Recently Read | Death in the East by Abir Muhkerjee
I need to admit that I cannot be subtle or shy about this series- I flat out love it!
I started the Captain Sam Wyndham series earlier this year and was instantly enamored. I have frequently talked about my love of historical fiction, but how so often the genre is rife with longings for a past built on (while ignoring) enslavement, exploitation, and white supremacy. Because of this minefield of trash content, I am always on the lookout for a series that sees colonialism, addresses and confronts it in nuanced ways. This series does that and more!
If you haven't yet read the series, here is a brief synopsis:
starting in the first book, A Rising Man, Captain Sam Wyndham is a former Scotland Yard Detective who has arrived in Calcutta. His wife has died, he is still feeling traumatized by what he saw and did in The Great War, and he is desperate for a new life. He is thrust into politics and murder investigations with a fascinating second in command, an Indian from a prominent family named Sargent Banerjee. The Sargent is routinely undervalued, made to fulfill manual and straightforward tasks, while also being called by a name that is not his own because the white co-workers can't be bothered to learn it. Through his investigations, Sam sees British power as it is on a precipice, with Indian self-rule on the horizon. He also observes the interpersonal caste, race, and nationality issues with his new friendships and his working relationships at the Police Department.
This is the 4th book in the series and has our protagonist finally faces his own addiction demons. He agrees to be shipped off to a Hindi ashram to undergo radical treatment for his addiction to opium. And while there, he thinks he sees someone from his past that causes him to question his past, question his cognitive ability during a period of detoxification, while worried that he could be slipping into paranoid thinking.
What I loved about this installment was the decision by the author to give the story space to learn more about how Sam started his career, his earlier days in London before The Great War, and mistakes he made as he was growing. The two timelines worked incredibly well together, merging to a climactic conclusion where he makes a monumental moral decision that could have seemed out of character without the context.
I also loved seeing that the time away from his subordinate, roommate, and friend Sargent Banerjee has given both of them distance and time to come to some self-discoveries. I look forward to seeing what that portent for their ongoing relationship- both personally and professionally.
I am delighted to have the ARC for the next in the series: The Shadows of Men from Pegasus Crime. I cannot wait to see what happens next.