The Widows of Malabar Hill

The Widows of Malabar Hill

Book - 2018
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"Introducing an extraordinary female lawyer-sleuth in a new historical series set in 1920s Bombay. 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 law degree from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women's legal rights. 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 is going through 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 if they forfeit what their husband left them? 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 about the will 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."--
Publisher: New York, NY : Soho Crime, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781616957780
Branch Call Number: MF MASSEY, SUJATA
Characteristics: 385 pages : maps ; 22 cm


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Aug 11, 2020

This was a very engaging mystery, for a variety of reasons. The story takes place in 1920's India, featuring Perveen Mistry, an independent young woman who aspires to be the first female lawyer in Bombay. I learned so much about Indian culture as the plot unwound - how women were treated, the lack of justice for women both married and single, transportation, inheritance, respect, food, manners, superstitions, protocols - it was fascinating. The novel shifts back and forth between years, as Perveen slowly accumulates information that will give her the evidence she needs to assist the widows. When a murder takes place and a young girl disappears, and then Perveen is endangered, I was on the edge of my seat. This was an entertaining and satisfying novel. I'm looking forward to reading the second book about Perveen, "The Satapur Moonstone."

Aug 06, 2020

From my review on Goodreads:
This historical mystery is the first installment of a series set in Bombay around 1920. The story was crafted with care because there are multiple characters with unique and compelling motivations and each one is critical to the plot. Several characters, not just the series title lawyer, experience transformation during the course of the tale and I thought that this made a richer reading experience.

Jul 28, 2020

Disturbing insight into the lives of women in early 20th Century Bombay. Good story, interesting characters and superb descriptions.

Jul 05, 2020

Moira’s book club book for July 2020. Set in Mumbai stars only female lawyer. Mystery novel

JCLKarynH May 19, 2020

The Widows of Malabar Hill was one of those hidden gems I had never heard of, but just stumbled across on the mystery shelves. It takes place in British-controlled Bombay (modern-day Mumbai), India with brief jaunts to Calcutta. Perveen Mistry, Bombay's first woman solicitor, is a great detective. She's bold, educated in Oxford, England; logical, brave and employed by her own father in his law firm, Mistry Law. She also harbors a secret and painful past. I very much appreciated the change of scenery from my usual British drawing room mystery fare. India is fascinating. I loved learning about the 1920s estate, marriage and divorce laws, forms of respectful address, the food and the history and culture of Hindus, Muslims and Parsis. There's a two-fold mystery: the death of the estate agent of the Mistry's clients and what happened to Perveen that left her with emotional scars and dedicated to fighting for women's rights. It has the appeal of a cozy mystery with dashes of cardamom and curry. The author, Sujata Massey, covers a lot of women's issues and inequities/injustices. A fun read and a way to travel from the safety of your armchair, with a cup of Darjeeling tea. I look forward to reading more of Massey's work.

Jan 04, 2020

I quite enjoy Ms Massey's series w/ Ms. Perveen Esq. A lot of history, food, customs of India entwined w/ these stories. Characters come alive as the tale unfolds. Esp fun to read when you can benefit from a diversion of daily life, be transported to a world where you can taste the flavors from the written page.

Nov 26, 2019

Beautifully written story that left me craving more from Sujata Massey. Wonderful depiction of early 20th century Indian culture and history of British rule. Anyone who encounters the leading character, Perveen Mistry, will undoubtedly fall in love with her brilliance, integrity and fortitude. If only Mrs. Massey would write her more.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "'The Widows of Malabar Hill' is a mystery set in Bombay, India in 1921. It’s not a romance. Romance does not go well for the main characters. However, it’s a very good female-centered historical mystery. The story takes place before Independence and before Partition, during a period when the Indian independence movement was gaining traction. The sense of rapid social change on many levels pervades the novel."

Hillsboro_JenF May 15, 2019

This historical mystery follows Parveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female lawyer. The mystery was fairly straight forward and seasoned mystery readers should have no trouble guessing the outcome. I think the strength of this novel lies in the characters and the setting (1920's Bombay). I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

ser_library May 15, 2019

i enjoyed the descriptions of Mumbai and the food. I became confused with characters, perhaps because i skimmed the middle.

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