The Strangler Vine and The Infidel Stain by M.J. Carter
In the tradition of Holmes and Watson, Jeremiah Blake, a cynical ex-employee of the British East India Company and William Avery, a young soldier, are the sleuths in M. J. Carter’s series of Victorian mysteries.
The first novel, The Strangler Vine, takes place in Calcutta in 1837. A celebrated and controversial author is missing, and Avery and Blake are ordered to locate him. Their search takes them on a dangerous road trip through colonial India from Calcutta’s sordid slums to princely palaces. As the ill-matched pair battle criminals, tigers, and slippery British administrators, they inevitably gain a grudging respect for each other.
The second novel, The Infidel Stain, takes place five years later in England where both men are struggling to adjust to life back home. The former head of the British East India Company’s secret police reunites the two for an investigation into the murders of several shady printers. At first the deaths appear to be stubbornly unrelated, but the investigation turns up a connection to the politically sensitive right to vote movement as well as some high powered leaders who would ruthlessly suppress the truth.