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Sujata Massey is an American author of mystery and historical fiction novels.

She primarily writes mystery and suspense fiction set in pre-Independence India, and contemporary mystery series set in Japan.

Born in England to parents from India and Germany, Sujata grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota.

She holds a B.A. in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University, and wrote features for the Baltimore Evening Sun newspaper prior to becoming a novelist.

Her novels, which have received accolades such as the Agatha, Lefty and Macavity awards, have been published in several countries, including The UK, India, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Sujata has called Baltimore, Maryland home for nearly three decades.

More about Sujata Massey

Genres: Contemporary , Historical Mystery, Mystery, Suspense

Born: 1964

United States

Website: https://sujatamassey.com/

Non Series

  • The Sleeping Dictionary (2013)
  • The City of Palaces (2013)

Novellas

  1. The Ayah's Tale (2013)

Omnibus Books

  1. India Gray (2015)

Perveen Mistry

  1. The Widows of Malabar Hill (2018)
  2. The Satapur Moonstone (2019)
  3. The Bombay Prince (2021)

Rei Shimura

  1. The Salaryman's Wife (1997)
  2. Zen Attitude (1998)
  3. The Flower Master (1999)
  4. The Floating Girl (2000)
  5. The Bride's Kimono (2001)
  6. The Samurai's Daughter (2003)
  7. Shimura Trouble (2008)
  8. The Pearl Diver (2004)
  9. The Typhoon Lover (2005)
  10. Girl in a Box (2006)
  11. The Kizuna Coast (2014)

Rei Shimura Short Stories

  1. Convenience Boy and Other Stories of Japan (2011)
  2. The Convenience Boy (2011)
  3. The Deepest Blue (2011)
Omnibus Books

Detailed book overview

Non Series

The Sleeping Dictionary

YOU ASK FOR MY NAME, THE REAL ONE, AND I CANNOT TELL. IT IS NOT FOR LACK OF EFFORT.

In 1930, a great ocean wave blots out a Bengali village, leaving only one survivor, a young girl. As a maidservant in a British boarding school, Pom is renamed Sarah and discovers her gift for languages.

Her private dreams almost die when she arrives in Kharagpur and is recruited into a secretive, decadent world. Eventually, she lands in Calcutta, renames herself Kamala, and creates a new life rich in books and friends. But although success and even love seem within reach, she remains trapped by what she is...and is not.

As India struggles to throw off imperial rule, Kamala uses her hard-won skills—for secrecy, languages, and reading the unspoken gestures of those around her—to fight for her country’s freedom and her own happiness.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1476703169
Publisher: Gallery Books
The City of Palaces

An orphaned girl. A cruel twist of fate. A spectacular adventure. Bengal, 1930. Young Pom’s life changes forever when her family is wiped out in a devastating flood. She becomes a maidservant in a British boarding school where she discovers her gift for languages. Amidst the drudgery of her duties, she finds unexpected friendship and experiences the stirrings of first love.

However, tragedy strikes and she is forced into hiding. Alone and desperate, she is recruited into a brothel for English officers. She hopes this secretive, decadent world will shield her from the demons of her past. But fate intervenes, and our heroine is on the run again—to Calcutta, the city of palaces, where she finds herself caught up in the rising tide of Indian nationalism.

Changing her name to Kamala, she creates a new life for herself, one that holds the promise of happiness and true love...until her past returns haunt her.

Filled with romance, danger, intrigue and betrayal, The City of Palaces is a lush, sprawling saga about a feisty young heroine and her struggle for survival.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0143422976

Novellas

The Ayah's Tale

In 1952, Menakshi walks into a Penang library during the rainy season. She discovers a book written by Julian Winslett, a British war hero and writer, who was a young boy she cared for while working as a 16-year-old nanny in Bengal. His book is about those old days, and features the two of them as named characters.

The 1920s British Raj was an era of expansive homes and gardens, elegant rail travel, and very strict divisions between Indians, Anglo-Indians and the British. For the rulers of India, it was a glorious period; but for Menakshi, it's a time she'd rather forget. She'd pushed away all her old feelings for Julian…but now they're back.

As Menakshi reads Julian's book, she returns to a vanished world where luxury and deprivation co-exist in the same grand bungalow--and romance breaks all rules in the hills of Darjeeling and on the Bengal-Nagpur Railway. Menakshi's own recollections add suspense as his family heads toward rupture, and she is torn between loyalty toward the children and her own secret dreams.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2013
Ebook: B00HCT6WBS
Publisher: Ikat Press

Omnibus Books

India Gray

Travel to the Indian subcontinent with a new collection of Sujata Massey's suspenseful historical fiction. This boxed set includes four works described below:

OUTNUMBERED AT OXFORD

When Perveen Mistry leaves Bombay to study law at St. Hilda's College in 1919 Oxford, England, she hopes to escape her troubled past and become a pioneering woman lawyer. Then an elderly don tasks her with locating an Indian servant who may have stolen an invaluable mathematics proof. Perveen is caught in a case that threatens her ladylike reputation--and her life.

THE AYAH'S TALE

Menakshi Dutt, a teenaged nanny in 1920s Bengal, is a beloved caregiver of three lonely British children, but suffers from the cruelty of their bored mother. Will Menakshi ever fulfill her own dreams without betraying the children?

INDIA GRAY

Kamala Lewes, a recently-married Bengali woman, travels to Assam during World War II to volunteer at a military hospital. There she discovers some patients with ties to the Indian independence movement. How far can she go to help them without betraying her British husband and the Allies?

BITTER TEA

Shazia is fifteen and trapped in a remote village in Pakistan overtaken by religious fundamentalists. Her school has been closed, and women have lost freedom of movement. But when Shania learns a friend faces danger from the invaders, she decides to act.

Four unforgettable heroines in one book rich with history, culture and intrigue.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0983661078
Publisher: Sujata Massey

Perveen Mistry

The Widows of Malabar Hill

1920s India: Perveen Mistry, Bombay's only female lawyer, is investigating a suspicious will on behalf of three Muslim widows living in full purdah when the case takes a turn toward the murderous.

This Deluxe Paperback Edition features: an interview with the author, discussion questions, essays on the real-life inspirations behind the novel, delicious recipes taken from the story, and previews of The Satapur Moonstone.

Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women's legal rights especially important to her.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on?

Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X—meaning she probably couldn't even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, never leaving the women's quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder.

Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.

NB: This book is also known as A Murder at Malabar Hill.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1616959760
Publisher: Soho Crime
The Satapur Moonstone

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?

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1641291316
Publisher: Soho Crime
The Bombay Prince

Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule.

November 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a fourmonth tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots.

But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Feeling guilty for failing to have helped Freny in life, Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest. When Freny’s death appears suspicious, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done.

But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections, and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1641293501
Publisher: Soho Crime

Rei Shimura

The Salaryman's Wife

Japanese-American Rei Shimura is a 27-year-old English teacher living in one of Tokyo's seediest neighborhoods. She doesn't make much money, but she wouldn't go back home to California even if she had a free ticket (which, thanks to her parents, she does.) She's determined to make it on her own. Her independence is threatened however, when a getaway to an ancient castle town is marred by murder.

Rei is the first to find the beautiful wife of a high-powered businessman, dead in the snow. Taking charge, as usual, Rei searches for clues by crashing a funeral, posing as a bar-girl, and somehow ending up pursued by police and paparazzi alike. In the meantime, she attempts to piece together a strange, ever-changing puzzle—one that is built on lies and held together by years of sex and deception.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 1997
Ebook: B00EXOFE28
Publisher: Harper
Zen Attitude

Life in modern Tokyo is a blast for Rei Shimura, a young Japanese-American woman who enjoys busy days as an antiques dealer and steamy nights with a devoted new boyfriend. But things come to a standstill when Rei overpays for a rare old chest of drawers for a wealthy client, the owner of a famous Zen temple in Kamakura. The exquisite tansu turns out to be a fake: the worst deal Rei has ever made.

When the temple family turns on Rei -- and the con man who sold the tansu is murdered -- she realizes she's opened a Pandora's box of deception and murder. A young martial artist, an aspiring rock singer, and an elderly antiques mentor all become part of Rei's search for the killer through the shadows of an ancient culture.

As her world begins to rapidly and inexplicably unravel, Rei realizes that it will take strength, wit, and a Zen attitude to survive.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-0060899219
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Flower Master

Rei Shimura, a California girl living in Tokyo, has an antiques business that's only slightly more successful than her love life. When her aunt enrolls her in the Kayama School of Ikebana to learn how to arrange flowers, disaster strikes. A mean teacher is found with scissors in her neck, and Takeo Kayama, the sexy billionaire heir to the school, considers Rei's aunt the main suspect.

Rei strives to prove her aunt's innocence but becomes enmeshed in a web of upper-class ladies, edgy environmental protesters, and young immigrants trying to make it in one of the world's most exciting and expensive cities. As danger rises, clues are sent to Rei in haiku poems that hint her family played a role in an old Kayama School tragedy that threatens not just her romantic future with Takeo--but her own life.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 1999
Ebook: B00B90XB60
Publisher: Ikat Press
The Floating Girl

Anticipating a successful interview with a hot new comic book artist, columnist Rei Shimura turns sleuth when the artist goes missing and the artist's best friend turns up dead, in a mystery that takes Shimura from the world of Tokyo strip bars to frenzied animation conventions.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0061097355
Publisher: Avon
The Bride's Kimono

Antiques dealer Rei Shimura has managed to snag one of the most lucrative and prestigious jobs of her career: a renowned museum in Washington, D.C., has invited her to exhibit her kimonos and give a lecture on them. Accompanied by a gaggle of Japanese office ladies bent on a week of shopping, Rei lands in the capital. But her big break could ultimately break her.

Within hours one of the kimonos is stolen, and then Rei's passport is discovered in a shopping mall dumpster—on the dead body of one of the Japanese tourists. Trouble is only beginning, though, for now Rei's parents have arrived and so has her ex-boyfriend.

To track down the kimono and unmask a killer, Rei's got to do some clever juggling, fast talking, and quick sleuthing, or this trip home could be her last.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2001
Ebook: B007SNHQVS
Publisher: Harper
The Samurai's Daughter

Antiques dealer Rei Shimura is in San Francisco visiting her parents and researching a personal project tracing the story of 100 years of Japanese decorative arts through her own family's experience. Her work is interrupted by the arrival of her boyfriend, lawyer Hugh Glendinning, who is involved in a class action lawsuit on behalf of aged Asian nationals forced to engage in slave labor for Japanese companies during

World War II.

These two projects suddenly intertwine when one of Hugh's clients is murdered and Rei begins to uncover unsavory facts about her own family's actions during the war. Rei unravels the truth, finds the killer, and at the same time learns about family ties and loyalty and the universal desire to avoid blame.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0060595036
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Shimura Trouble

During a family reunion on the island of Oahu, Japanese-American undercover spy Rei Shimura is roped into helping the Hawaiian branch of her family regain land stolen from them during World War II.

But when fire sweeps the island and her young cousin is accused of arson, Rei, with the assistance of both her boyfriend and ex-lover, must discover the truth, which turns out to be linked to the Shimura family history...

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1847510549
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
The Pearl Diver

A dazzling engagement ring and the promise of a fresh start bring antiques dealer and sometime sleuth Rei Shimura to Washington, DC. But just as she's starting to settle down –catching up with a long–lost cousin and undertaking a lucrative commission furnishing a trendy Japanese restaurant nearby – things begin to go haywire. 

First, her cousin vanishes from the restaurant's opening–night party, and then Rei is drafted to help find a Japanese war bride who disappeared 30 years earlier.

The search for both missing women becomes suspiciously linked, and along the way, Rei faces truths about herself that may change her destiny – if she lives long enough.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-0060597900
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Typhoon Lover

A young woman with a foothold in two cultures, Rei Shimura has gone wherever fortune and her unruly passions have led her throughout her chaotic twenties. Now, after the streamers for her thirtieth birthday celebration have been taken down, the Japanese-American antiques dealer and part-time sleuth finds herself with an assignment to find and authenticate an ancient Middle Eastern pitcher that disappeared from Iraq's national museum.

The piece is believed to be in the hands of a wealthy Japanese collector, whose passion for beauty extends to Rei herself. But when a devastating typhoon hits Tokyo, Rei is trapped with the object of her investigation—and with much much more than the fate of an ancient pitcher at risk.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0060765132
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Girl in a Box

Chronically underemployed Japanese-American sleuth Rei Shimura has taken a freelance gig with a Washington, D.C., alphabet agency that just might have ties to the CIA. Her mission, should she choose to accept it, is to go undercover as a clerk in a big Tokyo department store. It's a risky assignment, but it also gives Rei a store discount that allows her to freely indulge her shopaholic tendencies.

Meanwhile, she's listening in on private conversations, crashing a conference, and fending off the unwanted advances of a couple of the store's executives who seem fascinated by her navel ring. When her cover is blown, Rei is in big trouble. Suddenly she's neck-deep in something very nasty, and it will take all her resourcefulness and unorthodox methods to survive a determined killer.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0060765156
Publisher: Harper Perennial
The Kizuna Coast

When a devastating earthquake rocks Japan's northeast cost, a tsunami follows and Rei Shimura is swept into her most rugged adventure yet.

The mystery begins with an SOS from Rei's friend, the antiques dealer Mr. Ishida, trapped among thousands of displaced and dead on the Tohoku coast. Rei rushes to Tokyo, where she discovers Ishida Antiques may have been burglarized.

Rei takes Mr. Ishida's abandoned dog, Hachiko, on a volunteer bus to the ravaged town of Sugihama. But Mr. Ishida's got more work for her, since he lost contact with his antiques apprentice Mayumi and is frantic with worry. He won't leave Sugihama without knowing the fate of the troubled 19-year-old girl from a famous lacquer-making family.

Calling on disaster survivors and volunteers--and her knowledge of Japanese manners and history--Rei investigates the suspicious disappearance. From Sugihama's muddy shops and shelters, to the buzzing bars and bathhouses of Tokyo, it's a suspenseful journey. But as Rei draws closer to the truth, she realizes that she's being stalked. Who is following her--and can she survive the wave of danger she never saw coming?

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-0983661054
Publisher: Sujata Massey

Rei Shimura Short Stories

Convenience Boy and Other Stories of Japan

In this mini-book of short stories, Rei Shimura solves 3 very different mysteries. The title story, "The Convenience Boy," tests Japanese romantic rituals in an unexpectedly humorous way. "Junior High Samurai" sends Rei back to her teaching roots as she becomes entwined in a bullying incident. "The Deepest Blue" is a poignant exploration of the conflict between family love and ambition. This 50-page trilogy is a must for anyone who wants everything related to Rei Shimura.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B005C18B6C
Publisher: Ikat Press
The Convenience Boy

Rei Shimura helps a Japanese office lady uncover her lover's identity. This is a solo short story that also appears in the story collection, CONVENIENCE BOY AND OTHER STORIES OF JAPAN.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B005NTPO1S
Publisher: Sujata Massey
The Deepest Blue

Rei Shimura travels to a remote Japanese island to buy indigo but unveils a disturbing mystery.

Author: Sujata Massey
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B005NTTIFG
Publisher: Sujata Massey