1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows living in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous. The author of the Agatha and Macavity Award–winning Rei Shimura novels brings us an atmospheric new historical mystery with a captivating heroine.
This Deluxe Edition features: an interview with the author, discussion questions, essays on the real-life inspirations behind the novel, delicious recipes taken from the story, and previews of The Satapur Moonstone (May 2019).
Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women's legal rights especially important to her.
Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X—meaning she probably couldn't even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, never leaving the women's quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.
Inspired in part by the woman who made history as India's first female attorney, The Widows of Malabar Hill is a richly wrought story of multicultural 1920s Bombay as well as the debut of a sharp new sleuth.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Bombay’s first female contract lawyer didn’t expect her work to be easy, but she certainly didn’t think it would lead to murder. As an attorney in her father’s law firm, Perveen Mistry is assigned to the case of a recently deceased man whose three widows have elected to donate all of their substantial inheritance. Perveen is suspicious—her own painful personal history makes her highly protective of these women—but she soon discovers she’s treading on very dangerous ground. Sujata Massey’s lyrical prose and lush, detailed descriptions transported us to 1920s India. Perveen is a charming and inspiring heroine with a compelling backstory. By the time she dug to the bottom of this deadly mystery, we were committed to accompanying her on her future investigations.
Set in India in 1921, this outstanding series launch from Agatha-winner Massey (The Kizuna Coast and 10 other Rei Shimura mysteries) introduces Perveen Mistry, Bombay's first female solicitor, who works for her father's law firm, handling contracts and estate work. Faisal Mukri, the trustee of the estate of recently deceased textile-mill owner Omar Farid, writes to the Mistry firm to request changes in the estate settlement, claiming that Farid's three widows want to donate all their assets to a charitable foundation that would benefit the needy while paying them an annuity. The paperwork documenting the widows' intentions appears suspect, and Perveen's visit to their home and her conversation with Mukri only strengthen her conviction that something irregular is at work. Her due diligence in insuring that the widows' interests are protected eventually enmeshes her in a murder investigation. The period detail and thoughtful characterizations, especially of the capable, fiercely independent lead, bode well for future installments.)
Windows of Malabar Hill
Interesting story. I learned a lot and was angry at the limitations of women’s rights. We’ve come a long way. However, I was disappointed that two chapters were missing—blank pages only. Better quality control is needed.
Terrific first in a series
Interesting setting and characters,painted a fascinating picture of 1920’s India and it’s many different religious groups and their traditions
Wonderful novel. I learned a lot about India.
I’ve read many historical novels and this was the most unique. Thank goodness I had iPad so I could look up so many words. I will be reporting to my book club in @ few weeks and see what they think.