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Inspector Zhang of the Singapore Police Force is called in to what appears to be an open and shut case. A young woman has been killed during a burglary. The fingerprints on the murder weapon point to a well-known house-breaker. And his bite marks are on the victim’s arm. But the burglar has a cast-iron alibi because at the time of the murder he was in police custody.

The Deputy Commissioner wants Inspector Zhang to find out how the burglar managed to get out of the locked cell – but that is easier said than done and the mystery puts the inspector’s deductive skills to the test.

This is a short story, just over 9,000 words, equivalent to about 30 pages. A perfect read if you have half an hour or so to kill.

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers. He was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Before that, he was employed as a biochemist for ICI, shovelled limestone in a quarry, worked as a baker, a petrol pump attendant, a barman, and worked for the Inland Revenue. He began writing full time in 1992, he has sold more than three million copies and his books are published in more than ten languages. You can find out more about his work at

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Inspector Zhang and the Perfect Alibi (a short story)
Average rating
4 / 5
A good read
March 1st, 2013
A good fun read excellent value for money
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