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3.9 out of 5 stars232
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 November 2011
Leather's Singaporean Detective Zhang investigates another closed room mystery as a hotel guest is found dead where CCTV shows that no one has entered his room since said guest called room service and also telephoned his wife. This series of very short stories is modelled on Agatha Christie's Poirot where Zhang similarly uses his 'little grey cells' to solve a seemingly impossible mystery. Very simple, very clever, and very readable.
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on 8 April 2013
Having never read Stephen Leather before I was intrigued by a chance to sample his work in this free short story.

Recommended to me as a result of my previous purchase history including the beautiful Inspector Chen novels from Qiu Xianolou I decided to see if this was to be a new novelist to explore and add to my reading list.

The story itself was pretty non-eventful, standard bbc saturday night murder by numbers stuff but what struck me most was the extremely clumsy dialogue and near painful way in which the characters interacted. I can't help feeling this one snuck past the editor's desk when he/she was nursing a rather bad hangover.

I hope this is not reflective of Stephen Leather's other work but I am in no hurry to find out after this sample which has done the exact opposite of making me hungry for more.

I feel a bit of a mean spirit leaving such a bad review but I feel it would be a disservice to those who craft engaging, relevant and elegant crime fiction to do anything else.

I have gone from 1 star to 2 stars as it was pretty inoffensive stuff but really if you favour clever plots and excellent tension read something else!
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on 13 January 2013
stephen leather is one of the best authors around, I have read most of his books and would recommend them to all
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on 23 June 2013
Its a quick, short read. You can make up your own mind how you feel about that.

Its a book for fans of crime novels. It takes the classic scenario of the body in the locked room and, whilst being written as a novella, provides an almost scholarly analysis of the genre. It then delivers the resolution within that framework. It is a pity it didn't offer a new variation, now that would have been something. There are also enough nods to other crime writers to keep the fan amused with their own knowledge.

It is well done, nice characters, nice interplay between the Inspector and side kick. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, and yes, if you read the story and exercise your own little grey cells, you too can play along and work out the solution.

I thought I read that the Inspector also appears in other "locked room" mysteries. If you like this, then you might want to read more. Personally, I can imagine them to be formulaic, simply using each of the conventional plot devices.
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on 8 December 2013
As I know that Stephen Leather has lived in the far east in the past, and currently resides over in that part of the world, I can see how he can write so well about the area in a lot of his books. 'Write about what you know,' is a writers mantra, as it adds realism to your work, and he certainly does that. If anyone has read my other comments on Stephens books they will know I am big fan of his work. I aspire to write as well as he does, knowing that I will fail, but even trying to be as good will improve my own work.
The book is good in that it introduces a character to the uninitiated and brings him alive, leaving the reader with a desire to seek out more on the 'Poirot of the East.'
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on 5 November 2012
I have to admit that I got this crime short story as a Freebie.
So what could I probably lose?
And I have made a very nice, new acquaintance: Detective Inspector Zhang, Singapore Police.
He is a well-educated, polite gentleman of the old kind.
And he resolves his crime - a closed-room one - the way that clearly reminds me of Monsieur Poirot.
Effective, with his - female - sidekick, he strikes when the culprit feels himself yet on the sure side.
Very entertaining read - adorned with an extract of the Stephen Leather novel Bangkok Bob and The Missing Mormon. A Bangkok-placed gumshoe crime I have read and reviewed, too.

Stephen Leather is THE great Britisch contemporary thriller writer! Before he began to write full-time in 1992, he was for over 10 Years a journalist who wrote for 'The Times, 'The Daily Mail' and the 'South China Morning Post' in Hongkong. He is also valued one of the most acclaimed connaisseurs of the Far East and the author of numerous bestsellers.
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on 5 August 2013
If you like the old fashioned Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle style of deductive reasoning then you'll enjoy this. It's a quick read and well worth while.
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on 15 January 2013
This book surprised me because normally I prefer to read 250 to 500 page books. And this short detective story was only less then 100 pages( I don't like to read short stories because I think there a waist of time when u can read them in one siting! ).
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on 31 March 2013
I've read the first Spider thriller so thought this might be somewhat in the same vein - not so. I know different stories with different lead charactors have to be different, but it dipped quite a way down. Perhaps I was expecting high hopes as I throughly enjoyed the Spider story. Inspector Zhang did not endear me to him and I found I could leave the story before reaching the end. I did finish it however, but only because I don't like to leave a story not finished, and it wasn't to find the outcome if Inspector Zhang got his wish. Maybe on a full length story he comes out in a better light once you get to know his full charactor of who he and others around him are like - but I can honestly say that I may not search for another Inspector Zhang story
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on 13 March 2013
The narrative is too short to developers any real depth. However, it still manages to convey something of the character of the main detective. The sidekick does seem to lack visualization. On the whole a lightweight yarn for a quick read.
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