March 5, 2019
“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 series set in 1920s India, but the novel easily stands alone. I will read the first two books, that’s for sure! Well-written and intricately plotted against the backdrop of Calcutta, this was a very interesting read.
Sam Wyndham, veteran of WWI, is a police detective in the days of the British Raj, but a change is coming. During a raid on an opium den (Sam is not part of the raid, but a partaker) Sam discovers a dead man with odd injuries. Two more seemingly unrelated bodies turn up with the same ritualistic markings and Sam and his partner Surrender-Not struggle to put the pieces together. Meanwhile, Ghandi has inspired his people to peaceful protests against British rule, namely Surrender-Not’s uncle and aunt, who have become leaders in the resistance. The past and present, the social turmoil of the age, begin to play a part in the investigation and for me, this was when the story really got fascinating and hard to put down. Sam is a great character, fighting his memories as a soldier, his subsequent addiction to opium, and against the rules that sometimes bind him as a police detective. Far from perfect, but determined.
Thank you NetGalley and Pegasus Books!