Saturday, 9 November 2013

A brief note

I have been blogging about books and films in two different blogs- Blog of an aspiring movie buff and Shounak's book reviews. However, keeping both of the blogs updated has become difficult for me, because of shortage of time. Therefore, from now on, I'll review both films and books in a new blog: Life with Books & Movies. While both of the old blogs will remain, I'll publish all my book and film reviews in the new blog, from now on.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

''The Thirteen Problems''- Book review

Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 1932

Genres: Short story collection, Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5


''The Thirteen Problems'' is a short story collection by Agatha Christie, featuring Miss Marple. 

Several guests have gathered in Miss Marple's house: her nephew, Raymond West, Joyce Lempriere (an artist) , Sir Henry Clithering (ex-Commissioner of Scotland Yard), Dr Pender (a clergyman) and Mr Petherick (a solicitor). Each of them decide to tell stories of unsolved mysteries--- the solution of which are generally only known to themselves, and the other guests have to figure out the solution. In each case, nobody, except Miss Marple, can figure out the solution. The first six stories are told in this setting. The next six stories are set several months after the first six stories, when both Miss Marple, and some other people, are staying as guests in the house of Colonel Bantry. The last story is about the investigation of a suicide that is perhaps a murder. Sir Henry Clithering does the investigation, though Miss Marple already guesses the solution...

Sir Henry Clithering and Miss Marple are the two characters who appear in all the chapters. I'd first met Sir Henry in ''The Body in the Library''. In this book, this character gets more, much more depth. I liked this character. And Miss Marple is excellent as always. Her village parallels are really interesting!

I enjoyed this short story collection, a lot. The first few stories were actually quite predictable, but the last seven or eight stories are really unpredictable and absolutely puzzling! Though the first few stories are predictable, there is a kind of atmosphere in them, a kind of charm in them, that makes them really very delightful and really very enjoyable to read. All the stories in this collection are wonderful! My favorite stories in this collection are ''The Companion'', ''The Affair at the Bungalow'', and ''The Blue Geranium''. They were really delightful reads, these stories. There is atmosphere, there is suspense, there are so many puzzles.

4 out of 5

Sunday, 3 November 2013

''Crooked House''- Review

Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 1949

Genres: Novel, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5


Of all the Agatha Christie novels that I've read, ''Crooked House'' has one of the most unexpected, surprising endings. Not only this, ''Crooked House'' is a delightful read, from the beginning to the end. It is a suspenseful novel, with well developed characters and a wonderful narrator.

The narrator of this novel is Charles Hayward. He loves Sophia Leonides, granddaughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, Aristide Leonides, who is of Greek origin. Charles and Sophia meet after a long time. But Sophia tells Charles that they can't marry right now. Why? Because Sophia's grandfather, Aristide, has recently died, from poisoning. It is apparent that Aristide has been murdered.

Charles's father is an Assistant Commissioner of the Scotland Yard. Charles decides to figure out who actually did the crime. He visits Three Gables, residence of the Leonideses. A gigantic house with a lot of family members living peacefully. 

Charles gets acquainted with the members of the family. Brenda, Aristide's second wife, who is more than fifty years younger than her late husband.  Sophia's parents, Phillip (who keeps an impassive expression and keeps himself busy with his books), and Magda (an actress). Roger, Aristade's other living son, and his wife, Clemency. Edith de Havilland, an elderly spinster and the sister of Aristade's first wife. And Sophia's siblings: the moody, handsome, Eustace, and the intelligent little Josephine. There's also Laurence Brown, the children's tutor. And there is an elderly Nannie.

Every member of the family seems to suspect Brenda, Aristide's young wife. Brenda seems to be the one with the strongest motive and opportunity. But Charles finds Brenda to be a helpless, lonely woman who can never be capable of committing a murder.

Who has murdered Aristide Leonides?

This is a novel that has deep, well developed characters and a lot of suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the solution came so unexpected. It surprised me. Surely it has one of the most unpredictable endings, among the Agatha Christie novels.  An excellent novel, highly recommended! It is probably, right now, one of my favorite Agatha Christie books.

4 out of 5

(On a separate note, I'll not be very active in blogging for the next few weeks, as my exams are approaching! I'll be active once again from early December, after my exams end).