Maryland Humanities Selects Award-Winning Historical Mystery by Marylander Sujata Massey for “Route 1 Reads” Initiative

June 22, 2020

(Baltimore) – Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities is pleased to announce The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey as its 2020 selection for Route 1 Reads, an annual road-trip-inspired reading list. Route 1 Reads is coordinated by the network of State Center for the Book affiliates located along Route 1. This year’s genre is historical fiction.

Book cover of Sujata Massey's The Widows of Malabar HillThe Widows of Malabar Hill is Massey’s first installment in her Perveen Mistry series. The books feature the first female lawyer in Bombay, India. Mistry is investigating a will on behalf of three Muslim widows, who she suspects are being taken advantage of, when things turn murderous. 

Mystery Writers of America awarded The Widows of Malabar Hill the Mary Higgins Clark Award last year. The book also won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel and was nominated for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Its sequel, Satapur Moonstone, received the 2020 Lefty Award for Best Historical Crime Novel.

Photograph of Sujata Massey by Jim Burger

Massey resides in Baltimore, MD. She was born in England to parents from India and Germany. In addition to fourteen novels, she has written two novellas and numerous short stories published in eighteen countries. Prior to becoming a novelist, Massey wrote features for The Baltimore Evening Sun. She earned her B.A. in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. 


About Route 1 Reads
Connecting the 2,369 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route 1 Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of the region for readers traveling the major and meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival. 

Route 1 Reads partners are: Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; and, Washington, D.C. For more information, visit or follow #Route1Reads. These State Centers are affiliates of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

About the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners, and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit

About Maryland Center for the Book
The Maryland Center for the Book (MCFB)—an affiliate of the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress—develops and supports literary programs and outreach activities that engage citizens across Maryland in literature and reading. As a program of Maryland Humanities, MCFB highlights our region’s literary heritage and calls attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy, and libraries. Join the conversation on the Maryland Center for the Book Facebook page.

Press Release