The Widows of Malabar Hill
by Sujata Massey
From The Jacket:
Sujata Massey (Agatha and Macavity Award–winning author of the Rei Shimura series) brings us a delightful new mystery set in 1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s rst female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows liv- ing in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous.

Explore 1920s Bombay alongside crime fiction’s most appealing new heroine, the plucky and determined Perveen Mistry. At the opening of The Widows of Malabar Hill (Soho Crime| January 9th, 2018) we find Perveen working in the office of her father, a wealthy and respected Parsi barrister. Perveen, Oxford-educated and multilingual, is Bombay’s only female solicitor. She has a passion for the law and for helping people, but she also has a dark secret in her past that makes her uniquely suited to her career—an abusive marriage that ended in violent tragedy. As a member of India’s Zoroastrian minority, she can never divorce or remarry—but she can devote her life to helping other women in trouble.

One day when she is executing the otherwise normal will of a client, Perveen discovers something strange. The late Mr. Omar Farid, a very wealthy Muslim businessman, has left behind three widows, all of whom have signed away their inheritance to a charity. The three women live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, veiled and never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking with men—and Perveen can tell from the “X” signature that at least one of these women probably could not read the contract she signed. Perveen suspects something sinister is happening. These women would be defenseless against any ill- intentioned “guardian” working on their behalf. Perveen encounters hostility as soon as she starts investigating her suspicions, and she hasn’t gotten very far before the sticky situation escalates to murder. Not everyone in Bombay is willing to respect a female lawyer—some would rather see her dead than succeed. But Perveen will not give up until her clients are safe from further harm. The melting pot of Bombay in the 1920s, with its changing politics and religious and cultural diversity, provides a fascinating backdrop for Perveen Mistry’s first investigation, which sparkles with rich setting detail and is redolent with the fragrances of Parsi cooking. The Widows of Malabar Hill is sure to delight fans of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books and more than a few discerning Masterpiece Mystery fans.

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