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Smoke and Ashes

(Sam Wyndham #3)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,758 ratings  ·  271 reviews
India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of the Great War, 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 th
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 7th 2018 by Harvill Secker
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  1,758 ratings  ·  271 reviews

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Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous, great series this is. I'm totally hooked, can't wait for the 4th book. Understand it's in preparation... More to follow... but already... Absolutely & Highly Recommended! Top quality crime & culture series.

This is a series about Captain Sam Wyndham, working at the Calcutta police force, fighting his personal battles and a serious opium addiction. His sidekick is Indian sergeant 'Surrender-not Banerjee, who got this name as his original name is hard to pronounce. The series is t
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third in the Captain Sam Wyndham series set in December 1921 in the run up to Christmas where there is little cheer for the British and the Raj in India. The British strategies to contain the mass movement for independence are failing, Mahatma Gandhi has managed to bring on board the ordinary Indians to protest in non-violent protests across the country. To their further dismay, Gandhi has co-opted the Muslims in the struggle, destroying the usual British plans to divide and rule in ...more
Whispering Stories
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed on

“It’s not unusual to find a corpse in a funeral parlour it’s just rare for them to walk in the door under their own steam. It was a riddle worth savouring , but I didn’t have the time, seeing as I was running for my life” ……….

These are the opening lines of Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee, who could not resist reading more! I certainly was captured and drawn in straight away.

This book is set in Calcutta in December 1921, written in the first person of C
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Extraordinary, assured, delightful, fascinating, enlightening, and my favourite: the Detective as Philosopher. A masterpiece, Abir. Truly wonderful! Thank you for the advanced reader copy.

A truly fabulous evening with masters Robert Crais, Joseph Knox and Abir Mukherjee at Waterstones in Staines -

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As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.

Two and a half years since "A Rising Man", as this book opens, we fin
Liz Barnsley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love this series.

I’m not a fan of historical crime for the most part – that is to say it is not my go to genre – but I made an exception once for “A Rising Man” and haven’t looked back since. When I read these novels it is always the characters that make me stay or go and Sam Wyndham is one of those that never fails to enthrall me. Also Surrender-not. Enough said.

Anyway, in “Smoke and Ashes” Sam discovers a body whilst, well, not exactly in a sensible state, the book opening with this discovery
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, novelnotions
A big step up with this instalment. Much tighter in characterisation, plot, humour... a good time all round.

Full review to come.
May 07, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
So looking forward to this one.... can't wait!
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Wow! Mukherjee keeps upping his game and this third title is excellent!

We rejoin Captain Wyndham at a moment when his opium addiction has become something he can’t just push to the side anymore. Barely keeping the threads of his life together, he is furthermore thrusted into a murder investigation that has a special connection to him, having seen a body with the same mutilations in an opium den. This is of course a fact he can’t share since it might cost him his job. Questions naturally abou
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I loved about the series at the start is the rich setting - early 1920s British ruled Calcutta. So I was disappointed when it ditched the best part of its narrative for its sophomore entry. Smoke and Ashes fixes its predecessor's issues - brings the action back to Kolkata and stops marginalizing Surrender-Not Banerjee, the native Sergeant of Wyndham. However new problems have cropped up. The mystery is weaker and the overall narrative feels more cliched.

Wyndham and Banerjee have to investig
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best historical fiction detective series atm. The dialogue is sharp, the setting so informative but with just enough detail. The characters are amazing even after this 3rd novel. Highly recommend this series!!
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Murder in the Raj...

Roused from a drug-addled stupor in an opium den in the backstreets of Calcutta, Sam Wyndham, Captain in the Calcutta police, discovers the place is being raided. Discovery of his addiction will finish his career so he flees, only to stumble across the body of a horribly mutilated Chinaman. Or did he? Next day, when no report of the murder comes in, Sam is left wondering if he hallucinated the whole thing. That is, until he is called out to another murder, where the body has
K.J. Charles
This series gets markedly better with every book. The author has always been brilliant at evoking the feel of the last years of the Raj and the 1920s Indian atmosphere, but the mystery plots are improving dramatically (and really deeply rooted in the history, which makes them work terrifically). Sam Wyndham is a great character, a decent and progressive Englishman of his time, yet so much unconscious racism and assumed cultural superiority revealed in his narrative. The characters, the plots and ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010s, mys-hf, hf-asia, india, lila
4.44 ... Still don't like "Surrender Not" - prefer Suren. Much appreciate the setting, and also hope for next one soon ... won't wait so long to buy a copy from Britain ahead of US release.
Move over Nordic Noir, Indian Noir surprises!

My second reading of Abir Mukherjee's murder mystery novel set against related socioeconomic and political conditions in 1920's India, continues to enthrall. I am totally smitten with the goings on of former Scotland Yard detective Captain Sam Wyndham and his co policeman, Surendranath (Surrender-Not) Bannerjee
As always Mukherjee's knowledge of political events in 1920's Calcutta is well grounded.
Sam's struggle with opium addiction (a result of his p
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Murder mystery set in 1921 CALCUTTA

I actually read this novel whilst in India and it proved to be a great choice, it gave me a real sense of the echoes of footsteps past, with a little history of the start of the Congress Party and Ghandi.

Smoke and Ashes is no.3 in the Sam Wyndham murder mystery series, set firmly in Raj era India. Captain Wyndham has an opium habit and one evening, as he is smoking in a dive, there is a police raid and it really wouldn’t be fitting for him – as a policeman – to
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First there was A Rising Man and then A Necessary Evil and akin to the sound of an angelic host the very words, “There’s a new Abir Mukherjee book out now” made my heart soar with an excitement rarely achieved, since I won a handwriting competition at the age of 10 on holiday on the Isle of Wight i.e very excited indeed. And so we are catapulted back to the inglorious days of the Raj, and to be honest, it would unwise to even countenance the thought that our dynamic duo would be experiencing any ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the third in Abir Mukherjee's Sam Wyndham mystery series, which takes place in 1920s Raj India and features as main characters British Captain Wyndham and his Indian sidekick Surendranath (aka "Surrender-Not") Banerjee, of the Calcutta Police force.

It's December of 1921. There's a good deal of unrest because of British rule and a rise in popularity of Gandhi and his movement of peaceful resistance. With this as backdrop, the Calcutta Police has to deal with keeping the Prince of Wales sa
Susan in NC
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful series keeps getting better! This book opens in December 1921 with Sam in an opium den during a police raid, indulging his secret addiction, a miserable legacy of his injuries from WWI.

He manages to escape the vice raid, but stumbles across a mutilated body. When he sobers up, he’s not sure he didn’t imagine it. He tries to investigate on the sly - the body is gone, a clean-up attempted, but Sam finds it nearby “hiding in plain sight” in a funeral parlor. He can’t openly investiga
Judy Lesley
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This third book in the Sam Wyndham series opens with Sam literally running for his life when the opium den he's passed out in is raided by the police. On his way to safety he literally falls on a body which puts him in all kinds of dilemmas. He's an officer in the Calcutta police force and his opium addiction is a secret he's desperate to hide. Now he's fleeing the scene of a murder, hands and face covered with blood, carrying a knife.

It is December 1921 and all of India is unsettled with though
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent series.
Anne Fenn
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
A great series, set in Calcutta 1922. Sam Wyndham and sidekick Surrender Not are dramatic characters. Historical angles are really well explored, from post-WW1 trauma to the rise of independence movement in India. It’s a very atmospheric novel about city life and culture, from poorest to top British hierarchy. Best of all, I found it highly entertaining , providing plenty of both action and emotion.
☼Professional Thorn☼
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2019
One of the things likely to grab my attention while book shopping are crime novels steeped in history. I love the Avery & Blake stories for example, and so it’s not surprising that I snatched up SMOKE AND ASHES.

Now I hadn’t read the first two books in the series but I’m in the process of rectifying that situation --as time allows. The good news is that you don’t have to had read the other books to enjoy this one. It works perfectly as a stand alone.

SMOKE AND ASHES is a fairly quick read but I sh
Sara Aye Moung
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another excellent book in this series. Atmospheric, interesting characters and an exciting plot. Can’t wait for the next one .
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of this series and If you haven’t read A Rising Man or An Necessary Evil, then you need to add them to your wish list asap. The series is phenomenal and historical crime fiction at its finest. It was my 126th read of the year so far and the 13th edition to the 5* Genius list. The era, characters and location that Abir Mukherjee has created within the series is sheer brilliance.
*I am a shameless fangirl*

The series is set post ww1 in Calcutta, India. The main characters are Britis
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite so far (but also the most horrifying)
Christopher Williams
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Latest in this excellent series and maybe the best to date. A really good plot that unfolds at just the right pace and with the involvement of the sinister section H again being welcome. Looking forward to more from this author and this series!
Dipra Lahiri
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another cracking installment in the Sam Wyndham / Surrender-not series, set in the tumultuous twenties in Calcutta. The historical background is expertly leveraged to lend added urgency and heft to the story. Wyndham is a very likable character, flawed but honorable, while his companion Surrender-not, belying his small stature, is lionhearted, and together they make an excellent pair, chasing down various villains. The series deserves a long run.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars.
Barbara Nutting
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who would have thought a mystery taking place in India with an opium addicted detective could have been so interesting. Lots of history woven into a bizarre murder plot. This was book 3, now I’ll have to read the first two.

Learned that the phrase pipe dreams originated with the opium fiends. Also how to correctly pronounce Ypres (eee-prah)!
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mukherjee does it again! I'm not sure what fascinates me more. He dispatches his white British narrator to eviscerate British ideas about empire and especially about the Raj. And it seems like the British readers who are hearty fans are either owning up to their shiet or they didn't catch the scathing critique. No matter, the social analysis here is sharp and so refreshing and goes down smooth when you're not choking on his delicious candor. Simultaneously, the author crafts a mystery that is co ...more
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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 (4 books)
  • A Rising Man (Sam Wyndham, #1)
  • A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham, #2)
  • Death in the East (Sam Wyndham # 4)

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In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
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“We could only control India through force of arms, but force was useless against a people who didn’t fight back; because you couldn’t kill people like that without killing a part of yourself too.” 2 likes
“Oh, you're much more than a taxi service, Sam," said Taggert.
"Think of yourselves as providing a chauffeur service with menaces.”
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