Piatkus, Great Britain, 2012
Book 5 in the Inspector Singh Investigates series
Inspector Singh is on medical leave after an incident at the end of the Cambodian investigation, on which I will not elaborate to avoid spoiling your read if you haven’t yet got to it. It is probably due to the boredom of staying at home that he relents and allows Mrs Singh to cajole him into attending a family wedding in Mumbai.
Predictably the social event turns into a disappearance and murder investigation, making it much more fun for the canny inspector. As in all of the books in this series, while we are engrossed in the crime solving, there are many more issues to consider.
In this case, we look at corruption, cross-religion relationships, religious conflict, inequality of wealth, inequality of social standing, questions of tradition in Indian society, international terrorism and industrial pollution – for a start.
The personal touches in this novel provide interesting insight into the workings of a ‘typical’ Indian family, including some wedding traditions. Inspector Singh’s impatience with family gossip, his empathy, his fair-mindedness his determination to root out evil and his keen eye keep the mystery investigation on track despite the efforts of some of the book people to distract or confuse him. Singh’s colleague on the ground is Assistant Commissioner of Police Patel and he is most obliging in allowing Singh the lead, bowing to his international reputation as a super-sleuth policeman from Singapore.
The usual diverting elements of humour in this book come largely from Singh’s wry stage aside like comments (Mumbai Indians – a bit oxymoronic) and his interactions with Mrs Singh, who also incidentally proves to be a useful side-kick in this story.
Do I unconditionally love Inspector Singh? Yes, I do. I am ever hopeful of a BBC series production – despite the times in which we find ourselves in 2020. Failing this, another book in the series.
You can find my interview with Shamini Flint about Inspector Singh investigates – a Frightfully English Execution at https://livingartscanberra.com.au/podcasts/terror-australis-festival/
And at: https://livingartscanberra.com.au/shamini-flint-inspector-singh-investigates-a-frightfully-english-execution/, where you will also find a short and partial blog about the book.