The Satapur Moonstone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 May 2019

Member Reviews

I enjoyed this second book in the Massey’s Perveen Mistry series. She offers an intriguing view into Indian society in the early Twentieth century. the country is on the edge of change so we see the last hurrah of the British Empire in India.  We see the situation of women both in the traditional ways and in the changing world. The main character, the first women’s lawyer in Bombay, has access to the secret secluded world of women as well as to the  changing western influenced society.  The contrasts are very interesting and when combined with a mystery it works to give the reader a delightful exotic experience.
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It took me a little while to get into this, but once I did, I enjoyed it. This is the second book in the series and seemed to be getting more into its stride. The mystery itself was more of the focus rather than the set up of Perveen which helped. I'm not sure I'll rush back for the next one in this series, but if it comes my way, I'll happily read it.
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Perveen Mistry is one of the few women lawyers in 1920's Bombay. Perveen is hired by the British government to negotiate with two women in a remote region who live in purdah (seclusion). The ladies in question are the mother and grandmother of an under-age maharaja, and they are disagreeing strongly about his education.  Perveen is sent to Satapur to interview both queens and other persons such as the boy's tutor and the prime minister, and to try to get them to come to an accord about his schooling. But when she arrives, she learns that there is more at work here than just a feuding mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Full of intrigue, poison, mysterious deaths, and exotic locations, this is a multi-layered mystery that also touches on issues of India's independence, women's rights, and the modern world barging into traditional societies.

For me, this second Perveen mystery was not as strong as the first.  There were some thin places in the plot and some decisions by the characters that did not make sense. Perveen seems clumsy and not as polished as she was in the previous book.  But the setting, the time period, and Perveen herself are interesting enough to appeal to many readers, and book clubs will find a lot to discuss.
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Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer takes her legal skills on the road to a remote principality of Satapur.  Traveling during the rainy season into the lush, remote Sahyadri mountains Perveen encounters Satapur’s two maharanis, the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law. The royal ladies are are at logger heads over the dispute over the education of the young crown prince. With murders hinted at and powerful men trying to dismiss our hero's role as the representative of the British Raj, Perveen must decide who to trust ad who to fear while continuing her dance between being a modern woman of 1922 and  conforming with conventions to achieve results. If you liked Widows of Malabar or are interested in interwar India, you will find this a good read.
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I'm so glad that I found this series. Taking place in 1922 India, the setting is vibrant and the characters rich. Perveen Mistry goes to mediate between a dowager queen and daughter in law over the education of the crown prince. During this visit someone tries to poison her. 
Perveen is a wonderful character who gets to heart of the matter and is willing to overlook gossip regarding a person. 
I took away a star because I missed Bombay and all of its characters. And I'm not looking forward to her star- crossed relationship with an Englishman. I can feel the pain coming.
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THE SATAPUR MOONSTONE by Sujata Massey (The Widows of Malabar Hill) is the newest mystery story about Preveen Mistry set in 1920's India.  Once again, Massey has crafted a complex story filled with historical perspective, particularly about British rule and the inheritance of power by local maharajas. When both the grandmother and the recently widowed mother of a young Indian prince of Satapur write to the British civil service for help in settling the difference in views on how (and where) the young man will be schooled, Bombay's female lawyer, Preveen Mistry, is asked to visit the palace and to make a recommendation. It's a difficult journey and her welcome is not particularly warm – in fact, she is almost poisoned and danger definitely lurks for her and the maharaja. Featuring a strong, independent sleuth, THE SATAPUR MOONSTONE received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.  Hints at future adventures have this reader already looking forward to the next in the series by Massey, an award winning author.
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This much anticipated 2nd installment in this series is worth the wait. Set in 1922 India, The Satapur Moonstone brings back Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer. This time she is called upon to travel to the small state of Satapur, where two maharinis cannot agree on the fate of the state’s next heir. Because the maharinis live in purdah (sequestered from men), Perveen is the only one available to negotiate directly with the two women. She soon discovers that the maharajah died mysteriously as did his eldest son, and she soon fears for the life of the next maharaja. Will she uncover the secrets before it is too late?

This is an appealing series, with strong characters, a well-developed suspenseful plot, and a strong sense of place and time. Sujata Massey is a great story teller and her love and respect for her main character comes shining through. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and this one is even better. I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, mysteries and those who loves books about exotic locations.
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I was fascinated by the glimpse of historic India that was shown in Sujata Massey's first Perveen Mistry book, The Widows of Malabar Hill. I had great expectations of the second book and I'm happy to say that they have been fully realized. The Satapur Moonstone is completely different but no less engrossing than the first book. In fact, because this book does not go back and forth in time like the first did, I think the characters in the main mystery were a little more fully fleshed out. Massey writes with great skill that makes us feel at least a glimmer of understanding for sinners and saints alike in the story.

The book opens with solicitor Perveen Mistry being offered a job on behalf of the British government to travel to Satapur for the purpose of settling a dispute over the education of the underage crown prince. Perveen meets new people and discovers the hardships of living in the isolated mountains. When she finally arrives at the palace, she finds suspicions and secrets around every corner. Is the ruling family the victim of a curse or someone in the palace plotting against them?

There are so many intriguing facets to this story of jealousy and revenge that I can't list them all here. I know very little about India and reading Massey's books is a great way to become an armchair tourist. It's a fascinating place with so much history. I am looking forward to the third book with equally great expectations.
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Perveen Mistry’s position as the only female lawyer in 1921 Bombay keeps her services in demand. When Sir David Hobson-Jones, the governor’s chief councillor, asks her to investigate a legal matter for the Kolhapur Agency, a British civil service branch, she’s wary of getting into bed with India’s colonizers. It’s a lucrative, prestigious short-term opportunity, however, and she feels compelled to accept. The maharaja of the small princely state of Satapur is a ten-year-old boy, and his widowed mother and grandmother disagree on his education. Because they live in purdah, a woman lawyer is the best choice as mediator. While this premise is similar to the series opener, The Widows of Malabar Hill, Perveen quickly finds herself in a very different situation that tests her physical strength and negotiating skills and lands her into danger.

Massey devotes ample time to illustrating the politics and culture of a remote Indian princely state and the personalities of a new cast before introducing the mystery, which emerges midway through. This may unsettle genre readers who expect a more standard detective story, but it lets the investigation unfold organically. The maharaja Jiva Rao’s older brother and father both died well before their time; the palace servants blame a curse. Perveen comes to suspect a more human cause, and she worries for the boy’s safety. Even before the mystery begins, a sense of uneasiness arises because Perveen is out of her element. She must travel by palanquin through the jungle to the palace, which she finds awkward and embarrassing, and endures the dowager maharani’s rude comments on her Parsi customs. The characters, even the unpleasant ones, are all intriguing, from the snobby royals to compassionate political agent Colin Sandringham. Perveen clearly wants to see more of him, her complicated marital status notwithstanding, and readers will too.

(from the Historical Novels Review, May 2019)
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The second book in the Perveen Mistry series had several things I enjoyed about the first: a setting and time period we don't often get to read about, interesting historical details, and a strong-minded female lead. However, I felt this book moved a little too slowly for my taste. Most of the plot takes place in two locations, and it is very conversation-heavy. Some of the conversation and inner monologue also felt stilted. I've know from the beginning that this isn't a series I would suggest to someone who wants lots of action, but I think the combination of so many characters, political hierarchy, and low levels of action made it a little harder for me to get through than the first. I'll still continue to read this series and definitely will recommend it to people, especially historical or even cozy readers who want something new and interesting.
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Perveen Mistry, Esquire, is one of the few female lawyers in 1920s India. While this often makes people skeptical or rude towards her, she has an advantage none of the male lawyers have: she can discuss legal matters with women who observe purdah.  The British government, who rule India, employ Perveen to go to the distant Indian kingdom of Satapur. 

Located in a dense jungle and accessed by treacherous routes, Perveen is traveling to provide counsel regarding the education of a young maharaja. Satapur has undergone much strife in the last two years. First the maharaja dies, leaving behind his teenage son as his heir, only for the son to die in a tragic hunting accident shortly after. Now the two dowager maharanis bicker about how the new young maharaja will be educated. When Perveen arrives, she knows there is something afoot in the Satapur palace. Can she determine what dark forces lie in the shadows before another death can occur?

The second in the Perveen Mistry series, "The Satapur Moonstone" is a fascinating and intriguing mystery full of twists, turns, and secrets, with prose that contains lush descriptions, a wide array of remarkable characters, and a plethora of clues for the reader to find. Perfect for fans of Miss Fisher and Maggie Hope, "The Satapur Moonstone" does not disappoint and will keep you guessing until the very end.
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I loved this even more than the first one!  Mysteries at every turn, who can Perveen trust?  I really loved the tension between old and new, tradition and modernization, and the feminist spirit in this book.  I hope there are more in this series and look forward to reading more about Perveen and Colin?!
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Inspired by a real person, Perveen Mistry, book  2 of the  series, is a good follow up to the first.. The book was an easy read, and kept my interest to the end.
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Even better than the first in the series because less time needed to be spent on the backstory of the main character, leaving the focus on the mystery itself.  Fascinating historical and cultural observations about the princely states under the British Raj and the stirrings of Indian nationalism are worked seamlessly into the story.  My only disappointment - that I'll have to wait for the next in the series to be published!  Highly recommended.
Review based on an ARC through NetGalley.
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This series is so great! It's Massey's second mystery series, so there's none of the floundering that sometimes happens at the beginning of a new author's first series. I kind of hope Perveen branches out from being the woman lawyer who gets called in to solve the mystery when there are women who observe purdah involved, but at the same time it was interesting to see how the custom varies so much for the women in the two books.
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Can't Sujata Massey write any faster? I've already had the pleasure of reading her second Perveen Mistry mystery (coming out in May) which means it's a long wait for the next book in the series. Dang.

"The Widows of Malabar Hill" introduced Perveen Mistry, Esq., a "lady lawyer" in 1920s Bombay. She attended Oxford and has joined her father's law firm. In the Widows, she was tasked with entering the zanana of a wealthy Muslim family to interview the widows of a wealthy man whose will was being disputed. Since no man can approach ladies in purdah, the job falls to one of the very few female attorneys in town, Perveen.

In "The Satapur Moonstone," her sex is again to her advantage as she is asked to meet with the widows and mother of the ruler of a small, remote princely state, where the Hindu women also live in purdah. The British entity in charge of this state has received letters from both the mother and grandmother of the 10-year-old maharajah asking for opposite solutions to his education. Perveen is placed in charge of deciding how the child will be educated. No fan of British rule, she sees this as an opportunity for an Indian to help a young Indian ruler. Oh, and there's also the suggestion that the child's life is in danger.

Massey effortlessly weaves in information about traditions of different Hindu castes, her place as a Parsi--a Zoroastrian--and the extraordinary wealth of these states. Their prejudice regarding different castes and how someone's caste is their fate. Not very flattering, but very, very  interesting and true to the period.

Like The Widows, there's no slack in The Satapur Moonstone. Every page is full. And even though this is a satisfyingly big book, it could even be longer because I hated for it to be over. 

So get cracking, Sujata. Perveen's fans are waiting for her third adventure.
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The Satupur Moonstone is another very good novel from Sujata Massey featuring intrepid female lawyer Perveen Mistry. In this second instalment Perveen is required to enter a royal household where the female royals live in Purdah, to try and restore peace between the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law as they argue about the young Maharaja's education amid a backdrop of suspicious deaths.

Like 'The Widows of Malabar Hill' this was a very readable book with a range of interesting characters and it moved a long at a good pace, I didn't find it quite as compelling as TWOMH but I will certainly continue to read these novels and to recommend them.
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Well researched and well written with a relatable heroine; however, very slow moving. It was difficult to get beyond the first 100 pages. The author is obviously setting up events and characters for future books, but needs a bit more action at the beginning.
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The second book in this series is just as good as the first. Now I must wait anquishly for the third.
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This is the second in a mystery series, set on 1920’s India.  Preveen Mistry is a lawyer from Bombay, sent to work out a compromise regarding a young Maharaja’s future schooling.  Preveen quickly realizes there are more serious issues, including the death of the Maharaja’s older brother.  I highly recommend this series, which offers a detailed look into pre-independence India, it’s culture and various religions and traditions.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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