Marina Bay Sins by Neil Humphreys

Title: Marina Bay Sins (Inspector Low #1)

Author: Neil Humphreys

First published in 2014; republished by Muswell Press on 31 March 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Detective Inspector Stanley Low is having a bad day. His bipolar diagnosis is not helping the situation either. The therapy session in progress is nothing but annoying. A sadistic sex murder-suicide at Singapore’s prestigious hotel – Marina Bay Sands takes Low back to the sordid underworld he was desperate to leave behind.

As the case proceeds and suspects must be interviewed, Low comes across a self-help guru deep in debt, a celebrity singer who depends on social media for fame, an expat addicted to Asian women and an elusive foreign businessman playing pimp for exiled generals.

Marina Bay Sins is the first book in Neil Humphrey’s Inspector Low series. Set in Singapore, Marina Bay Sins explores the dark and secretive corners of Asia’s swinging city.

Reading this book has been an eye opener of sorts. I have always believed Asian’s cleanest and safest city has a lot to offer to his citizens and expats. Neil Humphreys has portrayed the other side of Singapore – drugs, prostitution, exploitation and money-buys-everything.

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The story begins with Inspector Low at his therapy session. He was undercover for over a year and played a major role in catching the most-wanted gangster in Singapore. Everybody knows about Low’s heroic act. But it came at a cost…. Low is diagnosed with mild-bipolar disorder with aggressive tendencies. Best detective in Singapore, yes. But quite poor in anger management.

The maid at Marina Bay Sands discovers a body in room 4088. The police are called in. The victim is lying stark naked on the bed with his arms and legs splayed across. When Detective Inspector James Tan finds the victim’s ID, he immediately calls DI Low. The victim, Richard Davies, was giving Low insider information about bookies and betting patterns.

Richard came to his hotel room with a prostitute and as she was the last person to see the victim, she is assumed to be the only suspect. But there is a distinctive smell in the room. And it is not coming from the body lying on the bed. Low discovers another body in the bathroom – it is that of the prostitute.

Low visits Richard’s office and learns he was keeping an eye on the local self-help Guru, Jimmy Chew. Jimmy’s wife, celebrity singer Yue Liang, asked Richard to keep an eye on her husband’s betting habits. Turns out, the celebrity couple were neck deep in debt.

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When post mortem reports comes in, it becomes clear that Richard killed the prostitute. Did he kill himself too after committing a crime? That doesn’t sound right though… for, Richard was addicted to sleeping with Asian women.

I do not prefer to read stories with course language. The same holds good for movies. Anger, frustration and all the negative emotions can be expressed without the usage of swear words. This book is full of b-,f-,m-, words. Also, I have never read any SingLit before so I was new to the usage of Singlish.

Honestly, the swear words spoiled the read a tad. We already have one angry man in the story – DI Low. He’s downright rude, to women, to suspects and to everyone he comes across. On top of it, we have swear words – courtesy, Low. Goodness!

The suspects in the case have something to hide. It is up to Low to find out the truth. Then there is this elusive foreign businessman nicknamed The Indonesian. Nobody wants to talk about him. Some are terrified of him. Low goes back to his alter-ego, Ah Lian, to dig deeper into the drug dealing, betting and to learn more about The Indonesian.

At times, there were way too many slangs/Singlish words and it was difficult for me to follow the story. I have the next book in this series – Rich Kill Poor Kill – on my kindle so I will be reading it. But frankly, I am not vested in this series and the main character is not up to my liking so I doubt I would be following the series.


I received an ARC from Muswell Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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3 thoughts on “Marina Bay Sins by Neil Humphreys

  1. Sorry this didn’t work out so well. Sadly wherever humans are, there will be the darker, speedier quarters. If you want something fun set in singapore, try Miss Moorthy Investigates by Ovidia Yu. Set in 1970s singapore and a standalone. It was a fun mystery. She also has another series set in the 1930s in Singapore but I’m yet to try those

    1. Oh yes, the Miss Moorthy one is on KU catalog. Maybe I will read it once I conquer Mount TBR. πŸ˜‰

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