The first sentences of a novel are essential. In the thriller in particular. When, above all, Abir Mukherjee notes that “we do not often see a man with a diamond in his beard”, we necessarily want to know more. And we are not disappointed. The Princes of Sambalpur is a little gem, a treat. A historical thriller that is both tragic and funny, as well documented as it is fascinating, and always surprising.
Its author, born in 1974 in London, grew up in Scotland in a family of Indian immigrants. For twenty years he worked in finance before turning to writing. Lover of thrillers since adolescence, worthy heir to Philip Kerr, he chose to situate his detective series at a crucial period in Anglo-Indian history, the 1920s, the moment when the grip of the British Empire was sees more and more contested.