A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham 2) by Abir Mukherjee
Vintage, Paperback, 384 pages
Published 15th March 2018
ISBN13: 978 1 784704773 (Paperback)
It is India, 1920 – an India which is changing but history is still ever present.
Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force are at the talks about the establishment of the Chamber of Princes – not for security but to meet the son of a Maharajah who was at school with Sergeant Banerjee.
They set off with him back to the Grand Hotel to discuss “a matter of delicacy” when Crown Prince Adhir is assassinated – they catch his murderer but the real question is who was behind the murderer.
Thus they set off to the fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore – home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun for the funeral. Here they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict as Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.
Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination but become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives.
Like its predecessor ( A Rising Man ) this is a well-researched book with Calcutta and India beautifully and atmospherically described.
The relationship between Sam and his Indian Sergeant is strengthening and they provide a complementary skill set to tackle the investigation of the crime.
This is, once again, both a very good historical novel and a very good thriller and the next book in the series is pre-ordered in Hardback.