My Review (5 stars out of 5)
Calcutta, 1919. After the horrors of war and the death of his wife, Captain Sam Wyndham is keen to make a new start. Joining Calcutta’s police force seems like the perfect solution, as it offers a location and position that couldn’t be more different from his recent experiences. Called to the scene of a murder, Sam discovers what appears to be a case of a random attack. However, he soon finds himself and his sergeant – Surrender-not – thrown into a web of intrigue that only grows wider with every new piece of information. With a political situation that could easily get out of control, Sam is ordered to tie up the case quickly. But as he continues to investigate, each new clue seems to drag Sam’s career towards the gutter. Can he unmask the perpetrator before Sam’s own life becomes too much of a threat to the killer?
This is book 1 in the Wyndham and Banerjee series and the first book I’ve read by this author. From the outset, the level of detail paints a vivid picture of India in the years following World War One, with characters and descriptions that recreate the period perfectly, bringing it to life with a vibrancy that positively leaps off the page. Having said that, there isn’t so much detail that it detracts from the story (some authors pile in as many facts as possible instead of only adding enough to make it realistic). The author’s use of language, especially in his dialogue, is mostly authentic and the developing relationship between Sam and Banerjee is a sheer delight.
The murder-mystery underlying the plot is a clever one and kept me guessing about who might be behind the various shenanigans. I also like the way Sam isn’t infallible and makes lots of mistakes before he finally puts all the pieces of the mystery together. My only quibble – and it’s a small one – is the author’s use of the word ‘teenage’ which wasn’t used until the 1940s.
An exciting and realistic mystery. I’ll be reading more in this series soon.