The Widows of Malabar Hill

Sujata Massey

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The Widows of Malabar Hill

The Widows of Malabar Hill 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 legal education from

  • Title: The Widows of Malabar Hill
  • Author: Sujata Massey
  • ISBN: 9781616957780
  • Page: 500
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Bombay, 1921 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 her especially devoted to championing and protecting women s rights Mistry Law is handling the will of Mr OmaBombay, 1921 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 her especially devoted to championing and protecting women s rights Mistry Law is handling the will of Mr Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind But as Perveen goes through the papers, she notices something strange all three have signed over their inheritance to a charity What will they live on if they forefeit what their husband left them Perveen is suspicious The Farid widows live in purdah 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 It s her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that nobody is in further danger.

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    One thought on “The Widows of Malabar Hill

    1. Tammy on said:

      This is a very well done old-fashioned historical novel and my first experience with Massey. Perveen is the only female practicing lawyer in 1921 Bombay. She is unable to argue cases in court due to the strictures of the time and instead works as a solicitor for her father’s practice. At its heart, this is a murder mystery and a good one. There is a bit of a dual timeline but it doesn’t occur every other chapter so the novel flows more smoothly than other books that have used this device. Pe [...]

    2. Sarah on said:

      “As the only female lawyer in Bombay, you hold a power that nobody else has,” a British government official tells Perveen Mistry in this first of a refreshingly original mystery series – and he’s right. It’s 1921, and Perveen is a solicitor in her father’s law firm. Even though she can’t appear in court, her position and gender mean she’s the only individual with the means to look into a potential instance of deception and fraud.A Muslim mill-owner's three widows, who live in pur [...]

    3. Cathy Cole on said:

      Having been a fan of Sujata Massey's award-winning Rei Shimura mystery series, I was thrilled to hear about this first Perveen Mistry mystery set in 1920s Bombay, India. There are two interwoven timelines in The Widows of Malabar Hill. One is present-day Bombay in 1921 which shows us Perveen working hard to become an integral part of her father's law firm. The second timeline takes us back to 1916 so we can learn what happened to Perveen to make her the woman she is five years later.The story it [...]

    4. Lynn on said:

      Sujata Massey was a new author for me. I enjoyed The Widows of Malabar Hill very much. The location is Bombay, India in 1921 to flashbacks to Calcutta 1916-1917. Perveen Mistry is the first female lawyer in India. She was educated in Oxford but can not represent clients in court. She works in her father law office.Her father is representing the estate of Omar Farid who is a wealthy Muslim mill owner. He has left three widows who are living in purdah which is total seclusion. They do not leave th [...]

    5. KOMET on said:

      A few minutes ago (it's 11:20 AM EST as I write this), I had the satisfaction of finishing reading "THE WIDOWS OF MALABAR HILL." It's centered around India's first woman lawyer, Perveen Mistry, who had received her legal training at Oxford. The time is February 1921 and she has returned to her home in Bombay, where she has a job working in her father's law firm. Perveen has been given the responsibility of executing the will of Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim who owned a fabric mill and had 3 wives [...]

    6. Theresa on said:

      4.5 starsThis book took me completely by surprise, so much so that I read it in a single day. What a pleasure.The book follows Perveen Mistry, a woman in her early twenties who happens to be the first female lawyer in 1920s India. She works together with her father at his law firm and in this book takes on the settling of his estate after a client's death. He had three wives, who oddly enough have all agreed to donate their inheritance to charity. Perveen finds the signatures on the document fis [...]

    7. Kathy on said:

      Several years ago, when I read The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey, I discovered an India of beauty, historical importance, depth, tragedy, redemption, and diversity. That book, set over a period of seventeen years, 1930 to 1947 mostly in Calcutta, stunned me with its impact on my reading life, as India became a source of interest and intrigue to me. It’s quite difficult for me to choose just one favorite book or even ten favorite books, but The Sleeping Dictionary is forever in my top te [...]

    8. Barb in Maryland on said:

      3.5 stars for the first in s new series by the author. I really liked the mystery, the setting(1921 Bombay), our heroine--just about everything in the main storyline. Young lawyer Perveen is a delight; I enjoyed watching her deal with her wily fox of a father. I am happy to see her good friend Alice again (introduced in the prequel novella 'Outnumbered at Oxford'). The mystery was clever--process of elimination gave me the killer, but not the 'why' of the murder.However, I had mixed feelings abo [...]

    9. Jane on said:

      Enthralling murder mystery about an Indian Parsi woman lawyer in 1920s Bombay, Perveen Mistry [surname a pun??], and her efforts to catch the murderer of the steward of a Muslim household in which there are three wives in purdah of the [now deceased] owner, a wealthy man, and fair distribution of their inheritances. With the aid of Perveen's English friend from university days, Alice, she discovers the means by which the perpetrator did the crime and the person's identity. First off she technica [...]

    10. Julie on said:

      I really enjoyed this book! The mystery was pretty good, but the historical setting and the descriptions of the people and the customs are what really made this book enjoyable for me. The main character Perveen, is a Parsi woman living in Bombay in 1921, who is working toward being one of the first female lawyers in India. Although her gender puts her at a disadvantage in a law school filled with men and in situations where she has to negotiate, it gives her an advantage when a lawyer is needed [...]

    11. Sue Em on said:

      Amazing book. Perveen Mistry is the first female solicitor in 1921 Bombay. While she cannot plead cases before the bar, she aids clients of her family's law firm. Assisting her father in an inheritance case, she discovers a murdered man at the house of the three widows. As the women follow the tradition of purdah--not having contact with men, Perveen's gender becomes an asset in unravelling the mystery. The cultural details educate and inform the reader while the story entrances. I read and love [...]

    12. Leslie on said:

      Perveen Mistry, first female lawyer in Bombay in 1921, takes on a case that leads to investigation into murder. Being female is in many ways a negative in this time and in this place--except for the doors that it opens for Perveen in this particular instance. A novel that combines culture, religion, mystery, history and women's rights, this is a strong first in a new series that features a compelling heroine in a lovely family.

    13. Tripfiction on said:

      A mystery of 1920s BOMBAYThis is the first novel I have read by Sujata Massey and she is a prolific writer who has set her novels in many wonderful places – Japan, USA, India…. Her experience of the locations clearly comes through in her masterful writing skills.The central character of Perveen Mistry was inspired by India’s earliest women lawyers who struck out to study and qualify at a time when women were heavily censored in what they could do and how they should behave.Perveen is the d [...]

    14. Jeanette on said:

      This is a difficult review/ reaction to compose. Because I wanted to give this one more than a 3 star. Perveen Mistry is a terrific character. She's multi faceted and interesting in both a self-identity and expressive style sense. She's logical, and very smart. And up against severe and diverse restriction, tradition, culture, tribal based and religious finely drawn strictures. All of those.And it also taught me quite a bit within this length of read about the Parsi minority populations in India [...]

    15. Aman Mittal on said:

      Set in Bombay, India, 1921, A Murder on Malabar Hills is mystery fiction with touches of historical fiction and is written by Sujata Massey. The book follows a female solicitor who has joined her father's law firm and happens to be the first female lawyer in India.During that time, women were not allowed to appear in court under British law. One of the touches of history this book provides. Young Perveen Mistry is appointed to execute the will of Omar Farid, a wealthy mill owner and her suspicio [...]

    16. Caitlin on said:

      "In a corner of the office, a tall Godrej cabinet was Perveen's alone. It held umbrellas, extra clothing, and the Bombay Samachar article touting her as Bombay's first woman solicitor. She'd wanted to frame the news story and hang it on the downstairs wall along with Jamshedji Mistry's many accolades. Her father had thought it too much to throw in the faces of clients who needed a gentle introduction to the prospect of female representation."The Widows of Malabar Hill is the story of Perveen Mis [...]

    17. Andrea Larson on said:

      Sometimes I end up reading books that are unexpectedly timely. Case in point: The Widows of Malabar Hill. I picked it up for the mystery, the exotic setting and the historical time period (India 1916-21), but I ended up really appreciating its relevance to current women's issues. Watching the Golden Globes on Sunday night, I was reminded of the strong, intelligent main character, Perveen Mistry. She is based on the real-life Cornelia Sorabji, one of the first Indian female lawye [...]

    18. Ivonne Rovira on said:

      Sujata Massey has created an irresistible heroine in Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s first female solicitor. It’s 1921, and Perveen balances her modern ideas with the too traditional ideas of colonial India. Massey never crosses over into anachronism; Perveen remains an observant, if not too strict, Parsee, but she’s a determined young woman and a champion for other women in a society where they almost never get a break. Perveen goes to interview the three widows of a late client of her father, J [...]

    19. Audrey on said:

      Sujata Massey is back with a new heroine, new location and a new time period. Perveen Mistry is a feminist solicitor in 1920s India. She is the woman to be a solicitor and is assigned to a case that only she is qualified for: to interview the three widows of the firm's client, to ascertain their wishes. Massey effortlessly weaves in the current mystery with Perveen's past and her growth in finding her voices well as the cultural norms of the time and setting.Staff pick: 2/18

    20. Theresa on said:

      Very enjoyable start of a new series, a legal thriller set in 1920s Bombay featuring Bombay' first female lawyer. Perveen Mistry, Esq. , a Parsi, is settling an estate of a polygamist Muslim textile mill owner on his 3 widows and their children, when murder happens. Perveen's own story, its tragedies and triumphs, is told in flashbacks, providing further cultural revelations. In some ways this parallel story slows the narrative, and the troubles hounding the 3 widows are a pretty obvious mystery [...]

    21. Jamie Canaves on said:

      Feminist Historical Mystery for the Win!Oh, I so loved this one. Perveen is a solicitor working with her father in Bombay in the early 1920s. Her father has a case involving a will where the three widows have signed a piece of paper, but Perveen thinks there is something off with the signatures. She wants to speak to the widows. And so Perveen finds herself caught in the mystery of what is actually happening in the house the widows and their children live in… Adding another layer to this book [...]

    22. Mainlinebooker on said:

      When you can learn from a book as well as be entertained, it is a novel that deserves attention. Sujata Massey has accomplished this in what I hope will be the first in a series set in Bombay and Calcutta India. Peppered with Indian words(don't worry, there is a glossary) and woven around Parsi (Zoroastrian) beliefs, I felt submerged into a world that I knew somewhat about but was fascinated how this religion's beliefs engulfed womens' lives. Perveen Mistry,is an unusual barrister in 1921 Bombay [...]

    23. Yoana on said:

      A purely fantastic summer read that has mystery, romance, drama, friendship and strife. Set in 1920s Bombay (and briefly in Calcutta), it follows the life story and current work of Perveen Mistry, Bombay's first woman lawyer. While she's investigating a suspicious case wherein three Muslim widows have declared they want to give up all of their inheritance in favour of the family charity fund, Perveen gets more than she's bargained for, including (view spoiler)[a murder committed minutes after sh [...]

    24. Sarah on said:

      4.5 stars, this was excellent! Highly recommended if you like historical mysteries. The Widows of Malabar Hill was different than other historical mystery series I've read--many of those are lighthearted and humorous, while this is a rather serious book. It started slowly--for the first quarter or so of the book, I really wasn't sure how much I was enjoying it, but then it picked up and I was completely engaged in the story.Perveen Mistry is an Oxford-educated female solicitor in Bombay in 1921, [...]

    25. Linda on said:

      Full disclosureI am a long-time fan of Sujata Massey. However, I believe even a reader not familiar with her previous books will agree that she has begun this new series with a home run. Set in early-1900s Bombay, the story revolves around a unique main character. Perveen Mistry is a young Parsi woman who has managed to become the first female solicitor in Bombay with Oxford credentials, no less. Ms. Massey does an excellent job introducing her characters, the multi-faceted culture, and the hist [...]

    26. Belle on said:

      What an awesome start to a series!For readers of The Dry and Aaron Falk, this book is a good selection.This story opens on the first female attorney in Bombay in the 1920s, Miss Perveen Mistry. I compare it to The Dry because it also starts the series with a backstory. I thought that was unusual in The Dry. I did like the treatment of the backstory in The Widows much better.The story alternates between 1921 and 1915. In 1921 we learn about Perveen's life as a lawyer and her case for 3 widows who [...]

    27. Alicia on said:

      wordnerdy/2018/01I think this book is the start of a new series—or anyway, I hope it is, because I enjoyed it a lot. It’s set in 1920s Bombay, and centers on a young woman who is Bombay's first female lawyer (working for her awesome supportive lawyer father). Her gender comes in handy when some discrepancies pop up concerning a Muslim estate whose three widows live in purda (seclusion)—and then there’s a murder. This is all interspersed with flashbacks to a dark time in her past. She als [...]

    28. Marzie on said:

      I received a Digital Review Copy from Edelweiss+ and a paper ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.4.5 StarsI thoroughly enjoyed The Widows of Malabar Hill, less for its mystery aspect than for the fascinating insights into the Parsi culture of early 20th Century Bombay/Mumbai. A mystery about the fate of three Muslim widows is the central mystery but the personal history of lawyer/de facto detective Perveen Mistry was more of a draw for me. Massey, an experienced author who en [...]

    29. Jessica on said:

      The writing was engaging and the worldbuilding and characters were interesting, but alas, this was not for me.1) Massive flashbacks sprinkled throughout. I can see how the unpeeling-the-onion effect can appeal to authors, but as a reader I almost always find that they interrupt the flow.2) I'm not a huge lit fic/women's lit fan, and that was the genre the flashbacks were written in. The historical and cultural stuff was interesting, but I'd rather read non-fic for that content.3) I'm not a huge [...]

    30. Amelia on said:

      This would have been a thoroughly enjoyable book if it weren't for the heavy barrage of as-you-know-Bobs in the first few chapters. Science fiction and fantasy writers are told to go easy on the explanations of what things are, to tell only what is absolutely necessary. I really wish that this author had dropped in more without explanation. Even if most of the terms weren't already familiar to me, I think that I could have figured out enough from context and if not, there's the glossary. Failing [...]

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