The story begins with an incident in the life of a Sikh family which is targeted after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The narrative follows the wedding of Ashu, the daughter of the man who died due to Sikh violence and the granddaughter of influential Tara Singh, a famous industrialist.
The author Shamini Flint has interjected bouts of humour, which makes it a very interesting read. The author manages to convey her beliefs about the affairs of the world from Indo-Pakistan relations to global warming to cricket in sudden tangents. There are several instances where several stereotypes are ridiculed and similar ideas presented with cynicism. Unexpected and immaterial to the narrative, they divert the reader's attention to irrelevant details however amusing they are.
Shamini has a good eye for details which help the reader paint a vivid picture in one's mind-eye. Her charming character sketches like that of Tara Singh who is said to have the 'attention of a basilisk' bemuses the reader while at the same time the contempt displayed by Tanvir towards his father cuts the reader.
The book has all the characters for a typical spicy story - an influential benevolent grandfather who has tight control over its family, a betrothed who apparently sets herself on fire despite her 'hatred for drama', a shady brother with a vendetta of his own and a weak-minded brother who is usually shunned from family. Inspector Singh appears as the bumbling wheezing detective who uses the mystery of the suspicious suicide as a way of gaining insight into the daily workings of India. It's almost like Bollywood flick rolling.
The book emphasises subtly on the psychological trauma caused by communal violence. Almost every character has been suspiciously sketched and the secrets within the family provide various twists to the story. An interesting story with a lovable protagonist.
This is the fifth Inspector Singh adventure by Shamini Flint.
Title:Inspector Singh investigates; Author: Shamini Flint; Publisher: Piatkus; Price:Rs 350