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The Satapur Moonstone
Cover of The Satapur Moonstone
The Satapur Moonstone
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The highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed novel The Widows of Malabar Hill.
India, 1922: It is rainy season in the lush, remote Sahyadri mountains, where the princely state of Satapur is tucked away. A curse seems to have fallen upon Satapur's royal family, whose maharaja died of a sudden illness shortly before his teenage son was struck down in a tragic hunting accident. The state is now ruled by an agent of the British Raj on behalf of Satapur's two maharanis, the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law.

The royal ladies are in a dispute over the education of the young crown prince, and a lawyer's counsel is required. However, the maharanis live in purdah and do not speak to men. Just one person can help them: Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer. Perveen is determined to bring peace to the royal house and make a sound recommendation for the young prince's future, but she arrives to find that the Satapur palace is full of cold-blooded power plays and ancient vendettas. Too late, she realizes she has walked into a trap. But whose? And how can she protect the royal children from the palace's deadly curse?
The highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed novel The Widows of Malabar Hill.
India, 1922: It is rainy season in the lush, remote Sahyadri mountains, where the princely state of Satapur is tucked away. A curse seems to have fallen upon Satapur's royal family, whose maharaja died of a sudden illness shortly before his teenage son was struck down in a tragic hunting accident. The state is now ruled by an agent of the British Raj on behalf of Satapur's two maharanis, the dowager queen and her daughter-in-law.

The royal ladies are in a dispute over the education of the young crown prince, and a lawyer's counsel is required. However, the maharanis live in purdah and do not speak to men. Just one person can help them: Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer. Perveen is determined to bring peace to the royal house and make a sound recommendation for the young prince's future, but she arrives to find that the Satapur palace is full of cold-blooded power plays and ancient vendettas. Too late, she realizes she has walked into a trap. But whose? And how can she protect the royal children from the palace's deadly curse?
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  • From the book 1
    The Riding Ring

    Perveen Mistry sighed, adjusting her hat on her sweating brow. It was six-thirty in the morning and already eighty-two degrees. Cantering around the riding ring at the Royal Western India Turf Club, never quite keeping up with her friend Alice, was vigorous exercise.
    Alice Hobson-Jones was cantering on a large bay, Kumar, who had been born from racing stock. He'd wound up as an exercise horse because his stature was a few hands too short for the racetrack. Still, Kumar was a prince of a horse, and since Alice was almost six feet tall, their union dominated the ring.
    Perveen, five feet three inches, had been delighted to be assigned a female pony, which she had assumed would be gentler. Dolly was so short Perveen had been able to swing herself over the saddle without being propped up by the grooms, an awkward ritual she'd had to repeat most of the times she'd ridden. However, the little horse was hardly amenable to the directions Perveen tapped out with her feet. She was no horsewoman, and it seemed that Dolly sensed it.
    Still, this horseback ride was less frightening than the times Perveen had ridden huge animals during house-party weekends Alice had brought her to in England. Now the shoe was on the other foot. Perveen had come home to practice law in Bombay, and Alice was on an extended visit trying to find a teaching position. In a city where the Mistrys had resided for almost 350 years, Perveen's family connections opened doors, and it looked likely that Alice would be hired as a lecturer in mathematics at Wilson College.
    Alice had campaigned hard to get Perveen to awaken early enough to ride at six o'clock three times that week. At the outset, it had seemed like a pleasant idea. The rains had stopped, making the city navigable, although as the sun rose, it became a hot and windy place again.
    As Perveen came around the ring, she noticed Alice's father, Sir David Hobson-Jones, standing at the edge. He was a Western India Turf Club trustee, despite the fact that he'd been in Bombay for only two years. That was the kind of thing that happened when one was part of the governor's ring of top three councillors.
    Sir David smiled, making a sweeping gesture with his hand. Perveen trotted around the ring, concentrating on keeping her back straight. As she passed Sir David, he made the same gesture, only more vigorously.
    He was calling her over.
    She felt her stomach sink. Perhaps he'd come to say someone in the club had complained about an Indian rider; she was the only one she'd seen.
    Perveen hated to kick the filly, but this was the way she'd been taught to make horses move. Dolly ignored her. It was not until Perveen kicked a few more times that the horse reluctantly walked from the ring into the area near the gate where grooms waited to assist. A scrawny boy held the horse while she half-fell off. She was brushing her dusty hands on the sides of her split skirt when Sir David strolled up. He wore a sharp white suit that looked utterly unsuitable for riding.
    "Good morning, Sir David. Did you ride earlier?" She tried to sound less shaken than she felt. If Perveen was going to be thrown out of the European-established club because of her race, she could not let the matter pass without protest. But Sir David didn't know she was a member of the Indian National Congress, an all-Indian group advocating for civil rights. He understood only that she was his daughter Alice's former classmate at Oxford, a young woman who was rising in Bombay's legal scene.
    He shook his head. "I came for a quick breakfast before going over to the Secretariat. The...
About the Author-
  • Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before becoming a full-time novelist. Her novels have won the Agatha and Macavity awards and been finalists for the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark prizes. The first Perveen Mistry novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, was an international bestseller. Visit her website at sujatamassey.com.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2018

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 18, 2019
    Set in 1922, Edgar finalist Massey’s second whodunit featuring Bombay attorney Perveen Mistry is even better than the series’ impressive debut, 2018’s The Widows of Malabar Hill. Sir David Hobson-Jones, a top adviser to the governor of India, approaches Perveen, who has bucked gender prejudices to become one of India’s only female lawyers, on behalf of the Kolhapur Agency, a British civil service entity in need of a legal investigator to handle a delicate situation in the small state of Satapur. The state’s two maharanis are involved in a bitter debate over where the current maharajah, 10-year-old Jiva Reo, should be educated. Because the maharanis avoid contact with men, the authorities view Perveen as the ideal person to talk with them and issue an educational recommendation. Despite her misgivings at working for her country’s occupiers, Perveen accepts the assignment, only to learn that the two previous rulers of Satapur died within the last two years, leading her to fear that Reo is also at risk. The winning, self-sufficient Perveen should be able to sustain a long series. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary.

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Sujata Massey
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