The winner of the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition.Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj.
A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India - or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues - arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID - embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city. The start of an atmospheric and enticing new historical crime series.
©2016 Abir Mukherjee (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
Happy, vegetarian, swimming, Spanish learning, walking, knitting, partnered man. Teacher and learner.
This was a great listen. Well written and fast moving....except for the heat of course. I felt as if I was in Calcutta, it was hot this week and so this added to the atmosphere. The Hougly river, Lalbazaar, now I want to visit India, although I probably never will. I really got excited about this story, the twists at the end, the fascinating interplay between the men. I liked it especially as it was written by a man with Indian ancestry, I wonder if this made a difference? I will never know. I am looking forward to following Surendrnot and Captain Wyndham to their next adventure. Jaldi jaldi as the good captain would say.
It is no surprise that this book has won an award; it is so much more than a crime novel, as it is set at the time of the movement for Indian independence from the British Raj and paints a clear picture of life in Calcutta in 1919.
Told from the perspective of Wyndham who is is something of an outsider, it provides observations on colonial attitudes and of the inevitable changes which would bear fruition in 1948..But, above all, it's a brilliant and intriguing story, narrated perfectly by Simon Bubb who seems to capture the essence of the character..Highly recommended
Glued to a story, but could also be knitting , unknitting, cooking, drawing cats or doing Chinese Calligraphy and learning a language or try
This is an excellent story of Calcutta and Empire at the end of WW1. Sam Wyndham has been brought in by the police chief to clean up the department. He is thrown into finding the killer of a high profile local civil servant almost as soon as he has landed and rapidly finds himself in deep trouble and complex political problems.
There are all sorts of strands to this story - empire, trade, business, race, nationalism and many more issues that make this a rich and interesting story. There is also some humour to amuse the listener and an excellent narrator.
I hope this is just the first as the characters could all be developed.
The narration is very good, the narrator is able to change voices in a subtle way that adds to the story. The knowledge of the author regarding the situation in India at the time is excellent, and real events are woven into the story seamlessly. One grows to like the main character, even though he has been damaged by his war experiences. Other characters are well written and challenge stereotypes.The story is gripping and reveals much about British Imperialism without shoving it down your throat as it were. Very good writing.
I think the title refers as much to the author as the central character.
I came across this via an Ian Rankin recommendation, and I guess, like most of us, that we are searching for the next thing to get excited about. Where do you go when you have run out of Rankin or Peter May?
As a debut, this is quite remarkable. The narration is too. A worthy investment of your time.
The novelist describes Calcutta life in the build up to the breakdown of life prior to independence. All nationalities, including Anglo-Indian are well integrated in the narrative.
The narrator was excellent with true Scottish and Irish accents which brought the characters to life. I would recommend this novel to any of my friends
An excellent story and very well read. I particularly enjoyed the Scots accents. The narrator does a wonderful job of capturing the listeners attention. Heartedly recommended.
Being an avid crime novel reader, I've always loved the classic Christie's, Sayer's, Allingham's etc - and this novel set in post first world war India is up there with the best of them.
This audio version is brilliant. A treat for crime fans everywhere.
Looking forward to the rest of this trilogy. Excellent historical crime novel set in India after WW1. What was so good was the view of the Raj from an Indian point of view. Well balanced but enough to keep one thinking of the politics and history on top of a well constructed crime story. As good as David Downing , Peter May or William Ryan at their best.
"Raj Revisited in fast-paced police procedural"
Fantastic characters, meticulous research, and a wealth of characters make this a terrific listen. I cannot wait for the next one! Abir Mukherjee also weaves in a great sense of humor to keep one smiling while the suspense builds. One of my best audiobook purchases ever.
"Don't Miss this Book and Performance"
I've been listening to one or two books a month for over a year and this book is the best of any of them. The story was fast paced and believable with enough twists to make it a great read. Simon Bubb is the best narrator I've heard so far. Can't wait for the next in the series.
"Compelling mystery in a rich setting"
Set in colonial Calcutta just after WWI, this is a very fertile setting for a creditably woven mystery. I found the detective character a little conveniently stupid for plotting purposes, but engaging nonetheless. I wouldn't say the actual mystery itself is all that surprising, but the setting and characters - especially the secondary characters - make up for it. If you like detective fiction in interesting and fresh historical settings, you'll really enjoy this.
Good detective story, taking place in India during the period of the Raj. The narration was a pleasure.
"Superb narration enhances first rate story"
I enjoyed A Rising Man, with its perspective on British India in 1919. I was amazed to discover that only slightly more than 100,000 Britians were able to control a country of 300 million Indians. So much history to tell. And the author does it well. Though, for me, the story was slow at times when characters lectured our detective (and the reader) in order to convey that history. I would have preferred that Wyndam had spent a bit more time in the street experiencing India. Hence my 4 stars for the story. I find that first person narratives are often a bit detached from the setting. I would recommend the book, however. The first person narrative issue is a personal one and shouldn't detract from an excellent book.
"Your Basic Murder Mystery, Fascinating Setting"
I really enjoyed this book. It would make a really good PBS mini-series. It's your basic murder mystery, but the time and place, and supporting characters is what makes this story shine. I do hope that Mr. Mukherjee writes another Wyndam/Banerjee book. It's nice to read a story about colonial India where the Indians are the true heroes.
"A wonderful new author and series"
The depth of characters and history.
Many twists and turns. So very well written.
I can't wait for the next book to be written.
"Good solid who dunnit and empire"
A well written tale that keeps one guessing till the end. Its not magnificently original but its solid and a lot of fun.
The main characters are nicely drawn and engaging. The pomposity of empire is adds a lightness with an undertone of skulduggery and class warfare.
I will certainly be reading the next adventure of Sam and Surrender Not
"Murder and the British Raj"
Sam Wyndham, veteran of WWI and former inspector with Scotland Yard, has been persuaded to move to Calcutta and work with the police there. He is still trying to find is footing in this strange new country when a white high-placed government employee is found murdered outside an Indian whorehouse.
This would have been an excellent mystery anyway, but I believe it is even more so because the author is a Brit from an Indian heritage who is able to give the reader insight into thinking and attitudes of both the British Raj and the Indians.
Simon Bubb is now of of my favorite readers, able to both distinguish the characters, and accurately handle multiple accents.
"A terribly excellent thriller, wot?"
I might. There are a lot of characters, and I did not manage to keep them all straight. Plus, the narration is great to listen to, and if you wait a year or two, you forget a lot about the book. The book is not just a good story, but it is also a terrific vista on Calcutta and the entire sub-continent. The government of the Brits, a tiny minority of people, over the gigantic population of India, is a fascinating story of Empire. How they managed to keep the Indians truly subordinate to their control is a fascinating thing. It is also no surprise that the great empire came crashing down, eventually, as the fact of it defies human nature in the extreme.
Sam Wyndham is the protagonist, and he is a finely drawn character. He investigates the murder of a white man, knowing that an Indian has been framed for the crime. He is a man dedicated to the truth, even though that turns out to be quite inconvenient for the British elite. A young woman, a "half-caste" named Annie, is also an interesting character, and there is a fine twist at the very end of the book concerning her. I will not spoil that for you. I liked them both, as well as the Indian Surindernot Banerjee (spelling?), who is entertaining and a complicated man who is right in the middle of the nexus between the Raj and the natives.
I enjoyed him quite a bit. Some British accents are hard on my ears (two countries divided by a common language, and all that), but Mr. Bubb gets it right, at least for me. He is pleasing to hear, and contributes a great deal to the whole. The book is a work of art, and should be enjoyed by readers of thrillers in addition to people who are interested in the very complex history of India. This is the way in which history should be taught in our schools, rather than the rote memorization of wars and all that. You can learn a great deal from a good story, even if you had no particular desire to study the topic at hand.
I can't play that game. I'm not good at capturing all the ideas in a novel with three or four words. The author does a great job himself.
I recommend this book to any reader who enjoys thrillers, as well as people who want to learn about the history of India in a most pleasant way. Now I must bugger off. Cheerio!
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