A retro sleuth attempts to save a femme fatale from being framed.
As former supermodel Chelsea Liew is being denied bail in a Kuala Lumpur courtroom, plus-sized Inspector Singh, having drawn the Singapore police department’s short straw, rushes by plane and train to interrupt the trial. Singapore and Malaysia, both on the Malay peninsula, are rival nations with continually contentious relations. The Malaysian tabloids have virtually convicted Singapore-born Chelsea of the murder of wealthy ex-husband Alan Lee and provoked Singh’s 11th-hour mission of justice on behalf of Chelsea’s homeland. Malaysian police pronounce themselves “more than happy” to cooperate. Their passive aggression is trumped by Singh’s abrasive single-mindedness. More distractions to be brushed away are Chelsea’s incompetent Indian attorney and her own flair for the histrionic. Though Chelsea has some public sympathy, she also had a compelling motive: Alan, who had numerous affairs during their long marriage, was planning to seize custody of the couple’s three children. At first, it looks as if the victim’s brothers, elegant, hardworking Jasper and chronically overlooked half-caste Kian Min, will be obstacles in Singh’s path. Then Jasper surprises everyone by confessing to the crime. This development should free Chelsea, so why does she declare him a liar? As the shrewd Singh continues to probe, all he finds are more plausible suspects.
The series kickoff (and adult-fiction debut) from prolific children’s author Flint effectively captures the color and vigor but also the clichés of vintage whodunits.