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by Shamini Flint
Piatkus, May 2009
295 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749929758

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A MOST PECULIAR MALAYSIAN MURDER is the first in a new series of novels by Shamini Flint. Inspector Singh is seconded to assist the Kuala Lumpur police in a murder case involving a Singaporean national. Chelsea Liew, a beautiful former model, is accused of murdering her husband, a wealthy heir to a timber fortune. In a city that he does not know and is not entirely sure who he can trust, Singh investigates and discovers that the case against Liew is not entirely solid. Can he save her from the noose?

This novel is a very pleasant read. It is extremely refreshing to find a novel set in a country other than the United Kingdom or the United States, given those locations' predominance in the market. Of course, this is not to say that there are not other places European crime fiction is carving out an increasingly large niche but they are yet to break the stranglehold. Flint certainly has the potential to put Asian crime fiction on the map, especially as her next novels will take place in Bali and Singapore.

The main protagonist, Inspector Singh, is interesting. Overweight, not particularly fit, slow and sweaty, to name but a few of his more endearing characteristics, he would immediately appear to be the antithesis of the modern detective hero. These attributes, however, make him very likeable and his skills as a detective are above reproach. There is no doubt that he has the potential to become a well-loved regular character.

There are places in which the plot appears somewhat light and some of the twists may well be a little obvious, but that should not detract from the overall quality of the read. Flint has a clear authorial voice and stands out from the crowd in the originality of this novel. I look forward to reading more novels in this series.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, May 2009

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