The most recommended books about Mumbai

Who picked these books? Meet our 31 experts.

31 authors created a book list connected to Mumbai, and here are their favorite Mumbai books.
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What type of Mumbai book?


A Murder at Malabar Hill

By Sujata Massey,

Book cover of A Murder at Malabar Hill

Amanda Hampson Author Of The Tea Ladies

From the list on cosy crime to snuggle up with on a dark and stormy night.

Who am I?

I have always loved ‘whodunit’ mysteries and the crime genre. When I was in my early teens, I read a couple of dozen Agatha Christie books and was hooked from then on. I was determined to tackle this genre for my 7th novel and (as with several previous novels) wanted to incorporate historic elements into the story because of my fascination for social history. My objective was to immerse the reader in the mid-sixties and then layer in the murder mystery element. The books I’ve recommended are all very different but offer a good grounding in the genre.

Amanda's book list on cosy crime to snuggle up with on a dark and stormy night

Why did Amanda love this book?

A Murder at Malabar Hill is a murder mystery that offers a fascinating insight into Indian culture in the 1920s.

The story takes place in Bombay, where the character of Perveen Mistry is the city's first female lawyer. The cultural and social challenges she faces as a woman in a male-dominated profession are woven into the story, as well as the complexities of India's caste system.

Through Perveen's interactions with her clients, we learn about the intricacies of Islamic and Hindu marriage laws, the importance of family honour, and the difficulties faced by women in traditional Indian society. I found this book fascinating, and with the wonderful descriptions of food, clothing, and architecture, felt transported to the streets of Bombay.

By Sujata Massey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Murder at Malabar Hill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner and Top Pick of the 2019 American Library Association Reading List for Mystery
Winner of the 2019 Mary Higgins Clark Award
Winner of the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Historical Novel
Winner of the the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel
Finalist for the 2019 Shamus Award
Finalist for the 2019 Harper Lee Legal Fiction Prize

'Marvelously plotted, richly detailed . . . This is a first-rate performance inaugurating a most promising series.' The Washington Post

'Perveen Mistry has all the pluck you want in a sleuthing lawyer, as well as a not-so-surprising - but decidedly welcome -…


By Gregory David Roberts,

Book cover of Shantaram

Trebor Healey Author Of Falling

From Trebor's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Adventurous Friendly Curious Inspiring Altruistic

Trebor's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Trebor love this book?

This is a grand adventure of a novel that, like India itself, contains pretty much everything.

A compelling tale of a man who escaped from prison and tried to lose himself in the vastness of India, beautifully rendered here in all its sensory splendor and squalor. Lin does lose himself, and in the process, it’s how he finds himself.

This is very much a story of how the inner reflects the outer and vice versa, it is a love story between a man and a woman, a man and a culture, and a man and himself, as Lin re-learns to live and connect in the rawest and most vital place on earth.

This is a popular book among travelers, and I can see why, as the attention to detail, character, culture, and history serves as a superlative travel guide to the subcontinent.

By Gregory David Roberts,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Shantaram as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major television series from Apple TV+ starring Charlie Hunnam!

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”

An escaped convict with a false passport, Lin flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay, where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter the city’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters,…

Bombay Monsoon

By James W. Ziskin,

Book cover of Bombay Monsoon

D.J. Adamson Author Of Admit to Mayhem

From the list on mystery and thriller you’ll read the entire weekend.

Who am I?

My father estranged himself from his sister because she was an alcoholic. I never met my aunt. However, when looking for a strong character for my Lilian Dove Mystery Series, I decided this aunt was a good mentoring character. Fictionally, I gave my aunt sobriety, but her recovery is not so much from drinking as it is recovering from the past to take on life anew. The mysteries Lillian Dove becomes involved her help her see how to do this. And first, she needs to learn to admit life is full of mayhem. Small-town Iowa amateur sleuth who ends up owning a liquor store.

D.J.'s book list on mystery and thriller you’ll read the entire weekend

Why did D.J. love this book?

Bombay Monsoon, first book in the new Emergency Series, delivers Ziskin’s talent for blending literary techniques and believable characters while taking the reader on an intense ride.

Journalist Danny Jacobs, young and anxious to make his mark, hasn’t been in Bombay long when he is caught up into intrigue, romance, and danger. Set in India during 1975 when India was shaken with political unrest after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergence, Zisken weaves cultural adjustment along with crime and romance.

The book written by Zisken is an impressive page-turner, thanks to his meticulous attention to detail and insightful knowledge of India.

By James W. Ziskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bombay Monsoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last thing Danny wants to see published is his obituary

The year is 1975. Danny Jacobs is an ambitious, young American journalist who's just arrived in Bombay for a new assignment. He's soon caught up in the chaos of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's domestic "Emergency."

Willy Smets is Danny's enigmatic expat neighbor. He's a charming man, but with suspicious connections. As a monsoon drenches Bombay, Danny falls hard for Sushmita, Smets's beguiling and clever lover-and the infatuation is mutual.

"The Emergency," a virtual coup by the prime minister, is only the first twist in the high-stakes drama of Danny's…


By Pranay Lal,

Book cover of Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent

Arefa Tehsin Author Of Iora and the Quest of Five

From Arefa's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Junglee Traveller Sleepless dreamer

Arefa's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Arefa love this book?

Indica was gifted to my naturalist father by the author Pranay Lal. It took a long time to reach me. And was I happy to lay my paws on this utterly spectacular tome!

The scope of Indica, from the time earth’s day was 6 hours long to the evolution of gargantuan mammals to the arrival of sapiens on the bank of Indus, is breathtaking. While reading it, I could picture the vivacious Pranay stopping his car on a highway to check out a forgotten stone or explaining a virus as if it were a friend.

Although you won’t remember every nugget of knowledge, you’ll emerge an enriched and humbled person who knows 10 million years in evolution is a very short time and that 99% of the species that ever lived on earth are extinct today. Indica is not a book. It is a milestone.

By Pranay Lal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indica as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Did you know that the exquisite caves of Ellora were hewn from rock formed in the greatest lava floods the world has known-eruptions so enormous that they may well have obliterated dinosaurs? Or that Bengaluru owes its unique climate to a tectonic event that took place 88 million years ago? That the Ganga and Brahmaputra sequester nearly 20 per cent of global carbon, and their sediments over millions of years have etched submarine canyons in the Bay of Bengal that are larger than the Grand Canyon?Ever heard of Rajasaurus, an Indian dinosaur which was perhaps more ferocious than T rex?…

Such a Long Journey

By Rohinton Mistry,

Book cover of Such a Long Journey

Samrat Upadhyay Author Of Mad Country

From the list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona.

Who am I?

I grew up in Nepal, where politics was part and parcel of everyday life. During my childhood and teenage years, we lived under a monarchy, where the king was supreme. Yet there was always a simmering tension between what was a mildly authoritarian rule and what the people’s aspirations were. As I grew into adulthood, Nepal saw a massive uprising that ushered in a multiparty system, then later, after a bloody Maoist civil war, the overthrow of the crown. Yet, even amidst all these political upheavals, people do live quotidian lives, and the space between these two seemingly disparate things has always felt like a literary goldmine to me. 

Samrat's book list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona

Why did Samrat love this book?

As an author from Nepal, I have learned the most from Rohinton Mistry than any other South Asian writer about how to “translate” the landscape and language of my country for an international audience. Such a Long Journey was the first novel that taught me how to integrate the social and political seamlessly into the psychological makeup of my protagonist—in an English that is uniquely local. In the novel, Gustad Noble, a devoted family man, gets snared into the deception and corruption of the government under Indira Gandhi. It’s a riveting read, and Mistry is superb with vivid descriptions. That the book was banned in certain conservative circles in India makes it even more of a gem. 

By Rohinton Mistry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Such a Long Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and…

The Lost Man of Bombay

By Vaseem Khan,

Book cover of The Lost Man of Bombay

Nev March Author Of Murder in Old Bombay

From the list on India blending history with gripping mysteries.

Who am I?

I lived the first 24 years of my life in Mumbai and traveled to many parts of India. I’ve had close friends of every community and religion and been fascinated by the incredible diversity. By studying historical crimes and how they were reported and investigated, I learned a great deal about the norms of Indian culture. Reading (and writing) historical mysteries allowed me to dive into past eras and immerse myself in the tumultuous events that have shaped our world today. While I’m obsessed with the turn of the 20th century, mysteries in later years also delight me. Enjoy this selection of mysteries set in India that reveal the inner workings of its diverse culture.

Nev's book list on India blending history with gripping mysteries

Why did Nev love this book?

Oh, how I enjoyed the dry wit embedded into each page! This complex mystery is filled with engaging characters. Author Vaseem Khan lavishes even the most minor characters with detailed and hilarious descriptions. The mystery of three separate murders converging is wrapped up with a cipher puzzle embedded in the mythology of Indian culture and iconography. The crimes with two different modus operandi makes things even more confusing.

Sourcing from the internment of foreign nationals in India during World War II, this twisty tale takes us through a number of locations and little-known events of India's history. I enjoyed protagonist Persis Wadia, as a Parsi woman myself, however, seeing her run headlong into dangerous situations does not do her credit. The deepening personal relationship with Archie is delightful but perhaps a deeper understanding of the moral and personal quandaries will be coming in future books. This does not detract from…

By Vaseem Khan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Man of Bombay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the body of a white man is found frozen in the Himalayan foothills near Dehra Dun, he is christened the Ice Man by the national media. Who is he? How long has he been there? Why was he killed?

As Inspector Persis Wadia and Metropolitan Police criminalist Archie Blackfinch investigate the case in Bombay, they uncover a trail left behind by the enigmatic Ice Man - a trail leading directly into the dark heart of conspiracy.

Meanwhile, two new murders grip the city. Is there a serial killer on the loose, targeting Europeans?

Rich in atmosphere, the thrilling third chapter…

Book cover of Bulls, Bears and Other Beasts: A Story of the Indian Stock Market

Prasenjit Paul Author Of How to Avoid Loss and Earn Consistently in the Stock Market: An easy-to-understand and practical guide for every investor

From the list on Indian Stock Market.

Who am I?

I am SEBI registered equity analyst, bestselling author & public speaker. I have started investing in the Indian stock market at the age of 18 and have a history of identifying several multi-bagger stocks like Chemcrux Enterprises, Lancer Container, Sirca Paints, Caplin Point Lab, Can Fin Homes, Mayur Uniquoters, etc. My portfolio consistently outperformed the index by a significant margin. For more details visit my website.

Prasenjit's book list on Indian Stock Market

Why did Prasenjit love this book?

If you are interested in the history of the Indian stock market, then this book is a must-read for you. Written in an easy-to-understand language, the book will take you on an exciting journey from the early days of the Bombay Stock Exchange, narrating all major episodes and players with learnings that can help you to navigate in the Indian Stock Market.

By Santosh Nair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bulls, Bears and Other Beasts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BRAND NEW, Exactly same ISBN as listed, Please double check ISBN carefully before ordering.


By Elle Everhart,

Book cover of Wanderlust

Becky Chalsen Author Of Kismet

From the list on inspiring your next getaway.

Who am I?

I started writing my debut novel Kismet during the 2020 covid lockdown. I was quarantining in my small NYC apartment and, like many, wishing I could be anywhere else. Enter: the power of books. I’ve always loved reading for how it transports you around the world. My novel takes place in the eponymous sun-soaked beach town of Kismet, Fire Island, and writing it offered an escape. It reminded me of how reading books like below felt like embarking on my very own magical getaway, from Positano or London, to Alaska or Palm Springs, all from the comfort of home. I hope you find similar adventure in these novels’ pages. 

Becky's book list on inspiring your next getaway

Why did Becky love this book?

This is one of those books that I started and couldn’t stop until I finished reading.

It’s a charming, romantic, jet-setting story about two strangers who win a radio contest for a trip around the world. The only problem? The two couldn’t be more different.

With all the favorite elements of a second chance (and forced proximity) romance story, set against the international and every-changing backdrops (from Sydney to Mexico City to Mumbai and more!), readers fall head-over-heels for Dylan and Jack’s relationship.

Heartfelt and deeply moving, Wanderlust made me yearn for a chance to travel the world (and maybe start entering more radio contests!).

By Elle Everhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wanderlust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People We Meet on Vacation meets The Unhoneymooners in this sparkling debut romantic comedy about two near strangers—and complete opposites—who win a radio contest for a trip around the world.

Love's about to take flight. 

Feeling stuck at work and tired of London’s dreary weather, magazine writer Dylan Coughlan impulsively rings a radio station one day only to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world. The catch? Her travel partner must be a contact randomly selected on her phone. And of course this stressful game of contact roulette lands on a number listed only as Jack the Posho, an uptight,…

Book cover of Midnight at Malabar House

Adele Jordan Author Of The Gentlewoman Spy

From Adele's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Avid tea drinker History buff

Adele's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Adele love this book?

Nothing has transported me to another time and place so well as Khan’s book this year. I saw him at Bristol CrimeFest, a lovely and humorous man who held the attention of an entire busy room with just a few words. Khan’s charisma led me to his book, and I am so thrilled I found it. 

It is about the first female police officer in Bombay, Persis, who is called into a mystery at the turning of New Year’s Eve, 1949.

The power of Khan’s book comes in his ability to use time to create tension, the feeling it’s running out too quickly, the voice of a great heroine and most of all, his descriptions that paint this world in vivid colours. Need an escape? Pick up this book!

By Vaseem Khan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Midnight at Malabar House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'The leading character is the deftly drawn Persis Wadia, the country's first female detective. She's a wonderful creation and this is a hugely enjoyable book' ANN CLEEVES

'This is historical crime fiction at its best - a compelling mix of social insight and complex plotting with a thoroughly engaging heroine. A highly promising new series' MAIL ON SUNDAY

Bombay, New Year's Eve, 1949

As India celebrates the arrival of a momentous new decade, Inspector Persis Wadia stands vigil in the basement of Malabar House, home…

Just a Train Ride Away

By Mini Shrinivasan,

Book cover of Just a Train Ride Away

Vikas Prakash Joshi Author Of My Name Is Cinnamon

From the list on YA from India with a great slice of Indian culture.

Who am I?

I'm a writer for kids and YA based in Pune, India and it’s been my passion to read books for this age group, from the time I was that age. Unfortunately, when I borrowed books from my library as a boy, so many kids and YA books were either not at all “story like” (moralistic or preachy) or we had to read books from abroad. Fortunately, Indian kids and YA literature has blossomed and provided us many excellent writers, some of whom are now household names. I interviewed some of them for my podcast on books Literary Gupshup. It's my desire to make readers outside India more aware of the wonderful kids’ books in India. 

Vikas' book list on YA from India with a great slice of Indian culture

Why did Vikas love this book?

Just a Train Ride Away is a wonderful, simply written book, a very quick and profound read, and it carries a lot of lucid and clear language.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the book.

The plot is full of deep insights and comments on Indian society. The plot is straightforward: A boy, Santosh, travels by train, from Mumbai to Kolkata to meet his father.

What happens on the way, and conversations he has, leaves an indelible impression on him.    

By Mini Shrinivasan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just a Train Ride Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.