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The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay) by [Massey, Sujata]
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From the Publisher


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of January 2018: Set in 1920s Bombay, The Widows of a Malabar Hill introduces Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female solicitor, who works for her father’s law firm, handling contracts and estate work. When one of her father’s Muslim clients dies and the trustee of the estate submits paperwork, signed by his three widows, donating the bulk of their inheritance to charity, Perveen’s suspicions are aroused. The widows live in purdah, totally cut off from the outside world, and as she delves deeper into the secrets and betrayals in the house on Malabar Hill, what started as a routine inquiry quickly escalates to murder. Perveen has painful experience of the ways in which women’s voices can be silenced, and driven by personal tragedy to protect the rights of such women, even murder can’t deter her. Massey deftly evokes the sights, the sounds, and the heat of Bombay as her clever and determined heroine, aided by a large supporting cast of sharply-drawn characters, sidesteps both custom and danger to deliver justice. --Vannessa Cronin

Review

An ABA IndieNext Selection for January
An Amazon Editor's Pick for Best of January
An Apple iTunes Most Anticipated Book of 2018
#2 on Cosmopolitan's 33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018
The Bookseller (UK) Editor's Pick for Mystery
A Library Journal Editor's Pick for Fall 2017
A Bustle Most Anticipated Book of 2018
A LitHub Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Title of 2018


Praise for
The Widows of Malabar Hill

The Widows of Malabar Hill, with its deft prose and well-wrought characters, is a splendid first installment in what promises to be a memorable series."
—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"Marvelously plotted, richly detailed . . . This is a first-rate performance inaugurating a most promising series." 
—The Washington Post

"Perveen Mistry has all the pluck you want in a sleuthing lawyer, as well as a not-so-surprising—but decidedly welcome—proclivity for poking her nose into the business of others. The pages do indeed fly."
—Marissa Stapley, The Globe and Mail

"The Widows of Malabar Hill contains multitudes, tackling women’s history and rights, while treating readers to a riveting story."
—The National Post

"Perveen’s dogged pursuit of truth and justice for her clients is reminiscent of the debuts of Anne Perry’s Charlotte Ellison Pitt and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. But the multicultural, multi-faith milieu in which Perveen lives, works and attempts to find love both illuminates a bygone era and offers a thoughtful perspective relevant to today’s focus on women’s rights and equality." 
—Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times 

"You get a mystery but you also get all the cultural details. I like that." 
—NBC New Day Northwest 

"I've been complaining for several years now that we don't have enough competent female leads in mystery series, and Sujata Massey has delivered with The Widows of Malabar Hill. I was taken in by this Law and Order-esque tale set in lush, swing-era Bombay, and I loved seeing Perveen proceed with a cool head and a fiery heart. Readers looking for a strong female heroine, a vivid setting and a strange mystery will find it here."
—The News Tribune

"There’s so much to admire in Massey’s writing: sumptuous details, attention to the senses and a tightly-plotted mystery that explores domains beyond normal trials and tribulations. It’s writing that’s easy to take for granted, but as we know, anything that easy is deceptively hard."
—Baltimore Fishbowl

"Massey deftly evokes the sights, the sounds, and the heat of Bombay as her clever and determined heroine, aided by a large supporting cast of sharply-drawn characters, sidesteps both custom and danger to deliver justice."
—Vannessa Cronin, The Amazon Book Review

"Massey's extensive research of Bombay during British imperial rule, its various ethnic communities and their respective legal customs, is seamlessly folded into the fabric of the story. The book is filled with fascinating bits of culture and history, a look at India's Parsi and Muslim communities, well-written courtroom scenes, and even a locked-room murder."
—Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

"A spectacular mystery to kickstart your year."
—Bustle 

"Perveen is the kind of plucky, determined, practical, wounded, ahead-of-her-time protagonist an avid clique of mystery readers adore. She is destined to find a home with fans of like-minded female investigators such as Mary Russell and Maisie Dobbs, whose creators, like Massey, deftly anchor their solid plots in the realities, and challenges, of their times."
—Los Angeles Review of Books

"I can’t wait to see what happens next."
—Crime Time (UK)

"[A] setting and protagonist are like nothing I’ve encountered in a mystery before: 1920s Bombay and one of India’s first female lawyers, who’s 'devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.'" 
—BookRiot's "44 Mystery Romance Novels to Read Right Now" 

"A compelling look into Indian society through the eyes of a remarkable heroine."
—LitHub 

"[An] outstanding series launch . . . The period detail and thoughtful characterizations, especially of the capable, fiercely independent lead, bode well for future installments." 
—Publishers Weekl
y, Starred Review

"[Massey] does a wonderful job of taking life in India at the beginning of the 20th century. She gives enough cultural details without overwhelming readers with facts. The two plotlines wonderfully depict the development of the main character and the mystery as it unfolds . . . Fresh and original."
—Library Journal, Starred Review

"In addition to getting an unusual perspective on women’s rights and relationships, readers are treated to a full view of historical downtown Bombay—the shops and offices, the docks and old fort, and the huge variety of conveyances, characters, and religions—in an unforgettable olio that provides the perfect backdrop to the plot and subplots. Each of the many characters is uniquely described, flaws and all, which is the key to understanding their surprising roles in the well-constructed puzzle."
Booklist, Starred Review

"[A] highly original story and satisfying ending make this a promising series debut." 
—Mystery Scene Magazine 

"History and culture blend in an involving and fast-paced mystery . . . Perveen is a fascinating character—smart, resourceful, ready to take on prejudices against women in the law." 
—St. Paul Pioneer Press 

"[A] lush, captivating debut series about 1920s Bombay."
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"An enticing and enlightening whodunit that addresses social issues and India’s multiple cultures."
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Wonderful . . . A rich blend of history and fiction, [The Widows of Malabar Hill] brings historical Bombay to vibrant life in this engaging mystery."
—The Seattle Review of Books

"One of the great joys of this novel is the life Massey brings to Bombay, which in her telling is a truly stunning chaos of peoples, cultures and religions."  
The Colonial (Montgomery County) 

"Exciting and suspenseful . . . [The Widows of Malabar Hill] features Massey’s literary strength in dynamic character development and lyrical prose."
—Shepherd Express

"Abolutely intriguing."
—WJBC's Booknotes

"Certain to please a wide range of readers . . . [Perveen Mistry] won’t take no for an answer, she’s hungry for knowledge and justice, and she’s on her way to making history." 
—India Currents Magazine

"Brilliant." 
—The Times of India 

"The Widows of Malabar Hill is an exquisite tapestry weaving together mystery with a crash course in colonial India, its customs, and the expectations of women in the 1920s . . . It also brings you the sights, smells, and tastes of 1920s India (which may make you crave coconut rice at 2 a.m.)"
—Rewire News

"Sharp."
The Asian Age

"Perveen Mistry is a terrific heroine."
—New York Journal of Books

"A fascinating look behind the curtain of women’s lives in pre-Independence India."
—Historical Novel Society

"The mystery is a strong one because readers must acquaint themselves with this unfamiliar world in order to piece together what happened. And what can I say about the setting? Massey pulled me right into this world, and I was almost on sensory overload. The old ways versus the new. Bombay's rapid growth into a vibrant major city. The various political, religious, and social factions that chafed against each other on a daily basis. And one woman, with the support of her parents, who's strong enough to stand up for what's right. A+"
—Kittling Books

"Well written, highly detailed, and engaging, THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL shows Massey's extensive writing experience, as well as an acute eye for human frailty and conflict. I'm glad to note from her material that there's a sequel on the way."
—Kingdom Books

"The Widows of Malabar Hill is a gorgeous epic, a significant statement on women's rights, a fascinating armchair tour, and, yes, a thriller of a murder mystery."
—Reviewing the Evidence

"I could envision this series being televised by the BBC or Masterpiece: Mystery! (Hint, hint.)" 
—Over My Dead Body (website)

"Perveen Mistry is a wonderful creation."
—Books to the Ceiling (blog)

"Launches Sujata Massey’s new historical mystery series in fine style . . . The Widows of Malabar Hill shows that Massey has been inspired both by her newest creation and her setting, with the promise of a great series to come."
—MADReads, the review of the Madison Public Library 

"A refreshingly original mystery . . . What comes through most strongly in this entertaining work, though, is the status of women, and how much Perveen had to accomplish to get where she is. "
—Reading the Past blog

"Perveen Mistry is an extraordinary heroine—one of the first female lawyers in India, she’s whip smart, strong-willed, and, most importantly, compassionate. Defying convention while draped in a sari, Perveen is sure to join the leads of great mystery fiction."
—Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope mysteries 

"There is a new sleuth on the literary map and her name is Perveen Mistry, practicing woman lawyer, feminist, survivor of abuse and solver of murder mysteries. In The Widows of Malabar Hill, Sujata Massey brings 1920s Bombay to life, a time when the British still ruled, single women were not served alcohol in restaurants and there was murder most foul. With an indomitable heroine and a solid cast of sidekicks, this is the start of a series mystery readers should not miss." 
—Amulya Malladi, bestselling author of A House for Happy Mothers and The Copenhagen Affair 

"Perveen is strong, tenacious and smart, just the kind of advocate you'd want to have on your side. And as someone who was born and raised in the city, I love the way in which Massey recreates colonial Bombay, down to the architecture, social interactions,politics and gender dynamics. You can feel the breeze coming off the Arabian Sea and taste the pastries at Yazdani's bakery."
—Radha Vatsal, author of A Front Page Affair 

"A fascinating setting, an extraordinary new sleuth, and a story that enthralls you—The Widows of Malabar Hill has all three and more. Sujata Massey's new historical series is absolutely terrific, and you are just going to love Perveen Mistry, India's first female lawyer." 
—Charles Todd, bestselling author of the Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series 

"Introducing an incisive, sympathetic heroine with a painful past while shedding light on a fascinating cloistered historical world, The Widows of Malabar Hill is not only immediately engaging—it has staying power." 
—Lyndsay Faye, Edgar-nominated author of Gods of Gotham and Jane Steele 

"Perveen Mistry is a rarity: a female solicitor in a bastion of masculinity! An astonishing heroine—fearless, intelligent and determined—she makes a memorable debut in Sujata Massey’s The Widows of Malabar Hill. A gripping whodunnit, full of excitement and heart, the novel also delightfully evokes Bombay in the 1920s—and celebrates the Parsi community that continues to enrich their beloved city." 
—Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Ice Candy Man and Water 

"Sujata Massey is one of the most talented writers working today. In her hands, 1920s Bombay comes alive with the sounds, sights and smells of a place and time where women were still second class citizens. Perveen Mistry is an unforgettable heroine, fighting for justice in an enigmatic, beautiful and flawed world. With gorgeous prose, Massey weaves a captivating mystery. The Widows of Malabar Hill is an extraordinary novel."
—Allison Leotta, author of The Last Good Girl

Praise for Sujata Massey


“Beautifully constructed and highly emotional. Massey’s knowledge of Japanese antiques and downtown D.C. enhances the story.”
USA Today
 
“A sprightly, engaging tale by setting a classic English-style whodunit in contemporary Japan . . . This young, hip, sake-sipping sleuth leads a reader into a Tokyo that doesn’t make the guidebooks . . . Sly, sexy and deftly done, Wife is one to bring home.”
People Magazine
 
“Enthralling.”
Dallas Morning News

“Sujata Massey has worked her award-winning series to be a mirror on the Japan culture as seen through the eyes of an outsider . . . The result in Massey’s nine novels are an intuitive view of contrasting societies and a young woman trying to find her place in the world.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
 
“Rei is a fascinating character: bold, unique, spirited and intelligent . . . Massey makes good use of the clash between American and Japanese cultures as a backdrop for an enjoyable story.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Riveting . . . The Sleeping Dictionary, an utterly engrossing tale of love, espionage, betrayal and survival, is historical fiction at its best, accessible to all audiences.”
Booklist, Starred Review

"A compelling look into Indian society through the eyes of a remarkable heroine."
—Literary Hub

Product details

  • File Size: 2853 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (January 9, 2018)
  • Publication Date: January 9, 2018
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07226BHDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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