The Shadows of Men

by Abir Mukherjee

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Featured image for The Shadows of Men

I can’t fault this one. It’s another excellent entry in the series. I like that this series doesn’t have the thing going on that makes some mystery series feel like sitcoms - where nothing is allowed to change, where you know whatever decisions the characters make they are going to be reset by the end of the episode so that you can eventually watch/read all of them out of order without noticing that anyone has aged or changed. I’m probably being unfair on sitcoms (which aren’t really one of my specialist subjects) there, especially since even I can think of counter-examples without trying very hard! Anyway, what I mean is that this series feels like one you want to read in order as things just might change enough that one book out of order would spoil the others.

And I love that we get more than just Sam Wyndham in this book. His sergeant Surendranath Banerjee gets to narrate a lot of this book and it’s very much his story. Suren gets accused of murder and things get complicated fast! I really enjoyed the story and how it came together. The two handed narration keeps the suspense up and the plot moving at all times. I think it helped that I read most of the book by candlelight in a power cut which cut me off from all the distractions of the modern world and let me concentrate on 1920s Calcutta and Bombay. I wouldn’t exactly recommend having no power and no mobile signal but it’s great for getting on and reading and having little else useful that you can do. It was lovely to be absorbed in a book and not at all bothered about the power coming back. 

Great characters, evocative setting and a cracking plot. Well written to boot. Not sure I can ask much else of a book.