A Rising Man

Written by Abir Mukherjee

Review written by Maureen Ellis

Maureen Ellis is a keen reader in the crime genre. She regularly posts on Goodreads.com


A Rising Man
Harvill-Secker
RRP: £12.99
Released: May 5 2016
HBK

A sumptuous feast of the sights and sounds of early 20th century Calcutta, are served up in this compelling and complex criminal investigation.

After surviving the horrors of the Great War, and the loss of his wife, Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, takes up a new post in Calcutta's police force. It's a fresh start for him, but life during the latter days of the British Raj are a world away from life in England.

He falls headlong into his role when a senior British Official turns up murdered in a filthy sewer in the wrong part of town. The murder takes the Captain from the stunning homes of the wealthy traders, to the less salubrious brothels, seedy opium dens and filthy alleyways of this troubled city.

Working alongside Captain Wyndham are British educated, Indian born, Sergeant 'Surrender Not' Bannerjee, and Inspector Digby. Bannerjee is a quiet thoughtful man of great moral integrity. Digby is an arrogant man who makes no secret of his contempt for the natives and in particular Sergeant Bannerjee. Tensions naturally run high and Sam Wyndham is caught between the two, but his great sense of humour and natural leadership win out and between the three of them, they manage to bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.

I loved the way the author's descriptions brought this time and place in history, very much to life. With rising political instability, and the days of British rule nearing its end, the tension is almost palpable, and adds extra flavour to this excellent investigation. Sam Wyndham and Bannerjee were wonderful characters - Digby of course was despicable, but without him in the mix, it wouldn't have played out the same.

All in all, a rich and powerful peek into a forgotten world, and in two words "very good".

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