It was Enid Blyton’s St. Clare’s series that made me fall in love with stories set in boarding schools. My sister, who was a Malory Towers fan, found St. Clare to be second-rate but I was absolutely thrilled by the various adventures of the girls in that hostel. Thus it was that when I heard of Nayana Currimbhoy’s Miss Timmins’ School for Girls, a murder mystery set in a boarding school nestled in the hills, it immediately went on my wishlist.
The book begins well. Charulata, the daughter of a disgraced Naval Officer and a silently-suffering mother finds job as a teacher in a school at Panchagani. The eponymous school, a residue of the British Empire, caters to girls from rich business families and is staffed primarily by British Missionaries and Anglo-Indians. Charu, with her middle-class upbringing, finds herself a misfit right from the beginning. However, things begin to change when she springs a friendship with Moira Prince, a British teacher who is something of a rebel and Moira’s pot-smoking friends including the intense Merch. Charu’s friendship with Moira soon becomes physical and though at first she revels in it, soon she starts to find it a little too demanding. One day they have a lovers’ tiff and the next day Moira’s dead body is found on the rocks. Did she jump or did somebody push her from the cliffs above? It was a night when many people were out on those cliffs and they give their own versions of that fateful night. As events unfold, many lives are torn apart.
All this could have made for a gripping novel but unfortunately that doesn’t happen. Mid-way through the novel, I was simply waiting for it to come to an end, so that I could be done with it.
First Line: TODAY CHARU CAME back to me, suddenly.
Title: Miss Timmins’ School for Girls
Author: Nayana Currimbhoy
Publication Details: ND: Harper Collins, 2011
First Published: 2011
Other Books read of the same author: None
Having a publication date of 2011, the book is pretty easily available. I borrowed it from the College Library. [823.09 C 936 M]
Submitted for the following challenges: Chunkster, Mystery and Suspense, New Authors, South Asian, and Wishlist.
Entry for letter M in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme.