The Widow’s of Malabar Hill is a mystery … not my usual genre. In fact, I think it may be the first time I have read a mystery since I gave up on a Nancy Drew book my aunt lent me when I was a pre-teen.
The prose wasn’t as lyrical as the fantasy and sci-fi I enjoy, but that might be a function of it being a mystery? I don’t know. Have I mentioned I have never read a mystery?
The setting is what drew me in: 1920s Bombay under the British occupation. The politics of the time and place was striking. In between the Great Wars, with the British, Hindus, Muslims, Parsi, (and more!) all intermingling, it was as dramatic a melting pot–or stew pot–as anything in the U.S.. Perhaps more so, because there is long history of antagonisms between all the groups. The protagonist is a Parsi woman, and I loved seeing her perspective, and that it wasn’t told from the point of view of a British protagonist. (I love you Brits, but it is nice to see India through Indian eyes.) Caste differences, gender roles, religious clashes are all here.
The heroine is both believably flawed and likable, the author’s portrayal of her relationship with the British is complicated and understandable.
I liked it enough to get the next two from my public library, and I hope there are more in the series!