Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Abir Mukherjee, A RISING MAN
I enjoyed this debut mystery about a Scotland Yard inspector transferred to India in 1919 and asked to solve a murder. The depiction of Calcutta was very good, and I was rooting for the main character. I did have a few quibbles ... At times the phrases seemed anachronistic; perhaps I'm wrong, but "We'll have to abort" doesn't feel quite right for 1919 Calcutta. Captain Wyndham's backstory of the WWI trenches seems a bit too casually used; to me, the trauma of it seemed not to be deeply interwoven into his psyche; I would have liked to see more of a connection between his backstory and his present actions. There are two "teaching" characters in the book, who each explain to Wyndham (and the reader) what we need to know about the corruption in India and the unfairness of British rule in what amount to monologues; this felt a bit heavy-handed, although I found all the information interesting. And Wyndham's "eureka" moments were, for the most part, very sudden and a product of him ruminating, rather than immediately following a new discovery; he'd realize something and dash off, and I was still standing in the room thinking, hunh? But these are minor points. The Captain is engaging; his Indian sidekick is a charming foil; the politics complex; and the wry humor tucked in is welcome. I'd definitely try another.