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Reading journal: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

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Genre: Mystery/Historical Published: 2018 Read: February 2018 Perveen Mistry is one of the first women lawyers in India, working in her father’s practice in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1921. Paperwork around an inheritance leads her to help three Muslim widows living in seclusion and vulnerable to exploitation. A second thread of flashbacks exposes the collapse of Perveen’s own marriage some years earlier. A meaty story with many interesting characters and a firm historical background. Massey describes India under British rule, long before independence or partition. As a lawyer Perveen must deal with the languages and legal systems appropriate to particular religions and ethnic groups. Massey depicts this rich cultural mix as well as exploring the strictures around women and marriage. Highly recommended.