My #Review of #TheShadowsOfMen by @radiomukhers @HarvillSecker

When Abir Mukherjee’s latest book arrived from the Postman, I spent 10 minutes jumping around the lounge in joy!

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.

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My Review of Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

Captain Sam Wyndham and his sidekick Surrender-Not Banerjee return in this prize-winning historical crime series set in 1920s Calcutta.

India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of World War I, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force.

When Sam is summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned at the sight of the body: he’s seen this before. Last night, in a drug addled haze, he stumbled across a corpse with the same ritualistic injuries. It seems like there’s a deranged killer on the loose. Unfortunately for Sam, the corpse was in an opium den—and revealing his presence there could cost him his career.

With the aid of his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-Not Banerjee, Sam must try to solve the two murders, all the while keeping his personal demons secret, before somebody else turns up dead.

This is the third in the Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Suren ‘Surrender-not’ Bannerjee books, and so far it’s my favourite!

The story starts out with an action packed chase over the rooftops of Calcutta, involving Wyndham, a badly mutilated body and a raid on an Opium Den! It’s the best opening sequence so far in the series, Abir Mukherjee is the master of setting the scene, his detailed and descriptive prose pulls the reader in, and in Smoke and Ashes, never lets you go!

I’ve really only started to read Historical Crime Thrillers this year and I am SO glad I was recommended this series. It is now without a doubt one of my favourites. The characters of both Wyndham and Bannerjee are now fully rounded, and what started as a British Captain and an Indian Sergeant, working at arms length, has progressed to a great friendship, and with the narrative impeccably written surrounding them, the setting of Calcutta in the 1920’s, the fight for Indian Independance and the diminishing days of British Rule, Smoke and Ashes is chock full of thrills, Political Intrigue, Indian History and Wyndham’s personal struggles from fighting in the trenches of WW1.

There’s some hilarious moments that can now be enjoyed between Sam Wyndham and the ever quick witted Suren Bannerjee, and it’s easy to see that the author loves these two men, as much as I do.

As usual no spoilers here, but suffice to say, if you like Thrills interspersed with Indian History (and plots BASED around Indian History) and fantastic writing that makes you feel like you are actually there, in India, in the 1920’s, then look no further than Abir Mukherjee’s outstanding series of books.

I really couldn’t put this one down, the best so far. I am straight onto Book 4, Death In The East!

A 5 Star Read ( if I could give Smoke and Ashes 50 stars it wouldn’t be enough!)

Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Sam Wyndham series of crime novels set in Raj era India. His debut, A Rising Man, won the CWA Endeavour Dagger for best historical crime novel of 2017 and was shortlisted for the MWA Edgar for best novel. His second novel, A Necessary Evil, won the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick. His third novel, Smoke and Ashes, was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 Best Crime & Thriller Novels since 1945. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in London with his wife and two sons.

You can find Abir Mukherjee’s website here