An excellent mystery novel set in an unique locale, with three dimensional characters (revealing warts and all), and a mystery with lots of clues and suspects (all with various reasons to have done the deed). The writing is crisp, and the narrative moves forward at a good pace but with enough false leads and misdirected investigations to keep the question of "who done it" in question. The author has DCI Sam Wyndham (formerly of Scotland Yard) solve the murder but leaves many ambiguous plot lines to fill several more books. I am already looking forward to the next books.... Recommended read for those who enjoy a good mystery with interesting characters set in an exotic locale.
Really enjoying this first in a series of mysteries set in pre-independence Calcutta. The characters are engaging, the narrative moves along nicely, and the writing is fine. I especially value what I’m learning about colonial India. Highly recommended.
What an impressive start to a series. Set in British India in 1919, the flavour of the historical background is exactly right. Sam Wyndham , an ex Detective from Scotland Yard is newly arrived for a new start in Calcutta to recover from his war experiences and a devastating personal loss. The pace never lets up. Abir Mukherjee's writing style shows his understanding of human nature with dry wit and humour. The deft twists and turns as the murder mystery unfolded had me turning the pages, totally absorbed right to the end.I can't wait for his second book.'A Necessary Evil' to see if he can sustain the momentum.
Absolutely fantastic start to a series. A rich setting and complex characters. If you're a fan of historical mysteries, this is a series to watch.
The first in a new series of murder mysteries set in the final decades of the British Raj in India (this book is set in 1919). Captain Sam Wyndham, feeling a sense of loss from his war experiences and the death of his wife, takes a position with the Imperial Police Force in India as something of a fresh start. As soon as he arrives however he finds himself investigating a murder with enormous political implications while trying to get accustomed to a world that is quite foreign to him.
The historical setting is quite vividly brought to life and gives some sense of the growing political turbulence of the era while the mystery is intriguing and at times almost plays out as a thriller, both in terms of its stakes and pacing. As for the characterization, both Wyndham and "Surrender-Not" Banerjee are striking and complex creations and it is clear that each will have room to grow as the series continues.
A refreshing new series. The historical, political and racial issues provide an excellent backdrop to the suspense and action. Look forward to the sequel with hope that the standard will be maintained.
Loved the beginning of this book and it's sense of place and politics, but after 135 pages
It seemed to get stuck. Tired of hearing about the heat and the plot seemed to stall. Returned it.
A wonderful debut novel that works on many levels. A fine police procedural, well written, with great characters. What makes it particularly engaging is the time and place, i.e. Calcutta right after the end of the Great War. Terrorism and the struggle for independence from colonial shackles are nothing new. Lots of secrets, lots of vested interests at play here. Bravo!
I usually don't read detective fiction like this. Maybe a one off mystery or so but it's rare that I feel invested enough to go through the often formulaic "english policeman" genre.
Apparently all it takes is for it be a bit self aware of itself and to be moved to India. And to actually engage with its own time period. There be racism and colonialism abound but it is not sugarcoated or unexamined.
Sam Wyndham is a Great War veteran, an ex-Scotland Yard officer, and a widower. He takes a job working as a a policeman in Calcutta and on his first day there is, of course, a rather prominent murder.
There is a great deal of politics going on her. Racial (one of Sam's sergeants is Banderjee, whose first name no one has bothered to properly learn), interdepartmental, and a whole lot of cloak and dagger between different people in different industries. It's a really rich world and it's not something I've seen done before.
It was a really spellbinding read and I hope there's going to be another one.
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