Friday, October 12, 2012

September Reading – Part 3


Continued from previous post …


21. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Dark Angels by Adrian Doyle

A lady approaches Sherlock with the strange events at her secluded home which seem to be warning of an imminent danger. Sherlock deduces certain things and realizes that the lady has arrived a day too late. He rushes to the lady's home only to find the murder already committed.

On the spot, he announces the name of the murderer and even deduces the approximate history behind the murder.


22. Three Investigators Novella: The Mystery of the Creep-Show Crooks by M. V. Carey  

A tote bag is found and the 3 investigators think it is a pretty straightforward 'case' of returning the bag. It turns out that not just the bag but a girl is also missing ... she has actually run away from home to become a Hollywood star. The trio locates the girl's parents as well as the girl only to become an unwanted witness of parent child reunion where the child is not at all happy about it.

Some new characters enter the story and things get murky. There is a burglary at the girl's place and then at Jupe's house (locking Aunt Matilda in a closet). The Hollywood connections come into play and people are not what they claim to be.

The story ends with quite a few surprises but it is not as good as the earlier ones. The element of adventure and danger is there but nothing like what used to be during the first 10-15 episodes of the series (by William Arden)


23. ACD Shorts: The Prisoner's Defence by Arthur Conan Doyle


An honorable gentleman from the Army kills a lady who was the love of his life. He refuses to give his statement and also insists that he would fight out his own case rather than employ a lawyer. His revelations in the court hearing are surprising and interesting. The backdrop of the story is the war time and the storyline has certain significant connections to the war at hand.


24. PKD Shorts: To Serve the Master by Philip K Dick

Once again set in the future where man has taken a few steps back in terms of technological progress. A courier-delivery-man discovers a Robot and gets curious about the past. In his time, all robots have been destroyed after a massive war between man and machine. This half destroyed robot has been in 'coma' for over 100 years and has a power source which is near depletion. He chats with our delivery man and convinces him to get a new power source for him and other parts so that the robot can repair itself. The delivery man out of his curiosity to know about the past (which is kept a top secret in human communities), helps the robot who tells him a different story of the past. The climax is damn interesting and hits you hard. 


25. Sherlock Misadventures: The Case of the Missing Patriarchs by Logan Clendening, M.D.

This very short one attempts to highlight Sherlock's contribution to the heavens. Quite Literally

Sherlock is dead and is now in heavens. On his very first day; he is given the case of locating Adam and Eve; who have been missing since 2 eons. Nevertheless, Sherlock swiftly locates them.


26. Short Story: In the Shadow of Her Wings by Ashok Banker

A peculiar story set in future India with altered geographical and political scenario where an area of the new integrated India is demanding sovereignty. An assassin gets the 'job' of the assassination of the leader of this disputed area which gets the distinction of being a 'all women state'. He is warned of the task which seems simplistic.

He arrived and kills the leader who refers to herself as 'Durgaa Maa'. He is surprised at how easy the task was including the fact that the leader submitted herself for assassination. But then, this is just the start of the killer's troubles. A simple assassination seems inadequate to finish off the leader and he goes to the extent of exploding a nuclear weapon. The climax is damn interesting.


27. PKD Short Novel: UBIK by Philip K Dick


The first few pages of the story set the stage in some distant future (with respect to the published year of the story … otherwise 1992) where you have Precogs, Telepaths, Anti-precogs and anti-telepaths etc and where home appliances and even the doors of the apartment refuse to operate or open unless you insert coins in them. Some people (wealthy, stinking rich) even choose to live in hibernation so as to extend their life as well as live across centuries watching humanity grow and progress.

Providing anti-telepathy services as a means of protecting Privacy of individuals as well as organizations is a pretty good business in such times. A group of anti-variants go to a luna(r) base and become victims of a bomb blast which kills / almost kills their boss. And then starts the series of strange occurrences where they feel things are degenerating or decaying (including people – getting older) while the dead boss is coming alive in various non-living abstract manifestation. Neither the characters nor the readers understand what is happening. And throughout the novel there are advertisements for 'Ubik' and the ads are so varied that you are unable to decide what exactly ubik is. The story and its various constructs seem extremely abstract. The story gets increasingly confusing for the reader to follow.

The climax is neither climactic nor anti-climactic … it probably has some philosophical orientation which I managed to miss. Not one of the PKD short novels that I would rate high on my 'like' scale.


28. ACD Shorts: Three of Them by Arthur Conan Doyle


The story is about 3 kids and their parents. The story is about their innocence and how they see the world, the God, the Devil and so on … a light enjoyable read without a story.


29. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Two Women by Adrian Doyle

A very simple case related to a fraudulent piece of document which is being used by one woman to blackmail another. I wasn't impressed since there weren't much of deductions which characterize a typical Sherlockian story.


30. PKD Shorts: Exhibit Piece by Philip K Dick

A man fascinated by historic art-work is in-charge of pieces of historical evidence and exhibits in the museum. He is consumed by the exhibits and his life revolves around them till the day he finds himself 'inside' one of these exhibits living an all together different life. The life of the times he was consumed by. He is startled, surprised, shocked, happy, confused … all at the same time. And he makes a decision he has been warned against.

The whole story is intriguing but the last line of the story is simply awesome !!!!


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

The Three Investigators         41 out of 43    

Sherlock: Exploits                   10 out of 12    

Sherlock: Misadventures        30 out of 33    

Total                                       81 out of 88

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