big day, and then a young woman's body is found, Inspector Singh is called in by the family to investigate. He is supposedly still on sick leave and very much not part of the Indian Police investigation, but when he is able to suggest possible lines of enquiry to one of the Indian officers he is allowed very unofficial access to some of their resources.

The family in Mumbai is large and dependent on the patriarch, Tara Singh, for their prosperity. He has a large business in chemicals that provides the money and prospects for the family. His word is law and the tensions arising from this as the younger family members grow up and develop their own viewpoints are the starting point for the web of lies and violence that is the backdrop for this story.

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Like all the Inspector Singh novels one of the fascinating aspects is the insight into different cultures. In this case the complicated relationships of the close knit Sikh family are described with humour and understanding. The vibrant business community of Mumbai, cheek by jowl in horrendous slums, is vividly brought to life. The story has parallels with real-life chemical leaks in India, but is something that has happened in several places round the world. The meat of the book is, of course, the story and this one is a clever mystery with various strands that converge in the end to a give a very satisfying ending. Inspector Singh never gives up. Inspector Singh is an original and lovable creation and the books are an extremely good read, especially for those looking for a touch of the exotic with their crime.

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