Posted in Asian, Cultural, India, Legal Fiction, Legal Mystery, Mystery

The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Perveen Mistry #2)

Publication Info: Published May 14th 2019 by Soho Crime. Hardcover edition courtesy of my local library. Other editions available.

Summary: The Kholhapur Agency, which has jurisdiction over twenty-five states in Western India, hires Perveen to mediate in a situation that requires a woman. As one of the few female lawyers in India, Perveen once again is called upon to visit women in purdah–seclusion from any men–who are stuck in an argument that affects the future of their state of Satapur.The Satapur Moonstone

The women, both widowed, are the grandmother and mother of a future Maharajah, a boy named Prince Jiva Rao. The argument is over the boy’s education. The grandmother, the ruling dowager Majarani, wants the boy educated at home by the long-standing family tutor, an elderly man. His mother, a more worldly and educated woman, wants the boy sent away to be educated in England.

Both women agree on one thing: they fear for the boy’s safety. Jiva Rao’s father was killed by cholera and his brother in a hunting accident. Both deaths were within a short time of each other. The women disagree on how to keep the boy safe–keep him at home or send him to another country.

Perveen must get the women to agree on a course of action. But more forces are in play than are described to her in her mission objectives. As Perveen gets to know the family and the people nearest to them, she realizes that someone is possibly a murderer–and her own life may be in danger.

Comments: I really looked forward to reading The Satapur Moonstone after devouring the first one in the series. While I enjoyed it, the characters didn’t quite grab me this time. I like the main character, Perveen Mistry,  but other than her attraction to a man whom she cannot have (due to her personal circumstances), there were few further insights into her life. Other than the man she was attracted to (no spoilers here) I found most, but not all, of the other characters to be unlikable and without much depth.

I like the setting of the novels in India and learning about the cultural differences within the country. I am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series, but perhaps with a bit less eagerness.

Recommended for mystery readers and those who like multi-cultural fiction. I highly recommend that readers start with book number one in the series, The Widows of Malabar Hill.

Posted in Best Sellers, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, India, Multi-Cultural Fiction, Women's Fiction

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani

Publication Info: Published September 1, 2018 by Brilliance Audio. Other editions available. (I listened to the book from Audible.com).

The Storyteller's Secret

The Storyteller’s Secret is a novel about obligation, family duty,  and love in it’s many forms. Although the story takes place in India, the themes are universal.

Jaya, an American woman of Indian descent, travels to India to discover her past and heal some deep hurts from her childhood as well as recover emotionally from three miscarriages. In India, she meets Ravi, her grandmother Amisha’s servant and dear friend. He tells her a story that helps explain Jaya’s mother’s odd behavior. The story also puts Jaya’s troubles in perspective and helps her to heal.

I was deeply drawn into this novel, spending too much time lying awake listening to it instead of sleeping! The author did a credible job of describing rural India in the waning days of British rule. The characters were sympathetic and came to life on the pages. Although I could see one plot line coming from a long way off, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Indeed, I was compelled to keep reading to see how it would play out and affect the outcome for the characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it for fans of general fiction, historical fiction and multi-cultural fiction.

Posted in Cultural, Fiction, Historical, India, Mystery, Uncategorized

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Publication date, January 9th, 2018, by Soho Press.

Summary: Perveen Mistry assists her father in the family law firm. As the first – and only – female solicitor in 1920’s Bombay, she isn’t allowed to present cases at court. That is the purview of the male barristers, but there is plenty of work for her to do handling wills and eThe Widows of Malabar Hill.jpgstates.

For many years, the Mistry Law Firm has represented the interests of Mr. Farid and his wives. The wives are purdanashin, which means they live in seclusion and have no contact with men outside their own household except to speak with them through a screen. After Mr. Farid dies, the Mistry Law firm must negotiate the rather complex terms of the will. Perveen is uniquely qualified to work with the Farid wives. She is well-versed in estate law and as a female, she can be granted direct access to the Muslim women in the compound.

When the women’s appointed guardian, Mr. Mukri, is found murdered, Perveen’s legal concerns expand to the safety of the three wives and their children. The male detectives aren’t allowed in the women’s area of the home, so she becomes their eyes and ears.

But Perveen has safety concerns of her own. She recently spotted a man in town who resembles her abusive husband. Perveen escaped from Cyrus and his family four years previously but because of Parsi law, was unable to secure more than a legal separation. She is worried that she may be abducted back to Calcutta.

Comments: The Widows of Malabar Hill is rich in atmosphere and history. The Mistry family are Parsis, descendants of immigrants to India from Persia, current day Iran. They maintain their own unique culture and religion in the predominantly Hindu and Muslim nation of India. They worked well with the British colonial government and became wealthy and well educated.  This background makes Perveen a believable protagonist.

This novel is the first in a new series by Sujata Massey. If you like multi-cultural mystery fiction, look for her other books, the Rei Shimura novels.

5 books for a thoroughly engrossing, well researched novel.

5 out of 5 books