Review: The Strangler Vine

The Strangler Vine
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After it got going this was a great tale of the British in India. Full of fairly bloody violence and with lots of commentary on the appalling attitudes of the time towards the Indian people. It is the first of the Avery and Blake mysteries so it spends quite a lot of time setting up the relationship between the two men. They start by being very antagonistic towards each other, I couldn’t see how they were ever going to end up having a series written about the pair of them working together, given how badly they got along, but that is the thing, they don’t get along because they are so opposite, but they have a successful time because of that very thing. The two of them are officers of the East India Company and are attempting to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a famous writer. He is assumed to be in the hands of a band of terrors called Thugs or Thugees, these were a real thing in India at the time and it is interesting to read about these people. (There is a wealth of information at the end of the book, but also some interesting images online). These guys are famous for their dastardly ways and indeed the encounters that Blake and Avery have with them are violent and lead them to believe that they are in mortal danger.

This book gives you an idea of what life was like in India before the revolution and the withdrawal of the British. The mystery itself is very slow moving but redeems itself by rollicking along in the second half of the book. An enjoyable read all in all.

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