I’m a terrible sleuth. I was once pranked by someone hiding all of my belongings in a different dorm room and it took me 10 years to figure out that the person who told me about it was the culprit. This is why I read mystery novels. I need to have faith that someone out there can solve these brain teasers, be it Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade or the protagonist in Sujata Massey’s latest novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, Perveen Mistry. They and the writers behind them affirm that we’re not all clueless.
Long-time Baltimore resident and Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars graduate Massey sets her lush new mystery in Bombay in the 1920s. It follows Mistry as she moves from the office of her father, a Parsi lawyer, to her adventures. Following an inspection of a client’s will, she discovers irregularities with how the client’s three widows—all of whom live in purdah, or seclusion—have signed away their respective inheritances to charity.