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Interviews & Media Coverage

Talking character, inspiration with Sujata Massey, author of Moira’s Book Club pick The Widows of Malabar Hill, Seattle Times

Meet the Author (Ridgewood, NJ, Public Library):

Q&A with Sujata Massey, The Christian Science Monitor

Sujata Massey explores what being an ethical person means to Perveen Mistry in her second case, The Hindu

Turning Pages, Baltimore Style (PDF)

Autumn Privett & Kendra Winchester interview Sujata about The Satapur Moonstone, Reading Women

WYPR interview (audio)

Q&A: Sujata Massey, Reading Women

How to cook up a character: A novelist recounts a culinary adventure that helped her re-discover Mumbai from across the ocean, The Hindu

Q&A with Sujata Massey, Baltimore Fishbowl

A Parsi lawyer’s tale, Asian Age

An Enduring Mistry: Interview with Sujata Massey, India Today

Mystery Novel By Author Sujata Massey Takes Us Into 20th Century Bombay, Mid-Day

Sujata Massey’s Sister Widows by Claire Kirch, Publishers Weekly

A Defining Life by Jeanne E. Fredriksen, India Currents

“I Longed To Have India In My Life!” by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena, Verve

Living in the Past: History buffs will love the journalist-turned-author’s novel which is packed with vivid details about Bengal in the 1930s by Jayanthi Madhukar, Bangalore Mirror (JPG)

Coming of Age in the City of Joy by Smriti Lamech, The New Indian Express (Chennai) (JPG)

Tryst With Reality by Trisha Mukherjee, The Pioneer (New Delhi) (JPG)

Love in Times of Struggle by Aditi Pancholi, Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad) and Asian Age (New Delhi) (JPG)

The Art of Survival: a review of The City of Palaces (the Indian edition of The Sleeping Dictionary) by Gayatri Jayaraman, India Today (PDF)

An excerpt from The City of Palaces appeared in The Telegraph (Kolkata) (JPG)

Cooking the Family Way: Baltimore author Sujata Massey includes recipes in her latest book by Jane Marion, Baltimore Magazine

Sujata on WYPR’s Maryland Morning (audio)

Award-winning Baltimore crime novelist Sujata Massey turns to historical fiction by Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun

Far East meets Midwest in Minnesota library on South Asia by Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Mystery writer looks to Japan’s quirks by Foster Klug, Japan Times

Adaptation: Baltimore Mystery Writer Sujata Massey Talks About Oysters, War Brides, and Fusion Cuisine in Her New Novel, The Pearl Diver by Lizzie Skurnick, Baltimore City Paper

Mysterious Ways by Nakasha Ahmad, Nirali Magazine

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin takes a close look at Sujata Massey’s Hawaiian mystery research in this news story.

Reviews

The Satapur Moonstone:

“Set in 1922, Edgar finalist Massey’s second whodunit featuring Bombay attorney Perveen Mistry is even better than the series’ impressive debut… The winning, self-sufficient Perveen should be able to sustain a long series.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Massey does a superb job of combining a fascinating snapshot into 1920s British-ruled India with a top-notch mystery. She has created a strong, appealing heroine who is forging her own path in a rapidly changing world… Highly recommended for fans of other intrepid women sleuths such as Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody and Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“[A] well-researched and convincing historical adventure.”
Wall Street Journal

“The heat, chaos, confusion and richness of India has given rise to a new arena of crime writing, and Sujata Massey emerges as one of the very best… Perveen Mistry is exceptional. Bright, brilliantly aware of social nuances and Indian complexity and always, in both novels, at personal risk herself. She must not come to a sticky end for a long time yet, because readers will wish to follow her through many more books. In pressing on they will learn so much about India. And have so much enjoyment.”
Canberra Times (Australia)

“Simply put, The Satapur Moonstone is a flawless gem. Historical mysteries don’t get any better than this.”
New York Journal of Books

“[The Satapur Moonstone] has the most delicious sense of suspense. It’s not necessary to read The Widows of Malabar Hill before undertaking The Satapur Moonstone, but why deny yourself the pleasure of experiencing two excellent novels? Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the third book!”
Kittling Books

The Widows of Malabar Hill:

“[Massey] does a wonderful job of taking life in India at the beginning of the 20th century. She gives enough cultural details without overwhelming readers with facts. The two plotlines wonderfully depict the development of the main character and the mystery as it unfolds… Fresh and original.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“In addition to getting an unusual perspective on women’s rights and relationships, readers are treated to a full view of historical downtown Bombay—the shops and offices, the docks and old fort, and the huge variety of conveyances, characters, and religions—in an unforgettable olio that provides the perfect backdrop to the plot and subplots. Each of the many characters is uniquely described, flaws and all, which is the key to understanding their surprising roles in the well-constructed puzzle.”
Booklist (starred review)

The Widows of Malabar Hill, with its deft prose and well-wrought characters, is a splendid first installment in what promises to be a memorable series.”
Wall Street Journal

“Massey clearly knows just what she’s doing, which is giving readers both a captivating whodunit and a lasting base for more books featuring this same cast of characters. Massey is also making a case for gender equality, religious tolerance and racial harmony and it’s a lovely thing that she does so with such understated persistence—like any good lawyer would do, come to think of it.”
Toronto Globe and Mail

“Perveen’s dogged pursuit of truth and justice for her clients is reminiscent of the debuts of Anne Perry’s Charlotte Ellison Pitt and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. But the multicultural, multi-faith milieu in which Perveen lives, works and attempts to find love both illuminates a bygone era and offers a thoughtful perspective relevant to today’s focus on women’s rights and equality. When this singular heroine and her friend Alice raise their glasses at the end of this rousing novel and toast to ‘the power of women!’ one suspects that there will be a growing legion of readers who heartily agree.”
Los Angeles Times

“Historically grounded moments… give the novel its rich appeal. The Widows of Malabar Hill is woven through with cultural insights… [Perveen] is destined to find a home with fans of like-minded female investigators such as Mary Russell and Maisie Dobbs, whose creators, like Massey, deftly anchor their solid plots in the realities, and challenges, of their times.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“In this first of an involving mystery series, Massey has given us a smart, strong woman in Perveen, who is breaking barriers while she uses her skills at a time when women were expected to stay in the home.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Marvelously plotted, richly detailed… The plot barrels along, picking up cultural complexity and flashbacks to Perveen’s past… Soneela Nankani delivers the general narration in a warm American voice and gives a trim, restrained Indian accent to the dialogue, modulating register to distinguish the characters. This is a first-rate performance inaugurating a most promising series.”
Washington Post (review of the audiobook)

“Searching for a thriller with a feminist heroine? Look no further… The Widows of Malabar Hill contains multitudes, tackling women’s history and rights, while treating readers to a riveting story.”
National Post (Canada)

“Massey’s expertise lies in the way she brings alive a bygone era. The everyday details she uses immediately transport you to the Bombay or Calcutta of the early 1900s. The descriptions of food and the attire of the characters lend authenticity to the setting while also supporting the unfolding plot… Perveen Mistry is a memorable and interesting character whom one hopes to meet again soon when she has yet another mystery to solve.”
The Hindu (India)

“Sujata Massey has created a wonderful character in Perveen Mistry… I read it in one sitting, after a long week at work, with nary a thought to the passage of time or the sleep that was beckoning… In Perveen Mistry, Massey has created a heroine for all ages, one I suspect will endure in the annals of fiction, much like Cornelia Sorabji has in the country’s legal corridors. Delightful read. Highly recommended.”
Deccan Herald (India)

“History, mystery and a sprinkling of feminism, wrapped effectively in legal casing, and weaved into a delicious whodunit—A Murder on Malabar Hill is a page-turner… The sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes and, in this case, the social scene of erstwhile colonial Bombay, are endearingly etched in Perveen’s musings and gallivants across the metropolis… [Perveen is] the desi Miss Marple, an astonishing new heroine.”
The Hindu Business Line (India)

“Expertly combines the delights of Agatha Christie with the period charm of ‘Downton Abbey.'”
The Siasat Daily (India)

“Beautifully written… heralds the arrival of a compelling feminist detective and is a worthy addition to the burgeoning canon of Indian historical mystery fiction.”
Firstpost (India)

“The skillful evocation of an era of political and social churning… sets this far above a mere ‘whodunnit,’ no matter how exotic in time and space. Along with the range of memorably drawn characters—ranging from the widows to the policemen, British and Indian—it is an engaging read with enough matters left unresolved to create interest and anticipation for the next installment.”
Business Standard (India)

“The narrative moves interestingly and Massey steers this work of historical fiction finely, pushing the reader to the edge of their seat, with the turn of every page.”
Verve (India)

“Set in the early decades of the 20th century, in the city once called Bombay, its smart storytelling transforms esoteric legal loopholes into compelling plot devices, a feat expected of the creator of the Rei Shimura mystery series… From the pittance inherited by widows to the problems posed by traditions like the purdah in police investigations, Massey’s novel combines keen detailing of historical fiction with the breezy pace of a whodunit.”
Mint (India)

The Widows of Malabar Hill is my first ‘must-read’ for 2018! Do yourself a favor and grab this up immediately! Then send me a line to tell me how much you loved it, too! I am over here just tap dancing and twiddling my thumbs… anxiously anticipating the next installment in the Perveen Mistry mystery series!”
Ivory Owl Reviews

The Sleeping Dictionary:

“Trapped by her past and uncertain of her future, the peasant girl Kamala’s journey toward independence—personal and political—unfolds in this riveting novel… The Sleeping Dictionary, an utterly engrossing tale of love, espionage, betrayal and survival, is historical fiction at its best, accessible to all audiences.”
Bridget Thoreson, Booklist (starred review)

“Truly a treat… I loved this book for the armchair traveling aspect… and all of the historical detail was really wonderful.”
A Bookish Affair

“This story at turns broke my heart and made me smile and I know I won’t soon forget it… The novel itself is beautifully written and the author brings this time in history alive—so much so that many times I felt as though I was there living and breathing the same air as her characters.”
Peeking Between the Pages

Shimura Trouble:

“The upbeat narrative and resourceful heroine make for an appealing read.”
Kirkus Reviews (April 15, 2008)

“In Agatha-winner Massey’s engaging 10th mystery to feature antiques dealer and part-time spy Rei Shimura, Rei and her father, who’s recovering from a stroke, travel from California to Hawaii for a family celebration with previously unknown Shimura relatives, who turn out to be involved in a legal battle to recover land stolen from them during WWII… An appealing protagonist and memorable supporting characters blend smoothly with lessons in Hawaiian and Japanese history in a tale sure to win new readers for the series.”
Publishers Weekly (March 2, 2008)

“San Francisco undercover agent Rei Shimura has plenty on her plate. Her father, Toshiro, is recovering from a stroke, her long-denied feelings for fellow agent Michael Hendricks keep her love life in turmoil, and she and her father have been invited to a birthday celebration in Hawaii for the patriarch of a brach of the Shimura family that they didn’t know existed. They decide to go to Hawaii to meet ‘the other Shimuras.’ Once there, it’s clear that the long-lost relations have a different agenda: reclaim land they maintain was given to the family decades earlier by a plantation owner. The story gets steadily more complicated, as a mysterious fire, a dead body, a troubled teen, and the Hawaiian mafia all play roles in what turns out to be a story of hidden secrets and deadly consequences. A bit of a departure for this series, both in setting and tone (a little less frenetic than usual), the novel makes the most of its Hawaiian setting, adding a heftier dose of romance to go with the suspense and humor.”
Booklist (March 1, 2008)

Girl in a Box:

“Sujata Massey has worked her award-winning series to be a mirror on the Japan culture as seen through the eyes of an outsider… The result in Massey’s nine novels are an intuitive view of contrasting societies and a young woman trying to find her place in the world. Girl in a Box is a lesson on Japanese retailing, how the kimono and the railroad each contributed to two different types of stores being founded. If that sounds like fodder for a dry business lesson, it’s not. Massey weaves this background into an exciting story that is strong on realistic characters. With Girl in a Box, Massey continues a mini-course in Japanese culture and tradition.”
Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sept. 3, 2006)

“[Rei’s]… risky beginner mistakes add to the suspense of the story, which sparkles as this strong-willed, self-reliant protagonist tries to play the role of a traditional Japanese woman, known as a hako-no-jose, or girl in a box. Filled with tantalizing details of Japanese culture and department stores, this book also teases with the hint of a budding romance… The talented Massey has won the Agatha and Macavity awards for this series. This ninth installment will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers…”
Library Journal (Sept. 1, 2006)

“The reader is immersed in the everyday world of the Japanese worker, from long workdays to the necessity of maintaining a humble demeanor. The likable Rei, who is still getting over a failed romance, must fight a growing attraction to her boss while she tries to find her place in the world as a half-Japanese, half-Asian woman. An increasingly strong series mixing crime and multicultural awareness.”
Booklist (Aug. 1, 2006)

“‘Girl in a Box’ is a Japanese idiom for the sheltered and privileged young lady of good background. Girl in a Box is the latest crime fiction from
Sujata Massey featuring protagonist Rei Shimura. In the nine books of this series Massey has developed a character that is a lot of things but ‘Girl in a Box’ isn’t one of them… Massey has written a story for her reader that is, as the back flap copy says, ‘a delicious blend of mystery and contemporary women’s fiction.’ Rei is all woman when it comes to retail. Ms. Massey revels in the world of the department store, Mitsutan… Her skills as a mystery writer keep me coming back to this series time after time. Girl in a Box tells a sinister tale of Japan’s current geo-economical infrastructure. It’s a story I’ll let you unravel for yourself. Chick Lit with a lot of Ludlum.”
Ruth Jordan, Crimespree (Fall 2006)

“Winning… Readers will find Rei’s cross-cultural escapades as engrossing as the department store’s shenanigans. The minor characters—a clerk with a bitchy attitude, an anxious banker from New Jersey—are as well developed as the delightful heroine.”
Publishers Weekly (July 10, 2006)

“Shopaholic spy infiltrates a suspiciously successful Tokyo department store… A voyeur’s tour of consumption-crazed Tokyo is the real point here, with Rei-san, as always, a companionable guide. ”
Kirkus Reviews

The Typhoon Lover:

“Rei is a fascinating character: bold, unique, spirited and intelligent… Massey makes good use of the clash between American and Japanese cultures as a backdrop for an enjoyable story.”
David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times (Oct. 16, 2005)

“As usual, Massey is masterful at contrasting Japanese and American culture and customs, but Rei remains the glue that holds this delightful series together.”
Jenny McLarin, Booklist

“[I]n The Typhoon Lover… the award-winning Massey delivers a lively, intuitive view of contrasting societies and a young woman trying to find her place in the world. Rei’s vibrant personality, coupled with her intense interest in her Japanese heritage, has always made her one of the most refreshing heroines in mystery fiction.”
Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Oct. 23, 2005)

“Sujata Massey has entertained fans for several years with her tales of engaging Asian-American antique dealer Rei Shimura. The eighth installment, The Typhoon Lover, is sure to please aficionados of the series and bring new fans on board… this is a well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable series.”
Bruce Tierney, Bookpage.com

“[Massey is] on a roll. Her latest novel’s pace is fast and seems to accelerate as the story unfolds. Written in the first person, Rei’s voice is intelligent and honest. She’s not afraid to talk about her fears and foibles… The Typhoon Lover is a satisfying read. At the end you’ll wish you weren’t closing the book.”
Kathleen Lewis, Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) (Oct. 9, 2005)

The Pearl Diver:

“…the author plumbs the depths of Rei’s personal issues connected to marriage and the possibility of motherhood… This novel is beautifully constructed and highly emotional. Massey’s knowledge of Japanese antiques and downtown D.C. enhances the story.”
USA Today (Sept. 9, 2004)

“The clever mix of the… restaurant opening with the serious investigation of a disappearance, perhaps a murder, makes this seventh novel of Ms. Massey’s enthralling. Rei Shimura has grown with each succeeding novel from an unsure young antiques dealer to a capable, self-confident woman ready to take on difficult problems even if they almost kill her.”
Laurie Trimble, Dallas Morning News (August 13, 2004)

“No longer allowed to live in Japan because of a previous misadventure, Rei Shimura is residing in Washington, D.C., with her Scottish fiancé, Hugh Glendinning. Followers of Rei’s adventures will not be surprised that an engagement ring doesn’t necessarily lead to smooth sailing for the volatile couple. As she tries to adjust to life with Hugh, Rei is introduced to Bento, a new Japanese restaurant, by her yuppie American cousin Kendall. When Bento’s eccentric owner Marshall hires Rei to decorate the restaurant, she welcomes the chance to jump-start her Japanese antique dealership in D.C. Impeding her work are Marshall’s incessant demands and a new friendship with a prickly hostess named Andrea. When Kendall is abducted outside of Bento, Rei attempts to find out who took her and why—and then becomes a victim herself. Foodies will love the inside look into the restaurant scene, and Massey fans will delight in the chance to gain more insight into their heroine, Rei.”
Booklist (July 1, 2004)

“Kidnapping, death and intrigue are all on the menu for Rei Shimura in Massey’s winning seventh mystery… Crosscultural misunderstandings and prejudices, plus behind-the-scenes machinations, add spice to an already volatile mix. Adept at crafting dead-on dialogue and juggling serious issues with humor, Massey has produced another triumph.”
Publishers Weekly (July 19, 2004)

The Samurai’s Daughter:

“All California-born Rei Shimura really wants is to lead her quiet life in Tokyo as an antiques dealer while learning more about her Japanese relatives, but Massey, of course, has other plans for her in this abosrbing cross-cultural puzzle… Massey poses some deeply resonating questions about guilt and responsibility, while Rei faces some universal truths about families, loyalty, and dealing with the past, no matter how unpleasant it may be.”
Publishers Weekly (Feb. 24, 2003)

“…Massey is squarely back on track with this sixth, and possibly best, entry in her series starring young Japanese American Rei Shimura. This time the action takes place both in San Francisco, where Rei’s parents reside, and in Rei’s home city of Tokyo. Deciding to take a brief sabbatical from her antiques business, Rei is researching Shimura family history, in particular, how the family lived before dramatic modernization in the 1960s. Rei’s boyfriend, Scottish attorney Hugh Glendinning, is researching a lawsuit that also involves Japanese history: restitution for Asian women forced into prostitution by large Japanese companies during World War II. The couple’s blissful time together is soon shattered when one of Hugh’s clients is killed and another seriously wounded. To make matters worse, both Rei and Hugh’s projects initiate several confrontations with Rei’s Japanese father. Massey deftly weaves fascinating historical and cultural detail into a suspenseful plot. A cliffhanger ending leaves the door open for the series to chart more new territory.”
Booklist (Feb. 15, 2003)

“In her sixth appearance after The Bride’s Kimono, Rei Shimura, a Japanese American antiques dealer and amateur sleuth, contends with Japanese nationalism and the problems it presents… Though this is less light-hearted than earlier entries in Massey’s award-winning series, the characters and details of Japanese culture and history are as appealing as ever, and fans will relish this while awaiting the next one. For all mystery collections.”
Library Journal (Feb. 15, 2003)

The Bride’s Kimono:

“Close attention to background both large (recognizable locations in Washington and northern Virginia) and small (the designer clothes the heroine receives from her mother) helps fix the novel solidly in the real world. But it is the romantic suspense and the multicultural details of customs and attitudes of East and West that will keep most readers turning the pages of this absorbing, sophisticated mystery.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rei gets more appealing with every outing, and in this one Massey ratchets up the romantic tension and action… Nicely plotted, well characterized, and carefully crafted, this may be Massey’s best yet.”
Jane Adams, Amazon.com

The Bride’s Kimono is hip, it’s sexy, it’s fun, and it has some fascinating details about antique kimonos; this is a wonderful series that just keeps getting better and better.”
Writers Write: The Internet Writing Journal

“I have long enjoyed Sujata Massey’s books, and this one was absolutely top-notch. As usual she tells a compelling story, with lots of suspense and particularly well drawn characters.”
Eden Embler, I Love A Mystery

The Floating Girl:

“A sly, humorous look at Japan’s burgeoning anime (comics) phenomenon, with friendly swipes at its xenophobic reactions to outsiders.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The fourth entry in Massey’s series starring Rei Shimura, a Japanese American antiques dealer living in Tokyo, maintains the high standards of its predecessors… With her wry humor and her multicultural background, Rei is one of the most complex female protagonists around. She is Japanese, but she is also an American living in Japan, and this dichotomy gives her observations on Japanese culture a fascinating double edge. Another must-read from an author who has honed the skill of captivating and educating her readers at the same time.”
Booklist

“Massey has a sure hand with her character and the culture. There’s plenty of fascinating tidbits about life abroad, but they never get in the way of the story.”
Roberta Alexander, Contra Costa (Calif.) Times (July 9, 2000)

The Flower Master:

“A harmonious mix… The narrative is enhanced greatly by the richly detailed Tokyo setting, from ancient tea houses to arcane rituals involving the cherry blossom festival… and an appealing sleuth.”
Publishers Weekly

“The writing is as serene and graceful as the flower arranging…The whodunit intrigue combined with the little tidbits of everyday Japanese life result in a rich, robust read.”
Library Journal

“A unique plot, an exceptional protagonist, and some subtle cultural lessons are as beautifully arranged as a vase of cherry blossoms.”
Jenny McLarin, Booklist, April 15, 1999

“A fascinating foreign world… The book is a delight.”
Roberta Alexander, Contra Costa (Calif.) Times

Zen Attitude:

Zen Attitude is simply splendid… Massey, an Agatha winner for The Salaryman’s Wife, is a gifted storyteller who delivers strong characters, a tight plot and an inside view of Japan and its culture. This paperback original is one of the summer’s best deals.”
Katy Kelly, USA Today, May 28, 1998

“Rei is the perfect guide to a Japan that few tourists see…with Zen Attitude, Massey clearly shows her rare talent.”
Oline H. Cogdill, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 29, 1998

The Salaryman’s Wife:

“In her first novel, former journalist Massey offers a sprightly, engaging tale by setting a classic English-style whodunit in contemporary Japan. After the coldly beautiful Setsuko Nakamura is murdered in a vacation inn, California-raised Japanese-American teacher Rei Shimura is drawn to investigate the death. Rei is no prim Miss Marple. This young, hip, sake-sipping sleuth leads a reader into a Tokyo that doesn’t make the guidebooks. She tells you where to get cold rice balls for breakfast when you’re on a tight budget and what to wear to a Buddhist wake in the upscale suburbs. Sly, sexy and deftly done, Wife is one to bring home.”
People Magazine‘s Page Turner of the Week, Nov. 17, 1997

“Author Sujata Massey debuts with a highly original and fresh new voice guaranteed to garner her many fans. Top notch romantic suspense with a fascinating cross-cultural edge! Rating: 4 (Excellent).”
Jill M. Smith, Romantic Times, Sept. 1997