The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s India)

Entertaining books do not need to be literary gems. I got more enjoyment out of this moderately-written one than many of the high falutin’ tomes I’ve digested lately. Massey covers the effects of colonialism and feminism in 1920s India in this mystery. Amanda Nelson described it as “a sneaky feminist masterpiece wrapped up in a cozy whodunnit.” Murder, near murder, Muslim widows in seclusion and morning, Bombay’s first woman lawyer, a romance turned sour and horrid in-laws whose religious practices forced the bride to sequester herself in a stinky cell for 8 days during her menstruation (apparently still a thing with Parsi hard liners!). The story is well paced, the mystery clues dropped delicately in the cracks of the story. The push for Indian independence is hinted at, but you see the white English juxtaposed against the Hindi and Muslims.