Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Rising Man (Sam Wyndham, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Rising Man (Sam Wyndham, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Rising Man

(Sam Wyndham #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  6,424 ratings  ·  1,056 reviews
The winner of the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition

Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal wit
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Vintage Digital
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Rising Man, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Donald Literally on page 2 and the heat is discussed. Did you actually read this? Edit - obviously a troll account, no books, no activity, and the heat is me…moreLiterally on page 2 and the heat is discussed. Did you actually read this? Edit - obviously a troll account, no books, no activity, and the heat is mentioned repeatedly and I'm only on ch.4!(less)
Randhir Private establishments sometimes enforced very racist rules. This particular restaurant, where the lady went was also a place where government functio…morePrivate establishments sometimes enforced very racist rules. This particular restaurant, where the lady went was also a place where government functions were held. They obviously could not be selective(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,424 ratings  ·  1,056 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Rising Man (Sam Wyndham, #1)
I stood on the steps of the building, lit a cigarette and stared into the distance. The sun was now just a red disc off to the west and the temperature was dropping. That didn't mean it was comfortable, just less hot. By common consent, dusk was the best time of day out here, not that it lasted long. Night falls like a stone in the tropics. Broad daylight to darkness in less than an hour. I watched as a flock of birds flew overhead and landed on the pool at the centre of the square...

British Cap
This is a confident and assured debut by Abir Mukerjee with this historical thriller set in Calcutta, in the Raj era of India in 1919. Captain Sam Wyndham is a new arrival to the city, joining the Imperial Police Force, working with the resentful Digby, and the British educated Sergeant Banerjee, referred to as 'Surrender-not' because the British cannot pronounce his name. Wyndham is a weary and cynical man with a background in the police and Special Branch back in England, and having seen the f ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* Thank you to for my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

A sumptuous feast of the sights and sounds of early 20th century Calcutta, are served up in this compelling and complex criminal investigation.

After surviving the horrors of the Great War, and the loss of his wife, Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, takes up a new post in Calcutta's police force. It's a fresh start for him, but the latter days of the British Raj are a world away from life in E
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
MUST READ! What a delight. Thrilling!

Superb prose, great characters and dialogue, a flawed hero, amazing pacing and rhythm, and a delicious complex mystery of my favourite kind: The pieces are presented as the story develops, and you arrive at the solution along with the detective! Awesome!

And it's Mukherjee's first book! What a joy, and an amazingly satisfying historical experience as well, which bumps this book up to Five Stars.

(I’ve also read the second and third books in the Sam Wyndham se
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
An interesting debut, but one that suffers from unevenness in plot and characterisation.

Despite being touted as the wonder kid, it turns out that Sam Wyndham is actually a bit thick- he spends a good deal of time aggressively accusing everyone of murder save the one person who actually did it. They might share a taste for narcotics, but Sherlock Holmes he is not. The investigative technique is best imagined as him bouncing off walls until finally someone else tells him whodunit. With added shou
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
In 1919, Calcutta is a city teeming of humidity and discontent. Alexander MacAuley, a high ranking Indian Civil Servant, is found dead in an alleyway in Black Town with a note stuffed in his mouth warning the English to leave India. The Scotsman was a fixer for those in the government and a wealthy fellow Scotsman rubber and jute baron. The Bengalis seek to overthrow the English rule. Bengali terrorists are suspected. Newly arrived Captain Sam Wyndham is sent to investigate and faces obstacles b ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book.
It was a bit of a slow starter, but as soon as it picked up I really began to enjoy it. The Indian history was interesting and I got the feel of Calcutta, including the heat. Sam Wyndham is a very likeable character.
4.5 stars
This is the first entry in what promises to be an engaging series! I liked Sam as a protagonist and look forward to reading more about him in the following books. The star of this story, however, was not so much the character or even the mystery - which I have to admit, I guessed early on. It is the author's rendering of 1918 Calcutta. He built the atmosphere and set the scene so vividly and I was absorbed by the story largely because of this. Recommended for fans of historical fiction
Set amidst pre-independent Kolkata, rife with palpable racial, colonial and existential tensions this is a splendidly told murder mystery. Cleverly interwoven historical incidents with fictional characters gives this story a more atmospheric and realistic feel (something that I haven't come across in many Indian historical fictions and have been desperately missing, other than Amitav Ghosh's works tbh).
Most impressive was the extensive visual imagery of the places and locations that the author
Liz Barnsley
Historical Crime Fiction has to be bang on the money for me to love it as it is not my favourite genre to dive into, I like DNA and technology and all that jazz- well what can I say. A Rising Man IS bang on the money in every single way you can possibly think of. And then probably a few more too.

From the very start I was hook line and sinkered into this one – beautifully portraying a place and time, brilliantly authentic and multi layered characters and a real page turner of a murder mystery, A
K.J. Charles
This was a fascinating read--murder mystery set in Calcutta, 1919. The detail and atmosphere are outstanding, particularly the sequence after the Amritsar massacre, as the news spreads across India. Author doesn't hold back on the racism, both casual and vituperative, the cultural sneers, or the sexism of the time, so it's a powerful read. The moral corruption caused by the Raj is a major theme: showing how initially decent people slide into bigotry and how the system promotes it in them.

It's p
ARC review
[3.5] Historical crime debut, set in Calcutta in 1919. Has a few clunks, but it's better-written, and more intelligent about its setting, than the average first procedural, making it evident why the author won a competition for unpublished novelists. (It also helps that the infodumps are really interesting.) This could settle in nicely as a series in a book or two's time.

Sam Wyndham is a thirtysomething Scotland Yard detective and veteran of the trenches. After his wife dies in the 191
Book Riot Community
I love a great mystery. Add great characters that I want to read a whole series of and a setting as important as the main character and I’m in love. Set in 1919 British ruled Calcutta A Rising Man introduces us to Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard detective, who is tasked with solving the murder of a British official. He’s a bit out of his depth considering he’s in a new place, his opium addiction has traveled with him, and he does not understand the many rules/laws against Indians. Enter terr ...more

The vagaries of choosing what to read... I found out about this series from reviews of the second book, which apparently was being well received. Off I went to get the first title, and as it happens, I tore through the novel in two days.

Historical crime novels rely on making the setting real to the reader and Mukherjee makes a good job of it. Here we have Calcutta of 1919, sweltering, and full of corruption. Yes, there were quite a few 'telling’ sessions but I didn’t mind them since the atm
A new series for me set in 1919 India in the year where a few historical events took place which likely changed the course of British rule in India. Will the story touch on these events?

We start with a murder & introductions are made to the main players & it’s through Inspector Wyndham that we follow the course of the story. It’s an authentic sounding tale with the British treating the Indians as second-class citizens, servants/lackies for the most part whereas the Indians in turn treat the Brit
Roman Clodia
A bit too slow, a bit too uneven to warrant a higher rating: the narrator/protagonist is all over the place, sometimes buying into the white imperial view of 'natives', at other times offended on their behalf, and then again saying he has no interest in politics... simply not possible if one is a British policeman in 1919 colonial India.

At various points I found modernisms jarring: was 'terrorism' a term in 1919? Or 'casual racism'? Did people go on 'second dates'?

Sam Wyndham is a bit of a fool
Shirley Revill
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book it was totally brilliant. A very good story by a truly talented author.
Exceptional and very highly recommended.
Thank you to the author and Goodreads for this book it was very much appreciated.
This is one book that has found a permanent place on my bookshelf.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captain Sam Wyndham takes the offer of a job in Calcutta simply because he really has no idea what to do next. It is 1919 and, having left Scotland Yard to fight in the trenches, Wyndham returned to England to find his wife had died in the influenza outbreak. Now he has replaced warfare in Europe to India at a time of insurgency and insurrection. He owes his position to Lord Charles Taggart, Commissioner of Police and his subordinate, sub-inspector John Digby, is obviously resentful of being pas ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
From the very beginning with its wonderfully Chandler-esque opening line, “At least he was well dressed. Black tie, tux, the works. If you’re going to get yourself killed, you may as well look your best,” I was totally in the thrall of this book from start to finish. Not only is the writing whip smart and intuitive with a clever and engaging plot, but the depth of the historical research to so vividly portray the teeming life of this beautiful, yet socially and racially torn, outpost of the form ...more
Judith E
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, audible, india
An audible book taking place in post-WWI, British-occupied India. Detective Wyndham is a newly appointed detective in Calcutta and assigned to investigate the murder of a British government official. The racial prejudices and subjugation forced on the Indian population by the British is revealing. The mystery itself was unnecessarily long and slow.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am probably the most prolific crime fiction reader (reviewer) in India. And if not, then I certainly hold that title in Kolkata. So as the only award winning crime series set in my city, I should have sought out The Rising Man sooner. This is the best debut I have read since Tana French's In The Woods. It deservedly won the Historical Dagger and was also nominated in best novel category for both Edgar and Dagger awards losing to Bluebird, Bluebird and The Dry respectively. Having read all thre ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found A Rising Man to be a fun read. Plus the time and place was also of interest: India, 1919, under the British Raj. The descriptions of Calcutta were vivid (and I'm not hugely interested in long descriptive passages but Mukherjee's descriptions are just long enough to create an image--he is able to do so quickly and deftly). Mukherjee also gives interesting information about the history of Calcutta, a city I know nothing about other than a few stereotypical ideas and portrays the relationsh ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*4.5 stars rounded up.

The first book in the Sam Wyndham historical crime series set in Calcutta, India is remarkably good, perhaps even more so when you take into account that this is the author's debut novel.

It is 1919 and Captain Sam Wyndham, wounded WWI veteran, grieving widower and former Scotland Yard detective, has recently joined the Imperial Police, working with colleagues, Sub-Inspector Digby and Sergeant Banerjee. Learning to navigate this new environment is tricky, especially if one
Captain Sam Wyndham just arrived from Britain to serve as a detective in India. He’s a widower burdened with painful memories of fighting in WWI, and he’s hoping to lose himself in his new job and the new culture surrounding him (and, now and again, his opium addiction). He and his junior officer, Banerjee, are tasked with solving the murder of an English civil servant who was found dead next to a brothel. The case is tightly wound up with the politics of the time. Wyndham has a sufficiently dar ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific historical thriller set in India in 1919, this books offers a fascinating insight into British Empire rule in that country in the early part of the 20th Century. The story opens with the discovery of a murdered British civil servant in one of Calcutta's poorest neighbourhoods. A piece of paper stuffed in the dead man's mouth is a warning to the British to leave India.

Enter Captain Sam Wyndham - lately arrived from Britain and a new recruit to the Imperial Police Force - who is tasked
Alex Cantone
I sat back on the bed and, not for the first time, questioned what I was doing out here, in this country where the natives despised you and the climate drove you mad and the water could kill you. And not just the water, pretty much everything out here seemed designed to kill an Englishman: the food, the insects, the weather. It was as though India itself were reacting to our presence as one’s immune defences react to the invasion by a foreign body. Indeed, it was a wonder men like MacAuley survi ...more
It's 1919. Having narrowly survived the Great War, only to have lost his wife to the flu epidemic, Captain Sam Wyndham has arrived in Calcutta to take on a DI position in the Imperial Police Force. Shortly after his arrival an extremely delicate case lands in his lap - Alexander MacAuley, aide to the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, is found murdered in an alley beside a brothel in a part of the city where men like him don't normally go. What's more, a note containing an ominous warning is found s ...more
What a thrill it is to discover a new favorite author and series! A Rising Man takes place in 1919 Calcutta, India. The author has created a charming but flawed main character, Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard Detective. He's assisted by Sergeant "Surrender Not" Banerjee, a British educated Indian. A gritty historical mystery with great dialogue and a realistic look at this time in India's history. No spoilers but I think readers who enjoy the Sir Robert Carey series by Patricia Finney: ...more
Vishnu Chevli
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listen
Nice gripping tale of British era Calcutta. An ex- Scotland yard detective solving high profile murder case.

A medium paced story which gave me company during my traffic hours almost for 2 weeks
Jamie Collins
2.5 stars. This is a murder mystery set 100 years ago in Calcutta, at the beginning of the end of the British Raj. The Amritsar Massacre, where British troops fired into a crowd of civilians, is a part of the background of this story. The setting is very interesting, and the writing itself is quite good, but there’s something lacking in the characterizations which keeps this from being a satisfying novel. The book is almost more concerned with portraying the evils of the Raj than telling a compe ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: A Rising Man - 3 stars 1 11 Dec 17, 2020 03:30PM  
Play Book Tag: A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee 4 stars 1 7 Dec 13, 2020 11:54AM  
Play Book Tag: A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee - 4 stars 1 8 Nov 16, 2020 06:46PM  
Laurie R. King Vi...: This topic has been closed to new comments. A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee - VBC October 2019 35 40 Oct 30, 2019 07:16AM  
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Book connected to wrong author 6 38 Jul 13, 2017 12:37PM  
Play Book Tag: A Rising Man; 5 Stars 5 30 Jun 04, 2017 02:55PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Тени тевтонов
  • Honningkrukken (Fredric Drum, #1)
  • Midnight at Malabar House (Malabar House #1)
  • Fallvatten
  • The Satapur Moonstone (Perveen Mistry, #2)
  • Воспоминания
  • Power & Glory: The Thomas Wolsey Trilogy (The Tudor Court Book 5)
  • Dødens codex
  • Murder in Old Bombay
  • Sodas
  • Jegerdukken
  • The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)
  • The Widows of Malabar Hill (Perveen Mistry, #1)
  • The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation #1)
  • Риф
  • The Golden Scales (Makana, #1)
  • Tales With A Twist
  • Безлюдное место. Как ловят маньяков в России
See similar books…
Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Sam Wyndham series of crime novels set in Raj era India. His debut, A Rising Man, won the CWA Endeavour Dagger for best historical crime novel of 2017 and was shortlisted for the MWA Edgar for best novel. His second novel, A Necessary Evil, won the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick. His third novel, Smok ...more

Other books in the series

Sam Wyndham (5 books)
  • A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham, #2)
  • Smoke and Ashes (Sam Wyndham, #3)
  • Death in the East (Sam Wyndham, #4)
  • The Shadows of Men (Sam Wyndham, #5)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
55 likes · 14 comments
“Abominable business this MacAuley affair,’ said Peters to no one in particular. ‘Absolutely dreadful,’ tutted Mrs Tebbit. ‘It makes you wonder if any of us are safe in our beds.’ I could have pointed out that MacAuley hadn’t been murdered in his bed, but five miles away in an alley behind a whore house.” 0 likes
More quotes…