Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

For anyone who has ever dreamed about what the life of a maharaja might be like, Abir Mukherjee gives you a taste in his second Sam Wyndham novel, A Necessary Evil. The story is set in Calcutta 1920, and the Viceroy is courting the many princedoms of India requesting their support for the British regime. And as chance would have it, policeman Sam Wyndham and his trusty sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee are on the spot when a maharaja’s son is shot dead by a religious fanatic.

Sam travels to the tiny state of Sambalpore, outrageously wealthy from diamond mining, and becomes embroiled in the intrigue and politics that occur close to the throne, with one ailing maharaja and a playboy heir. When a nervous British accountant disappears, Sam and Surrender-not do some careful digging but who can they trust?

This series got off to a flying start with A Rising Man, and now we have another glimpse of India post WWI, with settings involving sumptuous palace interiors and elephant hunts. Sam’s two bête noirs - Annie Grant, who turns up for the funeral, and his opium habit - also get a look in and give Sam even more to worry about. He and Banerjee make a great team, and you know that eventually, but not before there’s been more bloodshed, the two will crack the case. A terrific read. Roll on book three.

Posted by JAM

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