Monday, April 02, 2012

March Reading …


March began with book review of short novel by an Anonymous Indian Author. The month had a lot of travel plans for me in the second half which helped my reading; while setting some new personal travelling records (6 flights in 13 days). The reading score may not be high but then it has 3 full length novels along with the usual shorts.

New author this month was an Anonymous one, whose book I reviewed. I could also put the authors of Chicken Soup series book in this category but then they are not really authors, they just compile the stories together. In this case, Mark and Victor have Indian help at hand in the form of the third co-author, Juhi Rai Farmania.

The reading score may not be high but the month was satisfactory. 3 full length novels (all three of different genres) and my regulars of 3I, Sherlock, and Satyajit Ray (missed reading Famous Five this month)!

Best part of the month was reading a Robert Ludlum and Chicken Soup for Soul series book after a long long time.


1. Scammed: Confessions of a Confused Accountant by Anonymous

Stating the month with yet another 'new' author'… err … well he/she is actually Anonymous. This was yet another book I received from for review; so this has already been reviewed in a separate blog post in March. The author chooses to remain anonymous but I hope he continues to write more of such works. This one was pretty good.

The story is about a typical over-worked accountant who waits for his promotion putting in long hours and dedication for years. The life of our depressed accountant takes a sudden and complete U-turn and he becomes the CEO of a new company. The story is pretty interesting thereafter as he goes through the HIGHS and LOWS of life. 


2. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Scar-faced Beggar by M V Carrey

Bob unknowingly witnesses a bank robbery while he is helping a blind beggar who had dropped his cup of coins. The beggar also accidently drops a purse and runs away without taking it from Bob. The story advances as the trio gets involved in the investigation of the robbery and things lead into historical and political problems of another country. The mystery man with a scar on the face (the blind beggar) turns out to be a part of that history … and he has been dead for quite some time.

The story moves as more characters get involved and the plot thickens. The pre-climax sequence has all our good guys and gals tied to chairs inside a house waiting for a near death situation as water from a swimming pool threatens to flow into the house as the house (and the swimming pool) begins to slide on the slope of the hill under the influence of a mudslide/landslide. To top it up, the climax has a speed boat chase which ends in a crash.

 This story also introduces Hector Sebastian who would be introducing the cases from this story onwards. He is introduced in an interesting manner becoming part of the story (and as usual being a suspect for some time). 


3. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Three Gables by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When someone tries to buy a House … lock, stock and barrel … it becomes an intrigue for the owner and she contacts Sherlock. A little deductions and Sherlock reaches his conclusions and meets the mastermind behind the mystery. He brokers an interesting deal; giving his client a world tour as a gift (from the mastermind) as a compensation for the trouble caused.


4. Bonku Babu's Friend by Satyajit Ray

This one was short story about a Teacher of Geography and Bengali in the Kankurgachchi Primary school in Bengal. He is the butt of jokes of all people around him, not just grown-ups but also kids. He does have some serious self esteem issues and he is taken for granted by  most people. A chance encounter changes everything.


5. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire   by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is surprised when he receives a request to assist in a case involving a Vampire. He clearly believes that it is not a case of him since supernatural and vampires are beyond his realm of deductions.

But once he hears the details of the case, he realizes that a different game is afoot. This story is yet another example Sherlock Holmes being an 'armchair detective'. He has formed his opinions and reached a conclusion even before leaving his room and going to the client's house.


6. Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell

I decided to pick up yet another Patricia Cornwell this month after reading my first PC novel last month. This one begins on two parallel tracks; A threatening note from a murderer who has a history with Scarpetta & her Niece and the case of a farm house fire.

The fire managed to kill his collection of high profile multi-million dollar worth horses (except one) and also kills a lady whose identity and cause-of-death becomes a mystery. In the meanwhile, the murderer (who is scaring the shit out of Dr. Scarpetta) manages to escape from prison and also manages to send damaging press-releases. And then another fire incident and the investigation of this case leads to a piece of evidence which connects the escaped murderer to the fires. How and why are they connected becomes a mystery while Scarpetta and her niece (who was in a relationship with the murderer in old times) go through a mental hell.
I personally did not really like the climax, the ending. It was pretty uneventful. It was nothing really interesting.

I constantly got the feeling that the story is going forward very very slowly. A bit more pace could have been helpful (at least to me). In fact, when it ended; more than the joy of reading or the excitement of the climax, it was relief. I felt relief that the novel is finally over. Much like Dr. Scarpetta felt that the ordeal was over. I felt the same. I am now skeptical about picking up another Dr. Scarpetta / Patricia Cornwell novel.


7. Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul at Work by Juhi Rai Farmania, Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen (collection of 101 very short real life stories)

This one too came from as part of their book review program. My earliest memories of reading the Chicken Soup series date back more than a decade when I got my hands on my first 'chicken soup'. It was interesting to read the similarly flavored sentimental humanly touching stories with the Indian 'tadka'. This book brings together a collection of 101 stories of entrepreneurship & creativity at the Indian workplace.

This being part of book review program, I have reviewed the book separately in an earlier post in March.


8. Trevayne by Robert Ludlum

I have been a Robert Ludlum fan ever since I first read his novel way back in 2006. I read quite a few of his novels in 2006-2008 years but don't remember reading much from his writings in past 3 years (maybe 1 or 2 max). So Robert Ludlum is back on my reading list this year.

I begin with Trevayne which Robert Ludlum published under another name when first released. The novel touches the American political scene and how the controls of power are a complex web of connections and influences. How a man of influence got to make his decision and take his stand because in the power games, a powerful person can become a king maker or could become a threat to others and thus get eliminated.

It was a delight reading Robert Ludlum again. There is absolutely no one who can write like him with of course the exception of Matthew Reilly but then both belong to different genres and writing styles and both are super awesome.


9. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Three Garridebs by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Imagine a Sherlock Holmes story starting with a talk of 'comedy'. One doesn't exactly expect humor from a Sherlock story although there are some lighter moments in some of the stories. But humor is definitely not something you expect and if it mentioned in the very opening of the story; it does spike up the interest levels. Well, the story was not really a comedy. It just had a comic premise.

It turned out to be one of the several stories where the client of Sherlock Holmes is being driven out of his house by a fantastic turn of events because the 'villain' was interested to be 'in' the house in the absence of the current occupant. I am surprised why Sir Arthur Canon Doyle utilized the same device/premise in several stories.


Series Completion Score: (as of 31st Mar 2012)

Three Investigators     31 out of 63

Sherlock Holmes         54 out of 60

Famous Five                03 out of 21

Best of Satyajit Ray     04 out of 21

Total                           91 out of 165

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