A very enjoyable police procedural set in Kuala Lumpur…
Having read and really enjoyed the first book in Rozland Mohd Noor’s Inspector Mislan series, I was happy to receive an advance review copy of the second book in the series, DUKE: Inspector Mislan and the Expressway Murders. And I was even happier to find that I enjoyed this excellent police procedural just as much as the first one. (Note: just to set things straight for those, like me, who are not super familiar with Kuala Lumpur, author Noor tells us right up front that the DUKE is the Duta–Ulu Klang Expressway – the road of the subtitle – and not a noble Duke. So if you are looking for royalty, you won’t find it here!)
In DUKE, we once again have a nice puzzle to figure out along with Inspector Mislan and his team. Was the death of an older company executive and the much younger head of one of his company’s subsidiaries inside a locked luxury car on the DUKE a murder-suicide, as seems obvious, or is there more going on? Mislan’s instincts tell him things aren’t that simple, and we watch as he figures out how to keep the case from being closed prematurely. And there’s lots of pressure to get the case closed. The executive’s family wants to keep their patriarch’s personal life out of the news, and his business associates, some of whom seem to be a bit on the shady side, want it closed too. Mislan perseveres, the case stays open, and readers will enjoy the investigation that follows – a nice blend of competing departments, lab work, some outside help, some outside obstruction, multiple motives, and a lot of leg work – all with wonderful background snippets of KL and its environs. In the end, of course, Mislan figures out how the crime occurred, what the motive was, and who dunnit – albeit with a bit of a surprise at the end.
Readers also get a nice view of life in a majority Muslim city during Ramadan, with its daytime fasting, later-than-normal night life, eager anticipation of the breaking of the fast each evening, and even more eager anticipation of the Hari Raya (Eid) festival that marks the end of the whole month of fasting. And finally, I found myself to be quite jealous of “Ma’am”, Mislan’s boss, who seems like a perfect supervisor – she has good relationships with her team, some nice insights of her own, and is willing to go to bat for her subordinates, even at the risk of her own position. I wish some of my past bosses could have been more like Ma’am, and I hope she has a long life in the series!
Please keep in mind that I don’t give many five-star reviews – maybe only one in thirty or forty books that I read. So four stars is a very solid recommendation from me to read a book. And I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series enough that I’m really looking forward to the third one, which is due out in July of this year. Finally, my thanks again to the publisher, Arcade Crimewise, for the review copy.
See my review of 21 Immortals, the first book in the series, here.