Monday, October 29, 2007

Murder in Mesopotamia

Author : Agatha Christie

Genre : Detective fiction

Apart from painting a vivid picture on the archaeological fields of Mesopotamia, the author manages to bring about a story on human psychology. The narrator,nurse Amy Leatheran, is a part of the excavation at Tell Yarimjah.The murder takes place a week after her arrival, and she describes the events before the murder her investigations with Hercule Poirot in a very simple way.

A murder takes place in a dig of Tel Yarimjah at Hassanieh, and Poirot visits the place to investigate the murder. To reveal the victim would be to give away half the delight of reading this good novel.

Though the modus operandi of the killer intrigues the reader until it is disclosed, the answer is not satisfactory. Poirot's methods of deduction are superlative and well justified, the manner in which he questions the members of the expedition to figure out hidden facts about the victim reveals a lot of the methodical approach of Poirot. The novel appears to be dragged at the end, it could've been a better novel with thirty pages less.

They Came To Baghdad

Author : Agatha Christie

Genre : International conspiracy

Confirmation of the manufacture of a secret weapon has been obtained by a British agent.All the persons concerned were meeting in Baghdad and the code was " A white camel loaded with oats is coming over the pass."

This is not the kind of novel that one would expect from Agatha Christie , a truly memorable Agatha novel without Hercule Poirot. It's all about international conspiracy,and the author cleverly manages to keep the reader guessing on who the real manipulator is. Agatha Christie takes us to the enchanting land of ancient history, to the streets of busy Baghdad, to the ruins of Babylon and to the digs of archaeologists in the middle of the deserts.

Anna Scheele, a young secretary of an American Bank is being chased around in London. She came to London on the pretext of meeting her ailing sister Elsie, and suddenly she vanishes into thin air. Every body is searching her, and the reader is kept in dark about her whereabouts till the later part of the novel.

On the other hand, Victoria Jones, a typist in London falls in love with Edward;It was love at first sight.Edward takes her photo and soon leaves to Baghdad. Victoria being jobless and charmed by the good-looking Edward is keen to join him at Baghdad. Upon a bizarre coincidence, an old and sick Mrs. Clipp on her way to Kirkuk near Baghdad mentions a need for nurse to assist her on her flight journey to Baghdad. The penniless Victoria happily agrees and lands in Hotel Tio at Baghdad. She meets Edward, and joins Olive Branch upon Edwards advice.

Soon,Victoria gets mixed up in a murder and later kidnapped. She knows too much now. The bizarre coincidence is after all a planned one. Why did Baghdad need her? The climax unfolds all the mystery in a truly admirable way.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Royal Bengal Mystery

Author : Satyajit Ray

Genre : Detective Fiction

An amazing detective fiction on par with Agatha Christie's master detective Hercule Poirot. This book is one among the twelve Feluda collection of Ray, and the most compelling of all the twelve. There is everything that the reader can ask for in a mystery novel, a puzzle, a murder, a mad-man,and more than everything the beauty of the place where the story unfolds slowly. Ray gives a deep view of the thick forest of Northern Bengal,and to stick to a Cliche, he literally transports the reader into the lonely palace amidst deep woods and dilapidated forests.

Feluda (The detective ) is called to a certain palace up in the northern forests of Bengal by a famous hunter turned writer. Feluda is accompanied by his cousin,Topshe,the narrator of the story and Lal Mohan aka Jadayu, a witty middle aged adventure writer.

The hunter turned writer shows them a big room filled with animal hides and weapons, and briefs about his ancestors. They all were famous hunters too, in fact , very famous. Feluda is asked to solve a puzzle left by the hunter's father, which he had recently come across while he was writing his new book.The brother of the hunter is a little out of mind,the friend of the hunter is intriguingly quiet,while his brilliant secretary is killed on the second day of Feluda's arrival.

The secretary was found to be half eaten by a tiger, with a deep metal made wound on his chest.
Later Feluda discovers that the secretary had already solved the puzzle, which was actually a map to ancestral property, and he had decided to take it as his payment for writing all those books about hunting which his boss had merrily published in his name. And , there is more and more startling twists as the story leads to its climax.

Just unputdownable, and a great page-turner!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Painter of Signs

Author : R.K. Narayan

Genre : Romance, humor

Written by R.K. Narayan, The Painter of Signs is a smooth work of fiction, the entire plot being very simple which can well be encapsulated into a short story. The beauty of the story lies in the way in which the author has handled the romantic angle between the two lead characters, Raman and Daisy.

But as R.K. Narayan mentioned somewhere in one of his essays, "It’s a bad habit to give out the entire story in a few words, on which the author must have worked laboriously to notch up over 80,000 words".
Anyway, what I’m going to write is something that can induce my reader to read The Painter of Signs.

Maldgudi is the little fictional town in South India where the story takes place. Many of R.K. Narayan's are woven around this town. His novel can give you a bright insight into the kind of life led by the people in South India, the daily dose of coffee ,the market place and so on.

Raman is a simple painter, as u might have already guessed ,the painter of Malgudi, who resides in a house near a river. Daisy, a new entrant to the author’s fictional town, is a social servant bent on bringing India’s population down. The intimacy between the two characters is well portrayed, without going overboard. I remember an essay by the same author where he says that he better likes to shut the door even when his characters are in deep love, a very unusual thought I would say.

The story is written in a particular style where the author narrates the story in a third person stand as if he was in the minds of Raman, a lot of his thoughts and comments add spice to the thrilling narration.
I can assure you a pleasant read and a feeling of being with Raman in Malgudi, in a very Narayan style.