Cover image for Death in the east : A novel
Death in the east : A novel
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
Physical Description:
417 pages ; 21 cm
Calcutta police detective Captain Sam Wyndham and his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-Not Banerjee, are back for another exotic adventure set in 1920s India.


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Calcutta police detective Captain Sam Wyndham and his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-Not Banerjee, are back for another exotic adventure set in 1920s India.

1905, London. As a young constable, Sam Wyndham is on his usual East London beat when he comes across an old flame, Bessie Drummond, attacked in the streets. The next day, when Bessie is found brutally beaten in her own room, locked from the inside, Wyndham promises to get to the bottom of her murder. But the case will cost the young constable more than he ever imagined.

1922, India. Leaving Calcutta, Captain Sam Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, to the ashram of a sainted monk where he hopes to conquer his opium addiction. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London--a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again. Wyndham knows he must call his friend and colleague Sergeant Banerjee for help. He is certain this figure from his past isn't here by coincidence. He is here for revenge . . .

Author Notes

Abir Mukherjee is the Edgar Allan Poe Award-nominated author of A Rising Man , which was the first in his Captain Sam Wyndham mystery series, which followed with A Necessary Evil and Smoke and Ashes , also available from Pegasus.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Edgar finalist Mukherjee's excellent fourth mystery featuring Capt. Sam Wyndham and Sgt. Surendranath "Surrender-not" Bannerjee of the Calcutta CID (after 2019's Smoke and Ashes) deepens the relationship between his two leads and adds detail to Wyndham's complicated past, all while toggling between two mysteries. In 1922, Wyndham goes to an ashram in Jatinga, Assam, where he hopes to be cured of his opium addiction, a struggle complicated by his belief that he's seen a dead man, someone who tried to kill him almost 20 years earlier. Flashbacks to 1905 Whitechapel gradually fill in that tantalizing backstory, as Wyndham, then a young police constable, investigates the murder of 20-year-old Bessie Drummond, whom he once courted, after she's found in a locked room with her skull bashed in. The case of Bessie's murder and the mystery Wyndham encounters in Assam are both cleverly plotted, and they're matched by Mukherjee's depiction of Bannerjee's growing assertiveness as the movement for his country's independence grows and of the almost palpable torment experienced by an addict desperate to get clean. The sky seems to be the limit for this extraordinarily talented author. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.). (May)

Kirkus Review

The reappearance of an unwelcome figure from his past in 1922 India leads Capt. Sam Wyndham to an impossible case of murder. Finally acknowledging his addiction to opium, Wyndham journeys to a remote ashram to take the cure. As he approaches his destination, he spots a man who tried to kill him 17 years ago, when he was a freshly minted constable in Whitechapel. Two days after Bessie Drummond, a housekeeper who'd stepped out with Wyndham before his superior pressed him to drop her and she instantly made an unsuitable marriage, was attacked in an East London street, she was beaten to death in her own room, which was locked from the inside. Wyndham's own investigations, and his devil's bargain with a pair of crime lords from Yorkshire, led the police to a suspect who swore he was innocent. Struck by his sincerity, Wyndham raced to pursue new leads, but all in vain. Now the man he's convinced actually killed Bessie has turned up in the most unlikely place, and there's every sign that he's recognized Wyndham. The disappearance and death of one of his fellow residents at the ashram is only a prelude to a second fresh murder--an unholy echo of Bessie Drummond's death in another locked room, with the added complication that the obvious manner of death seems to have been physically impossible. Mukherjee juggles his two time frames effortlessly, brings both the East End and upcountry India to vivid life, wittily places his hero under the thumb of his own sergeant, and supplies an improbably logical conclusion to Wyndham's most baffling case to date. Every time you think you know where he's going, Mukherjee pulls the rug out from under you with pleasingly insolent ease. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Determined to kick the opium addiction that threatens his career with the police in India during the Raj, Captain Sam Wyndham heads from Calcutta to a remote ashram to undergo Devrahi Swami's renowned addiction cure. As he endures opium sweats in a far-flung train station, Wyndham suddenly glimpses Jeremy Caine, his nemesis, whom Wyndham thought he'd left behind in England. When Wyndham was a young constable with the Met, 20 years earlier, his first love, Bessie, was murdered. Unsettled by his own role in helping scapegoat Bessie's Jewish neighbor, Wyndham launched an unauthorized investigation and discovered evidence implicating wealthy businessman Caine, who disappeared shortly before he would have been arrested. Did Wyndham really just see Caine in India, or was the sighting an opium-induced hallucination? To help him find out, Wyndham summons his friend and colleague Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee. The subsequent investigation and another murder put Wyndham's friendship with Banerjee in jeopardy and force the Englishman to examine his own enduring prejudices. This clever tale of interwoven locked-room mysteries may be the best yet in a series that boasts gifted storytelling and full-sensory, Raj-era details.