A Curious Indian Cadaver (Inspector Singh Investigates #5) by Shamini Flint

Read March 2017
Recommended for fans of detective mysteries
★    ★    ★   1/2

Yikes! So close to the end of the Inspector Singh series, and stalking checking out the website for Ms. Flint makes it clear that self-promotion isn’t in her wheelhouse. Hope that means she’s busy writing the next Singh mystery, a series that is a more modern and culturally aware take of a Piroit-style investigation.

I found this to be one of the more solid entries in the Inspector Singh series. Poor Inspector: forced to take a medical leave of absence after the calamitous ending of the last book, his wife has the perfect activity to prevent him from rattling around the house–attending a family wedding in India. Not close family, mind you, so the reader is introduced in bits and pieces to some of the concepts of family in India and acceptable social roles. Alas, by the time they arrive, the bride has disappeared during her traditional pre-wedding house arrest seclusion. When her elder brother Tanvir identifies a badly burned body as his sister, it looks like she committed suicide. But her grandfather would like to know why, so Inspector Singh is placed on the case.

As in the other Singh books, Flint deftly weaves in bits of social and cultural commentary, giving the reader the flavor of the setting, and the ways it plays into Inspector Singh’s investigation. Really, it’s a fascinating concept for a series–what is ‘crime’ in each country, and what does policing and ‘justice’ look like? I thought this story was nicely fleshed out, and slightly less farcical in regards to the Inspector’s bursting shirt buttons and his skinny, bossy wife. There’s a fascinating juxtaposition between one of the local slums and the pristine nearby factory. I appreciate that Flint doesn’t hit her readers over the head with moral judgements, although this book comes close when it looks at life in the slum.

There was somewhat of a surprise with the ultimate solution, but the set-up behind it was obvious from the beginning. One thing about the series that continues to puzzle me is how Singh is referred to as an amazing detective, yet execution of the investigation usually seems haphazard and more subject to circumstance than the little grey cells or leaving no stone unturned. Plotting here was a little smoother. Overall, it’s a series I enjoy, certainly worthy of borrowing from my library friends. I’ll be sad to see the series end.

A solid three and a half rupees.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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