Library Loot (6 August 2012)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

In my bid to read books set in Southeast Asia this month, I hit the library to get me some loot! Luckily the grandparents are here to babysit visiting for a few weeks so I was able to sneak out during wee reader’s nap and hit the too-crowded library for some much needed browsing.

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder – Shamini Flint

Inspector Singh is in a bad mood. He’s been sent from his home in Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to solve a murder that has him stumped. Chelsea Liew – the famous Singaporean model – is on death row for the murder of her ex-husband. She swears she didn’t do it, he thinks she didn’t do it, but no matter how hard he tries to get to the bottom of things, he still arrives back at the same place – that Chelsea’s husband was shot at point blank range, and that Chelsea had the best motivation to pull the trigger: he was taking her kids away from her. Now Inspector Singh must pull out all the stops to crack a crime that could potentially free a beautiful and innocent woman and reunite a mother with her children. There’s just one problem – the Malaysian police refuse to play ball…

A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul: Inspector Singh Investigates – Shamini Flint

I suppose I am taking quite a risk here by getting not just the first but the second book in this series. Hopefully I will like the first book enough to get to this one!

Inspector Singh, everyone’s favorite portly and wheezing homicide detective, is still recovering from his last case when terrorists set off a bomb on the neighboring island of Bali. With Singapore’s anti-terrorist team busy defending the home front, Inspector Singh’s bosses ship him to Bali to assist with the investigation. Unfortunately, Inspector Singh has as much experience with terrorism as he does with proper diet and exercise – none.

When the police find a skull fragment of a man who was killed before the bomb went off, Inspector Singh is assigned to the case. With Bronwyn Taylor, a peppy and eternally optimistic Australian cop, at his side, Singh’s investigation leads him to the wife of the murdered man, and her group of entitled, expatriate friends. The murder seems like an open-and-shut case – that is, until Bronwyn and Singh realize that this crowd is riddled with enough cheating and discontent to fill out a soap opera.

This simple murder is quickly becoming more complicated than Singh could have imagined. And how does it all tie into the act of terrorism that brought him to Bali in the first place? Set in an exotic locale and starring an unforgettable cast of characters, this second mystery featuring the utterly lovable Inspector Singh is exciting, funny, and suspenseful, with an ending that even the most seasoned detective couldn’t predict.

The Harmony Silk Factory – Tash Aw

The Harmony Silk Factory is the textiles store run by Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in rural Malay in the first half of the twentieth century. It is the most impressive and truly amazing structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny Lim is a hero—a Communist who fought the Japanese when they invaded, ready to sacrifice his life for the welfare of his people. But to his son, Jasper, Johnny is a crook and a collaborator who betrayed the very people he pretended to serve, and the Harmony Silk Factory is merely a front for his father’s illegal businesses. Centering on Johnny from three perspectives—those of his grown son; his wife, Snow, the most beautiful woman in the Kinta Valley (through her diary entries); and his best and only friend, an Englishman adrift named Peter Wormwood—the novel reveals the difficulty of knowing another human being, and how our assumptions about others also determine who we are. Joseph Conrad, W. Somerset Maugham, and Anthony Burgess have shaped our perceptions of Malaysia. Now, with The Harmony Silk Factory, we have an authentic Malaysian voice that remaps this literary landscape. Through this examination of a compelling, mysterious, and larger-than-life character, Tash Aw gives us an exquisitely written look into another culture at a moment of crisis.

Bondmaid – Catherine Lim
Of course I had to get a book from Singapore.

Set in Singapore in the fifties, the novel focuses on the story of Han. Sold as a slave into the House of Wu at the age of four, she forms a close bond with the heir of the household, but the idyllic childhood soon turns into a life of struggling against tradition and tyranny.

Cold Earth: A Novel – Sarah Moss
This was a book I had on hold via my previous month’s goal (reading off my Goodreads TBR list). And it had to come in now…

A team of six archaeologists from the United States, England, and Scotland assembles at the beginning of the Arctic summer to unearth traces of the lost Viking settlements in Greenland. But as they sink into uneasy domesticity, there is news of an epidemic back home, and their communications with the outside world fall away. Facing a Greenland winter for which they are hopelessly ill-equipped, Nina, Ruth, Catriona, Jim, Ben, and Yianni, knowing that their missives may never reach their loved ones, write final letters home. These letters make up the narrative of Cold Earth, with each section of the book composed of one character’s first-person perspective in letter form.
In this exceptional and haunting debut novel, Moss weaves a rich tapestry of personal narrative, history, love, grief, and naked survival. Cold Earth is both a heart-pounding thriller and a highly sophisticated novel of ideas.

The Golden Child
Ahem. While I was grabbing those two Shamini Flint books off the mystery shelves, this book was next to them. I thought the book had been put back on the wrong section but nope, the spine did say “Mystery FITZGERALD” so it made me curious.

Penelope Fitzgerald’s first novel, THE GOLDEN CHILD, combines a deft comedy of manners with a classic mystery set in London’s most refined institution — the museum. When the glittering treasure of ancient Garamantia, the golden child, is delivered to the museum, a web of intrigue tightens around its personnel, especially the hapless museum officer Waring Smith. While prowling the halls one night, Waring is nearly strangled. Two suspicious deaths ensue, and only the cryptic hieroglyphics of the Garamantes can bring an end to the mayhem. Fitzgerald has an unerring eye for human nature, and this satirical look at the art world delivers a terrifically witty read.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0) – Cheryl Strayed

An Overdrive e-book that I’ve had on hold. I’m excited to read this, after all that buzz online about it.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

Wee reader’s loot

Firefighter Frank Board Book Edition – Monica Wellington

My Beach Book – Ellen Kirk

Busy Toes – C. W. Bowie

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?


  1. The Inspector Singh books sound interesting and I really like the covers. Wild is everywhere, isn’t it? I know my library has a Fast Reads copy so I’m keeping my eye out for it – hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on it soon. Enjoy your loot!


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