16 January 2013


  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 413 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0749953470
  • Publisher: Hachette Digital (April 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O0U566
  • Source: I bought it
Synopsis (Amazon)

Inspector Singh is in Cambodia - wishing he wasn't. He's been sent as an observer to the international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, the latest effort by his superiors to ensure that he is anywhere except in Singapore.

But for the first time the fat Sikh inspector is on the verge of losing his appetite when a key member of the tribunal is murdered in cold blood. The authorities are determined to write off the incident as a random act of violence, but Singh thinks otherwise.

It isn't long before he finds himself caught up in one of the most terrible murder investigations he’s witnessed - the roots of which lie in the dark depths of the Cambodian killing fields. . .

My Take

When a witness at the international war crimes tribunal is murdered Inspector Singh, who had been attending the hearings as an ASEAN observer, is appointed as an investigator, jointly in charge with a local Cambodian police inspector. His "sidekick" is a rather taciturn Cambodian translator, herself an orphan as a result of the Cambodian killing fields.

Inspector Singh notes that, for the first time he can remember, the murder under investigation has its roots in the past.
    He was investigating a murder in the early twenty-first century. But every aspect of the killing indicated that it was a crime born of events thirty years ago. It was probably the first time in his life that an investigation of his had invoked history in this way. In a sense, he supposed, it wasn’t history at all – what was that expression, the past is prologue?
Singh is not happy with his role as an ASEAN observer and fervently wishes he was anywhere but in Cambodia.
    Singh was slumped in an armchair in his hotel room contemplating the day’s testimony. He cast his mind back to when he had investigated a murder in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings in Bali. At the time, it had seemed that the callous snatching of life in a terrorist attack, without any nexus between murderer and victim, was the most grievous expression of cold-blooded murder possible. He would have to revise that thought. The murder of innocents without malice aforethought but with a cynical, clinical cruelty over a period of months and years, that was worse. Kill or be killed, torture or be tortured, follow orders or have the same fate befall one as the would-be victims.
I enjoyed CAMBODIAN CRIME SPREE even more than the earlier titles that I have read. I feel as if Inspector Singh has become even more tangible and I think Shamini Flint does an excellent job in her character development both of Singh and the other characters in the novel.
The other thing that is excellent about this novel is the historical detail relating to the war crimes in Cambodia. (You'll see that I am listing it in the Historical Fiction Challenge).

My Rating: 4.6

I've also reviewed
4.2, INSPECTOR SINGH INVESTIGATES, A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Shamini Flint's website


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Oh, that does sound like a good 'un. I'm very interested in the Cambodian setting and the historical context. I must catch up with this series better than I have...

Marina Sofia said...

This sounds like a very interesting take on things. I have read one or two Inspector Singh novels, but never in any systematic way.


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