Abir Mukherjee’s A Rising Man won the The Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition in 2014.
The novel, Mukherjee’s debut, is due to be published by Vintage in 2016.
Calcutta 1919. When a senior British official is found murdered in an alley with a note warning the British to quit India, stuffed in his mouth, Captain Sam Wyndham, a veteran of the Great War and ex-Scotland Yard detective, is ordered to investigate. Weakened by the Great War and assailed by increasing demands from the natives for Home Rule, the British Raj is increasingly beleaguered and demands fast answers to the crime. Scarred by his wartime experience, Wyndham has sought a fresh start away from England and accepted the post with the Imperial Police Force in Calcutta. His investigations into the murder lead him on a journey into the dark underbelly of the Raj. Sent to assist Wyndham is Surendranath ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee, a young, idealistic and brilliant Indian detective, suffering his very own crisis of loyalty. He embodies the conflict felt by many educated Indians at the time, torn between their belief in British justice and the repression of their own people by the Empire. Treading a fine line between doing their duty and maintaining their own moral integrity, Wydham and Banerjee’s investigations into the murder lead them on a journey of political intrigue into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. This will be the first in a series of Wyndham and Banerjee novels covering the period between 1919 and Indian independence.
“A joy to read” Susan Hill
‘Its confident, assured opening, set in India in 1919, deals with the aftermath of a brutal murder of a British burra sahib in the backstreets of Calcutta. Was the killing politically motivated by the Quit India movement? Capt Sam Wyndham of the Imperial Police Force, a former Scotland Yard detective scarred by the Great War, is asked to investigate. Described as “a good man upholding a corrupt system”, Wyndham is assisted by the equally conflicted Sgt Bannerjee, who is torn between his belief in British justice and the Empire’s repression of his own people.’ – Telegraph
‘I was delighted by the high standard shown in the entries we received for the competition, but A Rising Man was a very worthy winner. Abir’s opening chapters are beautifully written, atmospheric and intelligent, with a great setting and a wonderfully wry sense of humour throughout’ – senior crime editor Alison Hennessey, Harvill Secker judge