My Small Kucing Blog

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Inspector Singh Investigates : A Calamitous Chinese Killing

 Summary from

Inspector Singh's expertise is required in China in his sixth adventure, as he battles political intrigue to get to the bottom of a very murky and complex crime Inspector Singh is on a mission to China, against his better judgment. 

The son of a bigwig at the Singapore Embassy has been bludgeoned to death in a back alley in Beijing. 

The Chinese security insist that he was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but the young man's mother demands that Singapore's finest (in his own opinion) rides to the rescue. 

But solving a murder in a country that practices socialism "with Chinese characteristics" is a dangerous business, and it soon becomes apparent that getting to the bottom of this calamitous killing will be his toughest case yet

My Comments : 

Shamini Flint has done it again. Another thought provoking book fill with suspense.

Cleverly blend in the story are issues on corruption, illegal organ harvesting, poverty, materialism, environmental issues and crackdown on fulan gong members. Did I miss out on any other issues? Qing's aunt had certainly voiced out what I felt about Mao's policies.

As usual, it was not easy to begin reading this book. The story jump from one character to another but as it goes, the story will come together.

The only downside is that I am not happy with the closure on Professor Luo issue. It feel just so unfair. I would have love it if it have a perfect ending. but then with perfect ending, the story will no longer have the realistic feel, right?

I wonder where will inspector Chen send inspector singh to next? will Mrs singh learn how to make szechuan food? will she be more involved in his investigation?

For the moment am giving this book 4 stars out of 5.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Ghost Bride by by Yangsze Choo

Original title :The Ghost Bride
ISBN :0062227327 (ISBN13: 9780062227324)

Summary at

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever

My Comments : 

I grew up in Malaysia. Ever since I was a kid, I observed that my elders tend to mix Taoism, Buddhism and various local custom together when they pray.

It would be hard for those who have no background on the custom and superstition to digest the full effect and glory of this story

Yea, I have heard of the story of Ghost Bride. In fact, if my memory didn't fail me, I recall Mom mentioned one of my great grand aunt had a son/daughter who pass away and "came back" in his/her mom dream and told them that he/she met a mate in the underworld and they want to get marry. Hence the family performed the rites

Now i know why my elders had always deter me from picking up things from the roadside. Have heard of "spirits" being attached to some things . Hence sometimes people them away.

have heard and seen people burning all the belongings of the dead..hmmm...only now did I know that spirit have connection to the things they loved.

Enough about me. I should be writing about this book but how shall I start? Well, As you've read, it brings back a lot of memories. For me it has been a wonderful experience reading this.

At parts it was really eerie. Especially where the author mentioned the paper doll offerings and the paper houses.  I kept imagining the two red dots on the the paper servants cheek. It gave me goose bumps.

overall I love it very much. Hope the author would write more of this genre.  These superstition and believes is being abandon and forgotten in the age of technology. This has been part of our ancestors life. It would be nice to have it preserved in memory though we no longer practice them. Let it be part of our history.

Am giving this book full 5 stars.