Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule. Sujata Massey is back with this third installment to the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series set in 1920s Bombay.
November 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a fourmonth tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.
Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Feeling guilty for failing to have helped Freny in life, Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest. When Freny’s death appears suspicious, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections, and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?
Agatha winner Massey's exceptional third mystery featuring Perveen Mistry, Bombay's first female solicitor (after 2019's The Satapur Moonstone), finds the city's residents preparing for the visit of Britain's Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, in 1921. Before the royal's arrival, Freny Cuttingmaster, a student at Woodburn College, seeks Mistry's guidance. Freny represents a group of students who wish to skip a parade scheduled for the prince, which their head of school says is mandatory. Mistry can only advise Freny that she and the others should feign illness to avoid punishment for not attending. After the parade, which was disrupted by protesters inspired by lawyer Mohandas Gandhi's advocacy for Indian independence, a woman's corpse is found at the college. The victim died, apparently of a head wound, on the 30-year anniversary of the unexplained deaths of two female students at the University of Bombay, who fell from a clock tower, suffering similar injuries. Massey has never been better at pairing her redoubtable and impressive lead with a challenging murder to unravel. Abir Mukherjee fans will be pleased.