2 November 2012


  • published by Piatkus 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-7499-5342-3
  • 308 pages
  • #5 in the Inspector Singh series
  • Source: my local library
Synopsis (Amazon)

Inspector Singh is sick of sick leave, so when Mrs Singh suggests they attend a family wedding in Mumbai, he grudgingly agrees - hoping that the spicy Indian curries will make up for extended exposure to his wife's relatives.

Unfortunately, the beautiful bride-to-be disappears on the eve of her wedding - did she run away to avoid an arranged marriage, or is there something more sinister afoot?

When a corpse is found, the fat inspector is soon dragged into a curious murder investigation with very firm instructions from Mrs Singh to exonerate her family. But as he uncovers layer upon layer of deceit, he knows it isn't going to be that easy...

My Take

I have now read three in this series, and enjoyed this one even more than INSPECTOR SINGH INVESTIGATES: A BALI CONSPIRACY MOST FOUL which I read earlier this year.

Just as she did with that title, Flint has taken a catastrophic event and placed Inspector Singh in the middle of it. This time the event is an act of terrorism in Mumbai, bombings of a mosque and market place, based loosely on what happened in Mumbai in 2008 and 2011.

This time Inspector Singh is accompanied by Mrs Singh who drags her husband to Mumbai for a family wedding. The Prologue, which you can read in the Amazon sample, describes what happened to the family in the Sikh victimisation that followed the assassination of Indira Ghandi in 1984.

The wedding the Singhs are to attend is an arranged one, just as the Singhs' own marriage was. But when the bride to be disappears the head of the family asks Inspector Singh to investigate, rather than approach the police.

What I like about these novels is the grounding in real events. In A CURIOUS INDIAN CADAVER the terrorism in Mumbai is combined with the environmental degradation and human exploitation caused by a chemicals factory.

I also love the quirky humour. This time Mrs Singh is the Inspector's sounding board as well as being his biggest critic. Mrs Singh is a very astute observer.

Shamini Flint also seems to capture the essence of Indian English, even Mrs Singh speaks an English that seems to leave out prepositions and the like. And then there is the Inspector's own sense of humour.
    They both looked out at the churning sea, the harbour littered with small boats and large ferries. In the foreground, right on the waterfront, was a massive pastel yellow arch - the Gateway of India.
    'It was built to welcome King George V when he visited India', explained his well-briefed, Google-friendly wife.
    'Didn't they think a bunch of flowers would do?' asked Singh.   
    'Anyway it was only completed twelve years after the visit.'   
    Singh grinned. That was the sort of managerial incompetence that he found amusing.
Most enjoyable. I'll be going back to read #3 and #4.

My rating: 4.5

I have also reviewed
4.2, INSPECTOR SINGH INVESTIGATES: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder #1

See also: Shamini Flint's website

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