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Publisher's Summary

Captain Sam Wyndham and his sidekick Surrender-Not Banerjee return in this prize-winning historical crime series set in 1920s Calcutta. 

India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of World War I, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force. 

When Sam is summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned at the sight of the body: he’s seen this before. Last night, in a drug-addled haze, he stumbled across a corpse with the same ritualistic injuries. It seems like there’s a deranged killer on the loose. Unfortunately for Sam, the corpse was in an opium den - and revealing his presence there could cost him his career. 

With the aid of his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-Not Banerjee, Sam must try to solve the two murders, all the while keeping his personal demons secret, before somebody else turns up dead.

©2018 Abir Mukherjee (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: Best Mystery Series—Listens That'll Take You Right to the Crime Scene


While a standalone mystery is great when you're in the mood for a one-and-done, sometimes you want to feed your craving with an entire mystery series—knowing there's a world and characters you can keep coming back to for the satisfaction of solving crimes. With audiobooks, you get the added bonus of sinking deeper into the setting, clues, and suspects as the story is performed for you, so you'll feel like you're alongside detectives, ready to bust a case.

What listeners say about Smoke and Ashes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great story ruined by poor narration

Having finished the first two of Abir Mukherjee’s novels on Audible, I looked forward to the third in the series and was sorely disappointed. The narrator seems to not understand the character whom he is playing and misses all the subtlety of the humor that is sprinkled throughout the text. It is not a reader who needed, but an actor who portrays each character as an individual and who can mimic the correct accent for each.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Strongly preferred narrator from books 1 & 2

This narrator is not bad by any means but the narrator from the first two books in the series did much better at making Sam likable and bringing across his sense of humor. Without that, Sam just comes off as a one dimensional snob. Still a good book though.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Need the narrator for the first book

Books are great but narrator of first book WAS the voice of Wyndham. The upper crust accent of this narrator just does not work.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Malk Williams set the bar.

After listening to Malk narrate the first two books TO PERFECTION, I just can’t get my head around Simon’s reading. Malk William’s accents were perfect. His inflections caught the humor of the author exactly as I feel he intended. The tone of cynicism combined with hopefulness of the main character was well conveyed. Please, if Audible gives us more of this series, let Malk Williams narrate.

5 people found this helpful

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Gripping mystery

I did myself a big favor and waited a few months before listening to the new narrator. I remember the original as creating a wonderful character voice, but by taking time off from the series I was able to enjoy the new narrator just as much. The plot is absolutely riveting and I enjoyed the book all the way to the last page.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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going downhill

The first book was good, with a new, postcolonial perspective on British arrogance in India. But now it’s going for a formula, with a highly unlikely, action movie ending that plays out just like the previous episode. Forgettable, under-developed characters and zero intrigue.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 05-25-21

Pursuit of the truth

Sam continues to pursue justice and the truth. Enjoyable series. Different narrator but still good.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

I have thoroughly enjoyed all 3 books! This one kept me guessing until the very end. The author does an excellent job describing what life was like in India in this time period and has developed wonderful characters to follow. The narrator is excellent and the listening experience so enjoyable I hated for the story to end! I can’t wait for Sam’s next adventure!!

1 person found this helpful

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Christmas 1921

Excellent. Starts a bit slower than the previous 2 books in the series, but picks up steam and gravitas as it goes. A fine effort, in some ways a better and more mature story than the earlier ones too. Different narrator, but in practice just as good as the much liked earlier one. Overall great series.

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Another great installment but the reader is mediocre

This is the third book in the series. The first book was read by a fantastic reader who really captured the wry humor and self amused melancholy of the principle detective as well as giving more character to his trusty sidekick. This reader is not awful but brings nothing to it. His flat pacing misses the nuance and his range of Indian voices is weak making them all too close and his women just sound like men both in vocal range and inflection. It's a quotidian reading but not a performance. I don't think I'd even like these stories as much as I do if i had not heard the brilliantly read first novel and vested in the feeling of the characters and of India itself. I wish they would return to the first reader for subsequent novels if there are

The story in this one is chronologically moving the setting street of Indian independence forward and this one makes that story not just part of the plot but has the principles actually causing some of that history by their actions.