Historical fiction, Mystery

Death in the East (Sam Wyndham #4) by Abir Mukherjee


This is the fourth in a series but the first that I have picked up. I rarely do such a thing because I like to have a solid foundation with the emotional investment required when it comes to the situations in a narrative. This time around, I made an exception because I saw a comment or two of helpful previous readers who indicated that it is not a problem to begin at this point, and I trusted the recommendation. It took me too long to get to the book, but I enjoyed the read when I finally got around to it!
The series is about a British Police detective in pre-independence India. By the time we meet him in this one, he has settled into his official role but struggles with addiction. The plotline was split into a parallel narrative in 1905, and it is only towards the end that I was satisfyingly informed of the connection between the two timelines. The emotional quotient of the book also felt authentic. Our lead protagonist was a white man who was not aggressively racist but saw only as much as was evident to him; this attitude changes slightly towards the end, and that too was well done. The background of the freedom struggle and the tough role of an Indian working with the British at such a time was also vividly discussed.
There are two mysteries in this story, and the solution of the first, as well as the beginning of the second, happen almost simultaneously. Although I enjoyed the location and descriptions of an anti-addiction ashram in Assam of 1922 (I once lived in the area, almost exactly 70 years from when the story is based when I was a small child and do not have many concrete memories but I was illogically pleased to be visiting the place in the book), I was a little impatient for the ‘real’ story to begin from all the hints that were being dropped. It is not an upbeat book with all the heavier discussions taking place, but it does not overshadow the actual story.
I would highly recommend this to historical fiction/mystery readers looking for a unique destination to visit.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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