Assisted by Sergeant Digby, passed over for promotion and barely polite, as well as Cambridge educated Sergeant Banerjee, Sam is soon aware of an undercurrent of civil unrest. A note on the body suggests the murder is the work of terrorists trying destabilise British rule.
When a rail worker is killed during a train hold-up, a known terrorist gang is suspected and Sam finds himself working with military intelligence, who operate on a shoot first, ask questions later basis. It’s an uncomfortable relationship for someone who has seen too much unnecessary death in the trenches.
Mukherjee has recreated Calcutta under British rule, the heat, the grandiose architecture and the politics of the day. While it is suggested that the British may have had good intentions at one time, as one character says, ‘India makes hypocrites of us all’, and it is obvious that many in power put gain above public good.
While giving the reader pause for thought, the story still has plenty of action to keep you whizzing through the pages. Sam takes a bullet and gets beaten up more than once, earning both admiration and sympathy from potential love interest, MacAuley’s secretary Annie Grant.
A Rising Man is the first Sam Wyndham book, and it’s a nicely paced whodunit, well researched and peopled with terrific characters. Mukherjee’s second Sam Wyndham novel has been nominated for a Dagger award, which gives me hope that this is just the start of an unmissable series.
Posted by JAM
Catalogue link: A Rising Man