Wednesday, the 30th of December, and time for Shelf Control once again–the last one of 2020 if you can believe it! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today my pick is a relatively newer acquisition and not surprisingly once again a mystery–The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey. Last year I read and reviewed A Murder at Malabar Hill which was the first in this series set in 1920s India featuring the fictional Pervin Mistry, India’s first female lawyer (based on the real-life Cornelia Sorabji and Mithan Tata Lam). Pervin has struggled against all odds (though she does belong to a relatively well-to-do family of lawyers) to get her degree but can’t practice since female lawyers are not socially accepted at this point. So she joins her father’s firm where as luck is on her side, a case comes in involving three purdhnashin widows (in seclusion), who only she can speak to being a woman. Of course, there is a murder mystery involved which she solves as well. Alongside we go back in time and learn more about Pervin’s life so far. This was a book I really enjoyed and so when the sequel came out, of course I had to get it. I bought this one around mid-October.

This, the second installment, take us to 1922, and to a fictional princely state. India had around 560 princely states until independence, and though most were in an alliance with the British, their internal matters were largely their own. In this book, we travel to Satapur, a princely state in the Sahyadri Mountains where after the Maharaja and his teenage son’s death, the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law rule. A lawyer is found to be required when the two ladies end up in a dispute over the young crown prince’s education. Of course the Maharanis live in purdah, and so it must be a woman lawyer who meets them–and that of course is Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer. In the Satapur Palace, Pervin finds cold-blooded power play and vendettas. Before long she falls into a trap–can she escape and save the royal children?

From reviews, it seems this installment is not as enjoyable as the first one though it is still a good one. And since I enjoyed the first one so much and love historical mysteries, I do want to give this one a try. What interests me most is the setting in a princely state–I know of them but would want to know what life there was really like–not very pleasant it seems from teh description. A third installment in this series also featuring a Prince, The Bombay Prince is supposed to come out next year.

Have you read this one? How did you like it? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Find Lisa’s pick this week, Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris here.

Book info and cover image from Goodreads here

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