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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

June Reading – Part 3

 

Continued from previous post …

 

18. The Clock Work Man by William Jablonski

Yet another book from Blog Adda to review and this one was a very interesting read right from page 1 primarily because it was written in first person as a biographical narration of a 'clockwork man'. Detailed review posted in second half of last month on this blog.  

The way the clockwork man describes the things around him … his creator, his kids, his relationship with them, the way people behave and react around him (in his city and even in distant lands), the way he perceives the human world and their emotions… it's all very interesting and offer a different perspective of life. The story takes a break when our clockwork man attempts suicide. He is brought back to life more than 100 years later where he grapples with several mysteries including the wonders of the modern world and his place in it. It was a pretty enjoyable read although the climax/ending was a disappointment.

 

19. Sherlock Misadventures: A Double-Barrelled Detective Story by Mark Twain 

Mark Twain wrote this 'long' story (or should I say 2 stories with some links between them) and included Sherlock Holmes as a character in it for some quant reason I did not really understand except to take advantage of his popularity (which was a useful element in the story). Sherlock's expertise is not used, instead, it is ridiculed and all his deductions are proved wrong in a matter of minutes.

It was an interesting story nevertheless where the first half concentrates on one youth and older guy while the other half concentrates on another youth and another older guy; in both cases the young one wanting to exact revenge on the older one. The stories converge in the last paragraph and you finally realize why Mark Twain was telling you two stories which had no link whatsoever between them. The only drag-point being certain portions of the story that don't advance the story but only fill up the pages and waste your reading time. Those sections are not even entertaining.

 

 

20. We Can Remember for You Wholesale by Philip K Dick

 

After reading the Paycheck and Minority report short stories; I picked up this one. A trigger for picking this one was that I saw the movie 'Total Recall' on TV recently (and a remake of this movie is set to release this year). So I had to read this …

It was interesting to read this one and see the (huge) difference in the original story and the movie adaptation (I can no longer say that the movie was based on the story or was a movie adaptation of the story. It was simply inspired by the plot and the basic story premise). The movie had a plot which was more amenable to become an action thriller.

The actual short story is slightly complex where false 'manufactured' memories are being planted inside a person's head … which incidentally coincide with real memories. The genius of PKD has been apparent from the 3 stories that I have read this month and I am now looking forward to reading his other works on regular basis. 

 

21. Sherlock Misadventures: The Stolen Cigar Case by Bret Harte 

This case is about a case … a cigar case actually. AND it belongs to 'Hemlock Jones' and his suspicion lies with none other than his companion and confederate of his cases. A funny tale of the stolen cigar case which is eventually recovered by the Doctor himself but the relationship is forever severed because of the accusation and something else. The introduction calls this story as most devastating parodies ever perpetrated on The Great Man and the story itself has the words "Hemlock Jones, the Terror of Peculators!" uttered by the Doctor.

 

22. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Black Baronet by Adrian Doyle & John Carr

Sherlock and Watson are on a 'refreshing' vacation when a curious case pops up. A murder has been carried out and the clear suspect has no decent alibi. Sherlock sees the peculiarity of the case and based on circumstantial evidence, prevents the arrest of the suspect for a day. The next day he reveals how the murder was committed and essentially proves that the murder was but an accident. The murder weapon was but in plain sight but no one had recognized it.   

Later, Watson expresses his doubts and Sherlock explains that the accident was not without help and cover-up. He wishes to conceal (or let's say 'not reveal') the parties involved since the 'victim' was not without his vices and his death was a bit of justice in itself. In this story, john Carr and Adrian Doyle continue with the legacy of Sherlock where he often lets the murderer go scot-free when he feels that the murder was an act of justice and not a malicious one.

 

23. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Smashing Glass by William Arden  

A very interesting case comes up as the driver side windows of more than a 100 cars are smashed over a period of 2 months. The mystery is that no one seems to be able to find out how the glass is being smashed nor has anyone seen anyone actually doing it.

The trio gets involved and even risk getting the glass broken of the black and gold Rolls Royce. While they are investigating, they have an intruder around their Head Quarters and evidence that someone was planting a listening bug in/around their HQ. The trio effectively employ the ghost-to-ghost hook-up in this story (after a pretty long time) to discover that what they thought was a singular or dual case of window smashing was actually a widespread phenomenon.

The theft of an extremely valuable rare coin from one of the cars (whose window was also smashed) adds to the mystery while the presence of someone spying on the trio using electronic surveillance methods complicates things further. The trio manages to crack the mystery and nab the window smasher and eventually finds the stolen coin too, albeit after a twist in the tail of the tale.  

 

24. Sherlock Misadventures: The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes by O. Henry 

O. Henry came up with this small piece with the two characters named Shamrock Jolnes and Dr. Whatsup (there is no doubt regarding the inspiration behind these names). There is no case as such but the short is about a series of deductions Shamrock makes about a man in a tram/bus who does not offer his seat to the women standing around him. A funny tale with several deductions based on a funny sense of logic.

 

25. Sherlock Misadventures: The Umbrosa Burglary By R. C. Lehmann 

In this strange tale of Picklock Holes and Potson; Picklock is attending a 'party' (courtesy Potson) and makes some (funny) deductions about a youth by the riverside and also predicts (in privacy/secrecy) to Potson that there would be a robbery in the house during the night. Potson would have preferred to warn the host but Picklock declines. The thief is caught in the night; although not by Picklock. Some of the guests get hold of the thief and thrash him. A surprise ending in the last few lines reveals the secret of how Picklock could have predicted the robbery. 

 

Series Completion Score: (as of 30th June 2012)

The Three Investigators          38 out of 43

Best of Satyajit Ray                 17 out of 21

Sherlock: Exploits                    05 out of 12

Sherlock: Misadventures        14 out of 33

Total                                       74 out of 109

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