Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Books: India in 1922 mystery and my garden peacock

 

The Sutapur Moonstone is written by Sujata Massey. I find India in 1922 to be fascinating, and add to that time and place Perveen Mistry, one of India’s first female lawyers, a ten year old Maharaja someone is trying to murder, the two fiercely competing Maharinis (his grandmother and mother) who live in purdah isolated from men, in two palaces, and you have all the ingredients for a book of adventures. Who can Perveen trust? Is there a love interest for her? Palanquins, the tiny enclosed seats carried by four men, feature prominently in the story, as do tigers lurking in the jungle near the palaces, and Perveen as a woman who works for rights for other women. 


 

I recommend you read the first book in the series, The Widows of Malabar Hill, as it shows us Perveen’s first assignment, visiting widows in danger who are living in purdah. I think The Sutapur Moonstone would make a good movie, with its beautiful settings in the old palaces, the hunting lodge in the forest, the beautiful clothing and jewels, a poisoner in the palaces, and the 10 year old maharajah in danger.

The author, Sujata Massey, has an interesting background. I belong to a group that reads British books and she is hard to classify as to her nationality as an author. Born in England to parents from India and Germany she grew up in Minnesota and lives in Maryland. So is she a British author? I would think British since she was born in England, unless she has changed her citizenship. Just an interesting question, not too important in the grand scheme of things. But in the group where we read books by British authors, sometimes it is hard to classify an author. I cataloged books at a university for many years and this point is of interest in determining how to catalog an author. I think of Bill Bryson as an American author, although he lives in the U.K. and recently got British citizenship. Artists too can be hard to classify as they move from country to country. Think of El Greco or Picasso. One question in my librarian job I occasionally faced was when an author changed his or her citizenship.

On a fun note, related to this theme of India, look what I ordered today for my garden, a metal gorgeous peacock. I will put it in my garden next to my patio, where I can see it easily. It has solar light in it so will look pretty at night. What do you think?





24 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - the book looks fascinating ... and I've noted to read. I do wonder how she writes ... whether it's got more of an American overtone, rather than a British one - but what a great post to read about. Thanks ... and I love the peacock -looks so pretty ... enjoy it ... all the best - Hilary

Linda said...

I love the peacock!! Leah (niece) and Sherry both love all things peacock!
Real ones so a lot of screaming!

DawnTreader said...

Interesting question. I haven't read these books, but it does sound like the cultural perspective is likely to be more British/Indian than American. (Whether that is also reflected in the language used would probably affect my impression, too.)

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Ohhhh that will be lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!

those books do sound interesting. Speaking of filming it, reminds me of Agatha Christie books, set in hot climates. And filmed...

🍁✨🍂✨🍁

Lini said...

I've read all of Sujata Massey's first series with Rei Shimura as the female lead. Rei is a Japanese/American but most of the books are set in Japan. They are first rate stories with interesting characters and plots.I'm really looking forward to this Indian series as Ms Massey is a really good writer.

Ann said...

The books sound interesting. Love that peacock. It's very pretty

Betsy said...

Love that peacock! It will definitely brighten up your garden.
Blessings,
Betsy

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TheAwakenedSoul said...

It's really pretty. That sounds like an interesting book.

Marcia said...

I have read the first book in that series and it was an interesting view into life in India at that time. I'll note the second one and see if I can find it. Thanks.

NanaDiana said...

Love your peacock. I am re-reading all the old Catherine Cookson novels. She was also an English writer and I have so enjoyed reading her books again.
BTW, when I reply to your emails they just bounce back to me as undeliverable for some reason. xo Diana

kath001 said...

I'll have to look for this series, thanks. And the peacock is gorgeous -- and it won't annoy your neighbors with its screeching. :) Hoo boy, the live ones can make an intolerable racket.

At Home In New Zealand said...

Your peacock is very pretty :)

Margaret D said...

Pretty bird is the peacock.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

Interesting to see you reading Indian authors writing in English. While I admire them their creativity, works in Indian languages are far more interesting to readers like me. I do read Indian authors writing in English but almost always non fiction. I don't read fiction any way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Majestic is a word that springs to mind. How will it withstand the weather?

Buttercup said...

This looks great. I'm always on the lookout for new mysteries and it's a great recommendation to post on Coffee Light.

Kay said...

I think that garden sculpture is strikingly beautiful. What a coincidence that my cousin just sent us a video of some peacocks they saw here in Hawaii walking around the parking lot. Wow! I’ve never seen wild peacocks around here. They are noisy though. I’m glad your peacock will be quiet.

Jeanie said...

I've not heard of this before. Thanks for the recommendation -- it looks fascinating.

Green Girl said...

My book club read The Widows of Malabar Hill and passed around the sequel. It's such a great look at history AND culture, really loved these reads and I hope Sujata Massey writes MORE!

roughterrain crane said...

Autumn is a good season to read books. I have not read mysteries for a long time. I will try one.
Thanks for you leaving a comment on my post.

mamasmercantile said...

Love the peacock you have on order, so pretty.

Laurie said...

Wonderful book suggestions and a beautiful peacock, who could ask for more!

Pam said...

I'd have thought she was more American than anything else, if she's lived there since childhood. How awful about your fires!