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About the book
  • Published: 14 May 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784704773
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99

A Necessary Evil

Sam Wyndham Book 2

Formats & editions

India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son


India, 1920. Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of Calcutta Police must investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharaja's son...

Sam Wyndham is visiting the kingdom of Sambalpore, home to diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun.

But when the Maharaja’s eldest son is assassinated, Wyndham realises that the realm is riven with conflict. Prince Adhir was unpopular with religious groups, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee endeavour to unravel the mystery, they become entangled in a dangerous world. They must find the murderer, before the murderer finds them.

Praise for the Sam Wyndham series:

‘An exceptional historical crime novel’ C.J. Sansom

‘A thought-provoking rollercoaster’ Ian Rankin

‘Confirms Abir Mukherjee as a rising star of historical crime fiction’
The Times
‘Cracking… A journey into the dark underbelly of the British Raj’ Daily Express

If you enjoyed A Necessary Evil, the third Sam Wyndham mystery, Smoke and Ashes, is available now.

  • Pub date: 14 May 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784704773
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Abir Mukherjee

Abir Mukherjee grew up in the west of Scotland. At the age of fifteen, his best friend made him read Gorky Park and he’s been a fan of crime fiction ever since. The child of immigrants from India, A Rising Man, his debut novel, was inspired by a desire to learn more about a crucial period in Anglo-Indian history that seems to have been almost forgotten. A Rising Man won the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition and became the first in a series starring Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee. It went on to win the CWA Historical Dagger and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award. Abir lives in London with his wife and two sons.

Also by Abir Mukherjee

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Praise for A Necessary Evil

“Even better than his first… What is most striking about Mukherjee’s novels is his infectious enjoyment of the human oddity of the British in India… Even better is his portrayal of the mix of opulence and spirituality that characterises Sambalpore under its sybaritic but benevolent maharaja… I can’t imagine anyone failing to enjoy it”

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

“A year ago I welcomed the arrival of Captain Sam Wyndham and his faithful Sergeant… and I am delight to report that his return is every bit as engaging”

Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail

“An exceptional historical crime novel.”

CJ Sansom

“A richly detailed period gem boasting the British Raj’s exotic setting and a gripping "whydunit" spun around an intriguing cast”

Christine Tran, Booklist

“A journey into the dark underbelly of the British Raj.”

Daily Express

“An intriguing and enjoyable crime novel”

Sarah Shaffi, Stylist

“A Rising Man is a whodunnit set in the social and political tinderbox of 1919 Calcutta – a thought-provoking rollercoaster.”

Ian Rankin

“Splendid...Captain Sam Wyndham is a winning creation.”

The Times, Crime Book of the Month

“Terrific...Mukherjee’s descriptions of Calcutta under the Raj are vivid, while Wyndham’s position as a newcomer with fresh eyes works brilliantly.”

Sunday Times, Crime Book of the Month

“Evocative, intricate, beautifully written. A must read.”

Vaseem Khan, author of the Inspector Chopra mysteries

“One of the most exciting debut novels I've read in years.”

Val McDermid on A RISING MAN

“A lip-smacking and highly entertaining mystery, set in a Calcutta so convincingly evoked that readers will find sweat bursting from their foreheads.”

Daily Telegraph

“This vivid murder mystery moves at breakneck speeds.”

Sunday Times

“An intoxicating debut… The most engaging detective since…James Runcie’s Grantchester series: utterly captivating.”

Daily Mail

“Richly satisfying, in character, sense of place and colour, this is a crime novel to revel in.”

Lin Anderson on A NECESSARY EVIL

“Abir Mukherjee has a flair for recreating a place and time... The heat, the dust, the different way of life, all come together in a cracking story.”


“Wyndham is an appealing character, reckless and self-aware by turns, and the contradictions of the Raj are beautifully evoked”

Joan Smith, Sunday Times

“He writes beautifully, bringing the colourful kingdom of Sambalpore to vivid life and taking the reader on a highly entertaining journey to unearth the dark secrets as its core, with unexpected twists on the way to a satisfying finale”

Jon Coates, Daily Express

“Another writer who shows how to inject unexpected warmth into credible stories of murder… Full of colour, wit and clever phrasing, this novel should be only the second in a long, long series”

N.J. Cooper, BookOxygen

“This second outing confirms Abir Mukherjee as a rising star of historical crime fiction”

Antonia Senior, The Times

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