The Paper Bark Tree Mystery is the third volume in Ovidia Yu’s Crown Colony mystery series.
Singapore in 1937 is very much a British colony. When officious, interfering, profoundly ignorant operations adviser Bernard ‘Bald Bernie’ Hemsworth descends on Singapore’s Detective Unit, there is little the senior staff can do to resist his counter-productive directives. Su Lin, until then the team’s main paper-pusher, is summarily fired and replaced by Dolly Darling, late of India.
Dolly is incompetent and not very bright but she’s pretty and white, qualities that Bald Bernie values highly. Unable to do her job, Dolly turns to Su Lin to do the job for her. A covert meeting in the Unit’s records facility turns up something neither woman expected: Bald Bernie’s dead body.