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?