- Book: Death in the East
- Location: Assam, Kolkata (Calcutta), London
- Author: Abir Mukherjee
This is the fourth in the Sam Wyndham series and can be read as a stand alone.
1922. It is now time that Sam Wyndham goes to an ashram to shake his addiction to opium. it is certainly a gruelling and deeply unpleasant process but really he has no choice. His continued habit would soon affect his sleuthing. Narcotic abuse is a capricious master and he has to commit to a regime of vomiting, sweats and potions until he emerges from this hellish period, as a hopefully cleansed and reformed man.
This is a dual timeline novel and much of the early part of the novel is also set in 1905 in the East of London. The death of a woman – with whom Wyndham had been romantically involved – proves to be a more complex affair than at first mooted. Suspicion settles on a Jewish man but of course things are not as they seem.
The two stories run alongside each other and murder in India tests Wyndham’s investigative skills.
As always with Abir Mukherjee’s novels, there is delightful detail that really transports the reader back in time and place. Many people will be aghast at the casual racism of the era but that was, I am sure, how it was. The feel of London with its fog and street creeping people, and India, with its heat and colour, come to vibrant life in the hands of the author.
Part of the book is set in Jatinga, Assam and the novel opens as birds fly to their deaths. Over the last 100 years, thousands of birds have flown to their death over a small strip of land in Jatinga, India. In a town of only 2,500 people, this bizarre Bermuda Triangle of fowl death remains largely unexplained, despite studies by India’s most prestigious ornithologists. Read more about this very odd phenomenon on this link. Learning about curious events like this are all part of the wonders of literary wanderlust. Enjoy.