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Monday, July 09, 2012

June Reading – Part 2

 

Continued from previous post …

 

9. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Wax Gamblers by Adrian Doyle & John Carr

Sherlock Holmes is bound to his bed/chair with a crutch after a fateful slip-n-fall from some stairs. While there is a storm outside, a worried old man and his grand-daughter arrive at 2 am with a curious case of gambling wax statues. Well, the old man hasn't seen them gambling but he is pretty sure there is some change of cards in their hands. Sherlock asks Watson to do the legwork; while he solves the case resting in his room.

Funny part of the story was when someone refers to Sherlock as a Scotland Yarder and he thinks of that as an insult.

As a strange coincidence … I read 2 stories back-to-back where the 'detective' solves the crime from the comfort of his home without stepping out of the house even once.

 

10. Paycheck by Philip K Dick

 

Saw the movie 6 years ago and jumped at the short story when I came across it. It was wonderful to read this as much as I enjoyed the movie. And I discovered a new author who enters my reading list.

The story is similar to the movie except for the climax and some of the clues. The movie takes a different direction but follows the same premise and plot. The story of a man who comes out of a 2 year employment with his brain cleaned off from memories of past 2 years. When time for payment comes, he is shocked to learn that he has willingly traded his payment of a fortune for a few worthless items which don't mean anything to him. He slowly and gradually realizes that the worthless items are all life savers for him and which lead to him a much bigger thing in life.

 

11. Sherlock Misadventures: The Adventure of the Remarkable Worm by Stuart Palmer 

A journalist, who has written a couple of controversial articles and has separated from his wife; gets acute pain in his stomach and loses consciousness on the road-side. When he comes around, he finds himself in the hospital with a weird unknown worm in a glass case next to his table. He picks that up and runs straight to Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery of the worm.

Sherlock makes his deductions and even invites Watson to come along for investigation. For a change, Watson 'solves' the case from his arm-chair and informs Sherlock that the matter is pretty trivial.

 

12. The Pterodectyle's Egg by Satyajit Ray

Imagine meeting a complete stranger who tells you that he is a time traveler, tell you stories of his adventurous journeys and even lets you experiment with his time travel device. Well, our protagonist in this story meets a time traveler and is intrigued by him. The climax of the story is not very surprising but the conclusion is sweet !!

 

13. Minority Report by Philip K Dick

 

After reading the Paycheck; I was tempted to read the 'Minority Report' also. It turned out to be an equally rocking short story. The reading reiterated my pain … Science Fiction is no longer what it used to be a few decades / half a century ago. The writers of those days were so far ahead in their thinking and imagination while the writers of today are no match at all in the sci-fi arena.

The movie did not really follow the same plot as the short story. The story brings out the paradox of 'pre-crime' beautifully and has an amazing climax where a man is ready to destroy himself to see his work and ideology live on.

 

14. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Highgate Miracle by Adrian Doyle & John Carr

If you were to encounter a man who literally worshipped an old umbrella; you would proclaim him insane or full of superstition or something like that. Sherlock with his sharp mind sees what others fail to see. Also, when he arrives at the man's house, he finds 'Inspector' Lestrade already on the scene and together they wait for the man with the umbrella.

The mystery arises when the man appears at the door and then ducks back in to supposedly collect his umbrella. The man is not to be found thereafter in the house.

Incidentally, there is a reference of "a man who goes back into his house to collect his umbrella and is never seen again" in the original Canon Doyle stories which became the source of inspiration for the story above. It was also the source of inspiration for the story from the Misadventures series recorded at No. 8 in this month itself. It was interesting to read 2 stories being written inspired by the same sentence in yet another story from the past. 

 

15. The Dark Prophecy by Anthony Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

When a book is authored by the creator of CSI (which is a personal favorite of mine since 2006 when I first encountered some episodes); it doesn't take long to jump into it and devour it quickly. This book is part of a new concept of DigiNovel about which I have written in a separate post.

The story follows Steve Dark, a former FBI agent pulled out of retirement to hunt down the world's worst serial killers. Steve Dark is pushed to his limits as he struggles to apprehend the worst of the worst. He has a past baggage which weighs him down (a serial killer killed each and every member of his family … and now only his daughter was left, for whom he constantly feared). The inner turmoil along with his inability to leave his job behind and retire are a recipe of disaster for himself. 

 

16. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Two-Toed Pigeon by Marc Brandel 

Imagine finding a special (and easily identifiable) kind of pigeon and putting it in a cage over-night and finding it replaced the next morning. The three investigators encounter a similar mystery with an added peculiar character who involuntary winks (hence called 'Blinky' by people) and pigeon-related enquiries leading them to a lady who has hundreds of birds in her home and backyard. More characters get added to the plot … a man with a heavy beard (the only thing visible on his face is his mouth and eyes) and some Japanese chaps.

As the story progresses, some birds are found dead (murder!!) and some pearls are found in possession of the birds making the plot thicker, trickier and mysterious.   

 

17. Sherlock Misadventures: The Adventure of the Two Collaborators by Sir James M. Barrie 

An interesting story with such a subtle ending that even I had trouble understanding the same … it's a story with 2 authors and Sherlock + Watson as the primary characters. There is particularly no plot as such, just a thought.

 

 

To Be Continued …

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