by Nayana Currimbhoy
1974 marks a significant time in Charulata Apte’s life. It is during this year that she arrives at Miss Timmins’ School for Girls in Panchgani. She is shy and innocent and on the verge of turning twenty-one. She comes from a disgraced family, and if this isn’t enough, she suffers from a facial disfigurement.
Anyway, our story is about Miss Apte’s first year of teaching and a murder mystery at the school. A fellow teacher, Moira Prince, appears to have been pushed off a cliff. Because she is friends with “The Prince,” Charu needs to know what happened. Unfortunately, she is diverted by family problems. This leaves the sleuthing to the schoolgirls at Miss Timmins’.
Just what happened that night (and why) will plague everyone for years to come.
I wish I had liked this more. The set-up took too long, and it was somewhat difficult to like our narrator, Charu. On the other hand, I loved the setting—a girls’ school in India during monsoon season. In the end, I would have reduced this novel by at least 100 pages. This novel was too long for such a small payoff.