It is 1938 Singapore: a city of sleaze where almost every vice is readily available and crime runs rampant. But one particular crime shocks even the most jaded of citizens: a brutal, apparent robbery–murder with a most unusual cast of victims.
Amongst the dead is a Chinese businessman, one of Singapore’s richest men; a visiting diplomat of the German Reich; three low-life hoods and a young girl, a totally innocent bystander. After the convenient deaths of two of the robber–killers, the colonial police declare the case closed. This, despite the fact that witnesses swear they saw more than two gunmen fleeing the after-hours bar-cum-opium den where the murders took place. Why the rush to judgement?
Jump to present-day Singapore and a graduate student in History happens upon the case while researching his doctoral thesis. The nagging questions surrounding the crime and its “solution” seize his imagination and soon become an obsession. Working diligently with an associate who has a very vested interest in finding out all the truth behind the vicious crime, the young scholar manages to put together all the pieces of the slaughter and what the pair discover shakes the foundations of one of contemporary Singapore’s most admired families and institutions.
This “cold case” thriller is one of the centrepiece short stories in the collection “Crime Scene: Singapore” (available in print and ebook form). “The Lost History of Shadows” was adapted for a four-part mini-series and aired on TV in 2012 under the title “Keong Saik Street”.