Abir Mukherjee has created an amazing set of characters and stories. In this fifth installment of Wyndham and Banerjee mysteries, the pair must unravel a political conspiracy and clear Surendranath’s name. From the bent alleys of Calcutta to a jittery flight to Bombay, from the cigar-stained offices of Fort William to Malabar Hill bungalows, the two try to determine the truth.
Someone has murdered a popular Hindu priest and left it to look like its religiously motivated. In 1923, modernism is beating down the door of India’s traditions. Mahatma Gandhi has begun his anti-colonial work and is in prison for sedition. The Prince of Wales has recently left after the most disastrous royal tour of India ever. India is on the brink of massive change and everyone is waiting to see who will blink first.
The early mornings are the best time in any city in the tropics. The air has yet to broil, the citizens are still too sluggish to cause trouble, and there’s a certain translucent quality to the light that imbues everything with a hope-inducing freshness that generally lasts until one’s first interaction with another human being. ~Pg. 210
The narrative is told from both Banerjee and Wyndham’s perspectives through alternating chapters. Hearing more of Banerjee’s voice is highly enjoyable. And seeing their opposing views on the same aspects of the adventure highlight their individual idiosyncratic personalities. Although the mystery is interesting, it is really their characters that keep the reader turning the page.
Sam would have cautioned me against trusting her. He would have reminded me that I had a propensity for accepting the word of a woman without scrutiny. He would say it without irony too, forgetting the many, many occasions where he had believed a woman more on the strength of her perfume than of her statement. But Sam was not here and I did not believe that this woman was lying. ~Pg. 84
Despite the couple of thousand pages already dedicated to the pair of Calcutta policemen, dare I say I can’t wait to read more.
My thanks to Tim at Pegasus Books.
Publisher: Pegasus Crime; First Edition (November 11, 2021)