Shamini Flint: The Woman Behind Inspector Singh Investigates

I’ve been given an opportunity to attend a book event in Kinokuniya, KLCC on 28th April 2011. It’s an intimate meet and greet session where the author Shamini Mahadevan Flint (better known as Shamini Flint) talks about her latest ‘Inspector Singh’ installment, Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree.

I’m sure most of you have heard about Ms. Flint. She’s an established and a rather famous author in Malaysia, but if you’re not an avid reader and haven’t been keeping yourself informed about the book industry in Malaysia, worry not, I’ll get to that.

Initially, I could not attend the event as it was on working day. The event would have fit my schedule better if it was weekend. But I can’t help it. I begged my way out of work, and sped off to the event.  I did not want to miss it for the world. You see, I felt that owed Ms. Flint some support and at least a decent coverage, considering that she had personally provided me with a Advance Reader Copy of her book around one week before her book launch.

I was really excited when I received her ARC, you see. This is not the first time that I received an ARC, but it is the first time that I received something from local author/publisher. It is just sad. You see, UK and US publishers approached me all the time and had been giving me tonnes of ARC to read and review, but I’m afraid, local publishers/authors does not exactly give me the same treatment. I suppose it is not a practice for Malaysian publishers to encourage their authors for Blog Tours. So yes… I was really really ecstatic to receive the ARC from Ms. Flint.

I am truly glad that I wormed my way out of work for the Inspector Singh Meet and Greet session. The event was worth my troubles. Truthfully, the meet and greet session was not only fun but enlightening and inspiring as well. Ms. Flint has such witty humour and I daresay that I was not the only one who was charmed with her outstanding attribute.

Ms. Flint starts of the meet and greet session by introducing the Inspector Singh books one by one. She starts off with my favourite Inspector Singh book, ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: The Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder’. I liked this book best not only because it’s very close to home and I could relate to the sarcastic humour she slipped into the book in question, but also because of the issues that she brought up in the book.

Frankly speaking when I first read this book, I was highly amazed and amused by the fact that it’s shelved in Malaysia. I would have thought that it would have been banned or something, considering that Ms. Flint has brought up some sensitive issue in ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: The Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder’.

Ms. Flint then proceed to introduce ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul’  and ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy’. Her talks on these two books are brief. I suppose she does not want to spoil the readers with too much details. After all, it would not be a good mystery book if the author tells you whodunnit in her book during the meet and greet session. That would be a true killjoy, wouldn’t it? Yes, indeed, it would be a major spoiler if she did.

Ms. Flint saved the best for last. The star attraction of the day was the latest installment of the series, ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree’. She read the first chapter out loud to the audiences and proceeds to the Q&A session.

Various questions were asked by the audience, and Ms. Flint answered all of them with witty humour. I find this session highly entertaining and inspiring. I was really scandalized and had a good laugh when she admitted to the audience that when she had author’s block, she would attend various social events like weddings and a funerals so that she could drag her Muse back from going MIA.

She then revealed to us that Inspector Singh will end in the next book, and the setting would be India. I was saddened then, because truthfully, I don’t think 5 books would be enough. At least it is not enough for me for I have come to love the chubby and spunky Inspector Singh.

Being an aspiring author that I am, I could not helped but ask her how long did she take to finish each books. This is one thing one author always ask another. How long did it take to finish writing a book. We don’t ask where the inspiration comes from and whatnot as each author have their own ways of getting inspired.

Ms. Flint secretly smiled and said it’s not for the public knowledge. I couldn’t help but grin, knowing that she must have been a very prolific and quite a speedy author to be able to say this. And my hunch was right, as after being pressured by the audience, she admitted that she would love to tell the readers that she slaved at her desk to write for Mr. Singh and couldn’t honestly say so because that is not the truth. She mentioned that she’s a speedy writer and she doesn’t exactly wait for her Muse to come to her to write. She just write. She also mentioned that all aspiring authors should be discipline if they want to succeed. When it comes to writing and completing a book, you can’t just wait for your Muse to come. You need to just write, get the story out of your head… and let the characters be alive.

I get her point and wholeheartedly agree with her because I too use the same approach when it comes to writing. I call it the NaNoWriMo approach, where you set a certain realistic goal… say 1,666 words per day and never stop til you complete your story. And the trick to do this is to write first, and put the editing way later-when you finish your story, that is. You see, your inner editor is quite a monster and would kill your story before you manage to come to a good end.

So yes, if you want to write and complete your book, just write, and don’t look back until you complete it. One may not realize it, but what makes a good author or a good book is not whether they are published or famous, but whether the author in question managed to complete the story or not. If an author enjoyed writing it, there’s possibility that the readers would too. And it does not matter if the book is published or not.

Ms. Flint’s work is a masterpiece, I must say. She blended humour, mystery and awkward legal predicaments very well in her book. One who appreciate a mystery that’s close to reality would definitely appreciate her books. And if you’re looking to understand certain countries culture, tradition as well as a little bit of law in a non-intimidating way, I would highly recommend Ms. Flint’s Inspector Singh Investigates series.

I have read the ARC of her latest book: ‘Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree’ and below is my review for it.

Title: Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree

Author: Shamini Flint

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320 pages

Date of publication: 1 April 2011

Publisher: Piatkus Books

ISBN-10: 0749953470

ISBN-13: 978-0749953478

First of all, I have to say that I find it difficult to start this book, because the first chapter was very descriptive, horrifying and not to mention absolutely morbid. I could barely stop myself from retching when I read the first chapter of Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree. Ms. Flint did a very good job with the opening salvo.

The opening salvo was too good, in fact that it almost scares me from reading further. But as I flip the pages, I found that it’s not all morbid and the beloved Inspector Singh is as humourous as ever in his investigative endeavor.

I had a good laugh at some point of the book, and I could not guess who had done the killing, even when I was near the end of the book. Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree is well written and definitely thought provoking. It brought up various issues, especially violence and human rights.

I highly recommend Inspector Singh Investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree to all mystery lovers and I rate this book 4 out of 5 star. A must read, and definitely a keeper.

I received an ARC of this book from Shamini Flint/ Piatkus Books. I was not compensated in any ways and I was under no obligations to write a positive review for it.

Book description:

Inspector Singh is in Cambodia – wishing he wasn’t. He’s been sent as an observer to the international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, the latest effort by his superiors to ensure that he is anywhere except in Singapore. But for the first time the fat Sikh inspector is on the verge of losing his appetite when a key member of the tribunal is murdered in cold blood. The authorities are determined to write off the incident as a random act of violence, but Singh thinks otherwise. It isn’t long before he finds himself caught up in one of the most terrible murder investigations he’s witnessed – the roots of which lie in the dark depths of the Cambodian killing fields…

Interested in getting her books after reading all the good stuff about her and her works? Well, her books are shelved in Malaysia. You can get it at your nearest major bookstores like Kinokuniya and MPH. But if you can’t make it to the nearest bookstores, you can click on the book covers below and purchase it directly from the publisher. It is available in both paperback and ebook format.

About the author:

Shamini Flint begins her law career in Malaysia and is currently residing in Singapore with her  husband and her two lovely children. She has also worked in an international law firm in Singapore before deciding that it would be much more adventurous to resign and write about various characters that’s been dying to to make their stories known. Shamini Flint is a dedicated  stay at home mum, writer, part-time lecturer as well as environmental activist.

Shamini hopes to reach out and make a difference to the world through her writing and is well noted in the book industry with her ‘Inspector Singh Investigates’ series as well as various series of children books.

For more information on Shamini Flint and her works, please visit her website at : www.shaminiflint.com. And if you fancy in keeping touch with her, you can do so through her Facebook Fanpage.

Cleffairy: 😀 I’m gonna try to contact Ms. Flint and see if she’d like to do blog tour and if she’d give me an email interview as well. 😀 Support local authors, peeps, trust me, they rock!

Disclaimer: The write ups, review is all mine, but the picture is courtesy of Smallkucing and Mamarazzi as well as www.shaminiflint.com.

10 comments

        • Cleffairy says:

          Ms. Flint carries herself well and was a wonderful speaker. However, Kinokuniya, in my opinion have a lot to improvise in terms of hosting book event such as this one. It was rather… what’s the word? Not systematic. The space provided was not spacious either and the fans who attended the book event could not really socialize with each other during refreshment because no specific space was reserved for refreshment purpose. We ended up scattered around in the cafe with the lunch hour crowds. Tsk. And yes, like you said, no proper banner or signboard. That irked me too.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Ohhhh, I’ve read Cat Lim’s work. Very morbid, especially ‘Unhurried Thoughts At My Funeral’. Loved her work. Wish I had the opportunity to meet her too!

  1. Cheeyee says:

    Sounds like a good event! Too bad I miss it! Not much time to read paperback book. Else I will also ask for a copy of the ARC. 🙂

    • Cleffairy says:

      Hahaha… yes, too bad you missed it. But it’s okay… I can lend you the book. The latest book, that is. i dun have a copy of the other three…Kat has it though.

  2. BorneoExpatWriter says:

    Enjoyed this. Nice write up and congrats to Shamini for showing us it can be done from inside Malaysia/Singapore. But it takes more than just wanting success or talking about writing; it requires discipline to actually get it done as she pointed out. It’s also a relay event, starting with the writer and ending with the reader. http://borneoexpatwriter.blogspot.com/2011/04/writing-is-team-effort.html

    As a blogger, I like the idea of a blog tour! Maybe when Lovers and Strangers Revisited comes out in French later this year (finally breaking out of Malaysia/Singapore) I’ll look into that http://borneoexpatwriter.blogspot.com/2011/02/lovers-and-strangers-revisited-is-being.html .

    Keep up the good work (and good luck with your own writing) and I’ll keep you in mind for a ARC.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Yes, true, it requires tremendous effort and high self discipline to really write a book. I suppose this is a trait every prolific writer must have. Unfortunately for me… I’m quite lacking in that department.

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