The Bombay Prince [Sujata Massey]

Date Started: 20 July 2021

Date Completed: 23 July 2021

Goodreads Summary:

India’s only female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule. Sujata Massey is back with this third installment to the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series set in 1920s Bombay.

November, 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a four-month tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Perveen, who strongly identified with Freny—another young Parsi woman fighting hard against the confines of society’s rules and expectations—feels terribly guilty for failing to help her. Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest, and when Freny’s death is ruled a murder, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?

Goodreads: The Bombay Prince

Notes:

  • This was quite good as a historical novel and quite weird as a murder mystery. The motive couldn’t have been worked out, the bombing subplot went nowhere (that I can remember now…), and I wish there had been more of Alice.
  • The subplots that the book did focus on were the ones I wasn’t too interested in (and yes, that’s my problem and not Sujata Massey’s): racism at the club, the unjustness of the police force, and the inadequacy of the Prince of Wales.
  • But now I do wonder if objectively, the book spread itself too thin, covering too many subplots with not enough resolution.
  • I suppose Sujata Massey also had trouble writing through a pandemic and I should cut her some slack.
  • That romance subplot though.

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