Book Review: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (A Perveen Mistry Novel, 1)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey is a thrilling Golden Age style mystery novel set in 1920s Bombay. The novel revolves around Perveen Mistry, a young, independent, and intelligent Parsi woman who works as a lawyer in her father’s firm. When three widows of a wealthy and influential Muslim family are left vulnerable after their husband’s sudden death, Perveen is called to their home to ensure that their financial affairs are in order. However, what seems like a routine legal matter soon turns into a deadly mystery, and Perveen finds herself in the middle of a web of lies, secrets, and murders.

The novel is expertly crafted, with intricate details of life in Bombay during the 1920s. Massey has skillfully woven together historical facts with fiction to create a vivid picture of a city on the cusp of change. The descriptions of the bustling streets, the colorful bazaars, and the opulent homes of the wealthy add depth and richness to the story.

One of the standout features of this novel is the character of Perveen Mistry. She is a strong, intelligent, and independent woman who defies the norms of her time. As a Parsi woman, she faces discrimination and prejudice, but she doesn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams. Perveen’s character is nuanced, and Massey has done an excellent job of bringing her to life on the pages.

The plot is intricate and well-paced, with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. Massey’s use of multiple narrators adds depth to the story and provides insights into the different characters’ motivations and actions. The novel’s focus on the widows, their lives, and their struggles adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystery to the plot.

Massey’s attention to detail and research is evident throughout the novel. She has captured the nuances of the different cultures, religions, and communities that make up Bombay’s diverse population. The historical context of the story, including the Women’s Movement in India and the struggle for Indian independence, adds depth and richness to the narrative.

The Widows of Malabar Hill is a must-read for fans of Golden Age style mystery novels. Massey’s expert storytelling, richly drawn characters, and vivid setting will keep readers hooked until the very end. The novel is a celebration of the strength and resilience of women and a reminder of the challenges they faced during a time of great change.

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon here.


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