The highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed novel The Widows of Malabar Hill.
India, 1922: It is rainy season in the lush, remote Sahyadri mountains, where the princely state of Satapur is tucked away. A curse seems to have fallen upon Satapur’s royal family, whose maharaja died of a sudden illness shortly before his teenage son was struck down in a tragic hunting accident. The state is now ruled by an agent of the British Raj on behalf of Satapur’s two maharanis, the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law.
The royal ladies are in a dispute over the education of the young crown prince, and a lawyer’s counsel is required. However, the maharanis live in purdah and do not speak to men. Just one person can help them: Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer. Perveen is determined to bring peace to the royal house and make a sound recommendation for the young prince’s future, but she arrives to find that the Satapur palace is full of cold-blooded power plays and ancient vendettas. Too late, she realizes she has walked into a trap. But whose? And how can she protect the royal children from the palace’s deadly curse?
Set in 1922, Edgar finalist Massey's second whodunit featuring Bombay attorney Perveen Mistry is even better than the series' impressive debut, 2018's The Widows of Malabar Hill. Sir David Hobson-Jones, a top adviser to the governor of India, approaches Perveen, who has bucked gender prejudices to become one of India's only female lawyers, on behalf of the Kolhapur Agency, a British civil service entity in need of a legal investigator to handle a delicate situation in the small state of Satapur. The state's two maharanis are involved in a bitter debate over where the current maharajah, 10-year-old Jiva Reo, should be educated. Because the maharanis avoid contact with men, the authorities view Perveen as the ideal person to talk with them and issue an educational recommendation. Despite her misgivings at working for her country's occupiers, Perveen accepts the assignment, only to learn that the two previous rulers of Satapur died within the last two years, leading her to fear that Reo is also at risk. The winning, self-sufficient Perveen should be able to sustain a long series.