A Necessary Evil

This is the second book of three featuring the detective team of Wyndham and Banerjee. In the first book, which I have not read, Wyndham is just returned from the trenches of the Great War and is still struggling with those memories. He has joined the police force of British occupied India and quickly learns he can trust his Indian Sargeant, Banerjee.

A year later, 1920, he and Sargeant Banerjee are escorting the crown prince Adhir of the small independent kingdom of Sambalbore when the prince is shot dead in the open car. The British-Indian team ends up in the capital city of Sambalbore in an effort to unravel what becomes an even more complex case.

In this story, the Sambalbore diamond mines are central to understanding the cause of the crime. While diamonds are still discovered in the region, there has not been any active mining since the early nineteenth century. But that’s a minor detail. At the end of the story, we learn of the discovery of large deposits of coal. That is now the region’s major export.

In other words, Mukherjee stayed with the facts in this story, mostly.

I enjoyed reading this book. I have never wanted to visit India, but reading about it from a knowledgable source is great. You may notice that many books set in other countries are written by Americans or Brits. Having an Indian write about India was a nice change. And he did a good job. It is a good read.

Mike Lawrence

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