Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Miss Timmins' School for Girls

This book is a murder mystery wrapped up in a book about a girls' boarding school in the mountains of India. Miss Timmins' School is heavy on colonialist ideology, and becomes the scene of fear and intrigue when a teacher is murdered. Told through the eyes of a teacher, Charu, and a student, Nandita, the reader follows their efforts to discover what really happened to teacher Moira Prince.

Charu is a new teacher, living away from home for the first time and experiencing her first love. At Miss Timmins she relishes the freedom of independence and makes friends with a group of local hippies. She is particularly tied to Moira Prince, well-known bad girl at the school, and Charu's first love. Their romantic relationship is always charged by Charu's fear that she will be found out.

The book is a bit slow in the first section, particularly in the development of Charu and Moira's love affair. Once the murder investigation began the book quickly gained speed. This is a beautifully-written book, a suspenseful mystery with the style and depth of literary fiction. The book is perhaps a bit longer than it needs to be, but it was a very engaging read.

Nayana Currimbhoy, Miss Timmins' School for Girls (Harper, 2011) ISBN: 0061997749

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