cover image Death in the East

Death in the East

Abir Mukherjee. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-64313-468-0

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)