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Publisher's Summary

India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah's son, in the sequel to A Rising Man

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines, and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant "Surrender-Not" Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a modernizer whose attitudes - and romantic relationships - may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother - now in line to the throne - appears to be a feckless playboy. 

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules - and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them....

©2018 Abir Mukherjee (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Necessary Evil

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Second best but very good

I was really looking forward to this second book by Mukherjee, I loved the first, crime detection set in colonial India, good suspense and lots of information/irony about the colonial setting. The first set up the unlikely but growing rapport between an ex-WWI Englishman and his younger Indian subordinate. This one does not keep up with the character development of the latter, a flaw for me, but again offers a rich historical setting with good suspense.

5 people found this helpful

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Great read, excellent narrator

So many mysteries seem to try to outdo each other with other with long descriptions of gore rather than good characters, atmosphere & plot. Abir Mukhergee tells a great tale with fun and a wonderful sleuth Sam Wyndham. His hero Philip Kerr would be proud.

2 people found this helpful

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What's not to like?

Maharajas, palaces, diamond mines, purdah, eunuchs, tiger hunts, concubines, execution by elephant: what's not to like? Book two in the Sam Wyndham series is a significant improvement over book 1 A Rising Man (reviewed earlier). If a Rising Man was a warm up exercise, A Necessary Evil is a much more readable (listenable) work. The characters are more comfortable, Sam's opium addiction makes a bit more sense, Surrendernot, Sam's Cambridge educated side kick, is more assertive. But the beautiful Anglo-Indian Annie Grant is even more elusive than in the first book. Continuing my infatuation with the British Raj we travel to a troubled principality following the assassination of the crown prince. His murder takes place right in front of Sam and Surrendernot so they have a vested interest in finding the motive for the killing. I've always felt that "setting" is one of the key elements in writing crime fiction. The story is set in Sambalpur, an actual district of India, but in the era of our story no longer actually ruled by a Maharajah. The fictional Maharajah is on his death bed, not surprising after his super human effort of fathering hundreds of children by hundreds of concubines. With his three actual wives his has three sons—a good one (assassinated), a bad one (in danger of assassination) and an infant. As it develops even though the wives and concubines are isolated in the harem they seem to know what is going on in the country and are key to unraveling the mystery. All that police procedural stuff is not as important to me as the setting which Mukherjee does a good job of describing. The tiger hunt, the execution, the evocation of the weather all make this a deeper, richer story. Much more entertaining that book one. Looking forward to book three.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding!!

Brilliant atmospheric mystery set in India. The second of a series (the first being A Rising Man) it’s a tale rich in historical detail and imagery of the 1920’s as well as being a complex mystery. It kept me guessing until almost the end. It’s a must-read, a great story, and the book I loved best in 2118. The unfortunate part is that the third in the series, Smoke and Ashes, is not available at Audible. It is, however, available (in audio) outside of the United States. I understand there is a fourth in the works as well, and I am hoping that the continuation of this series will become available at Audible in the U.S. sometime in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book

I enjoyed this book. But I miss the narrator of the earlier books in the series.