Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can officers of the Imperial Police Force, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath?
Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this ‘unmissable’ (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?
‘An engaging, evocative thriller that captures the heat of Indian nights and heady days of a bygone era, without being sentimental or simplistic’ Janice Hallett, bestselling author of The Appeal
‘The Shadows of Menfinds the always reliable Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Award-winner Abir Mukherjee on fine form‘ Financial Times
When Abir Mukherjee’s latest book arrived from the Postman, I spent 10 minutes jumping around the lounge in joy! I have been hooked on the wonderful adventures of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surrendranath Banerjee from reading the first book in the series, A Rising Man (see an earlier blog post).
We are now in 1923 Calcutta, and times are changing for the British Rulers, there’s an undercurrent of the uprising and amongst this, we find Suren in dire straits! I’m not going to give away the plot, but suffice to say that the book revolves around this event and the chaps trying to stop an all-out Religious war! Which affects Suren, Sam and all the usual characters who readers will know, the gorgeous and daring Miss Annie Grant and Lord Taggart among them.
I have read a lot of books in my life, but never have I read such a brilliant (that word isn’t really enough for how I feel!) series of books, that have taught me SO much about a historical period, as these books do. In The Shadows Of Men, Abir’s talent at taking the reader right there, right into the time, right into the fray, to feel what it must have been like and almost to experience it, is just frankly amazing and beyond my comprehension of how he can write like HE was there! I have always been fascinated with India, and wish I could have travelled there, the books take you there, you can smell the smells, taste the food, feel the oppressive heat or the steaming rain, Abir’s writing is poetic at times in describing the settings of 1920’s India. And to be able to write, with authority on the different faiths, and their peculiarities with such knowledge makes Abir, a once in lifetime Author, that rare mix of talent of a fantastic storyteller and a knowledgable historian.
However it’s not all seriousness, there are laughs, mixed in, Sam’s traditional British black humour to note! And I loved the introduction of another new Character, Miss Ooravis Colah, a fantastic and I’m sure ahead of her time woman.
In summing up, I must say that The Shadows Of Men is Abir’s best work so far, and to be fair, that’s high praise as the other 4 books were bloody amazing! As always I love the relationship between Sam and Suren and in this book we see their relationship start to shift, because of events and because of the times, but we are left with a cliffhanger that means that book 6 will undoubtedly move us into a different phase of their lives. I cannot wait… let’s hope Abir is writing away furiously now!! Thank you for your sublime talent Sir!
About Abir Mukherjee
Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in Raj-era India which have sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 15 languages. His books have won numerous awards including the CWA Dagger for best Historical Novel, the Prix du Polar Européen, the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and the Amazon Publishing Readers Award for E-book for the Year.
Alongside fellow author, Vaseem Khan, he also hosts the popular Red Hot Chilli Writers podcast, where every fortnight, joined by special guests from the media and literature, he takes a wry look at the world of books, writing, and the creative arts, tackling everything from bestsellers to pop culture.