Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul by Shamini Flint

First Sentence: Jimi’s hands were clammy.

Inspector Singh has been assigned to Bali to help with security and anti-terrorist measures after a bomb had been set off in the tourist part of the island. Singh feels he has little to offer; his expertise is solving murders. When a body with a bullet hole, killing him before the explosion, is found in the wreckage, Singh is there to find the answers with the help of a Aussie cop assigned to work with him.

The opening—seeing things from the perspective of the bomber—is interesting and rather sad.

There is an immediate charm to Inspector Singh. His doctor has been after him to get some exercise, so he shows the doctor his athletic shoes…and proceeds to stop at his favorite restaurant. After all “Talking about exercise was hungry work.” Although he’s not always likeable, he is self-deprecating and an old-fashioned cop who follows the clues. Brownyn, an Aussie cop assigned to work which him is a complete mystery to him. Yet through their relationship, she decided she wants to investigate murders when she returns to Australia. There is an interesting comparison made between tracking down terrorists and finding an individual killer.

It is interesting to learn the issues of immigration and race from the perspective of Muslims and Hindus in other countries and the different priority murder has to the Singapore police. Singh makes a wonderful rejoinder after an Australian tourist asks whether he is a Muslim. Singh tells him no, and is then asked, “Then why’ve you got that hanky around your head?” “Because I’m a Sikh and our people have been turbaned for longer than you’ve had ancestors out of prison.”. This theme is continued later when he is confronted by a woman whose child had been killed by the bombers. “The bombings were carried out by a very small minority of people. Most Moslems were devastated by what happened.” “Singh knew he was wasting him time trying to communicate to this women that the actions of a few should not be allowed to tarnish the many. …”

There is a wonderful description of the Balinese arts, as well as the food and locations. It makes a very welcome contrast to solving the crimes.

“A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul” is a very good read which includes effective twists and a universal truth.

A BALI CONSPIRACY MOST FOUL (Pol Proc-Inspector Singh-Bali-Contemp) – VG
Flint, Shamini - 2nd in series
Minotaur Books, 2011

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