cover image A Necessary Evil

A Necessary Evil

Abir Mukherjee. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68177-671-2

Set in 1920, Mukherjee’s impressive sequel to 2017’s A Rising Man finds Capt. Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard officer, and his astute sidekick, Sgt. “Surrender-Not” Banerjee of the Bengal Police, transporting Crown Prince Adhir Singh Sai, of the small kingdom of Sambalpore, back to the prince’s Calcutta hotel after a conference. The royal, who attended boarding school with Surrender-Not, wants his advice about notes that were left for him in his rooms. But before he can discuss their contents, a religious procession forces their car to take a detour, placing them in the path of an assassin who fatally shoots the prince. Sam and Surrender-Not’s failure to apprehend the killer only makes things worse, and, though they eventually track the man down, he takes his own life, leaving the investigators still in the dark about his motives. The road to the truth takes them to Sambalpore, a hive of intrigue and suspects. This successful evocation of the Raj in the service of a brilliant whodunit demonstrates that Mukherjee’s debut was no fluke. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.). (Apr.)