The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee – Review.

About The Book

Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can officers of the Imperial Police Force, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath? 

Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this ‘unmissable’ (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to read all of the books in this series, I have only read the first, but this book was easily read as a standalone novel, and made me more determined to read the books that I haven’t had the time to read.

The novel is dual narrative with both Sam and Suren revealing the predicament they face. It is evident immediately to the reader the danger that Suren faces,in many ways before he does. His accusers are British, he is Indian and despite him being a police officer he is in danger of going to the gallows. Regardless of the fact that he is innocent. The more you read Suren’s account, you see how betrayed he feels by the system and by his colleagues who just assume he is guilty because of his religion.

With Sam, you see the determination to prove that Suren is innocent, the frustration at some of the decisions made and his increasing reliance on some brilliant female characters. 

Because I haven’t read all of this series it was a joy to see Sam without his opium addiction. I could see him as an officer who was coping without the need for the drug and the guilt at needing it. Part of his story is upsetting, his memories of his war experience, but I also got a lot of enjoyment out of his cynicism and frustration when things didn’t entirely go got plan. 

This novel shows how powerful a tool manipulation is. And how even though it takes place a 100 years ago it could just as easily happen today. There were times I felt chilled at the danger innocent people faced for being duped by those who had power and the means. 

But it also showed a fascinating country with some wonderful characters. There were so many who made an impression on me, many of whom were probably invisible to the ones who had authority or a better life. 

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