Sunday, July 26, 2015

Durbar by Tavleen Singh

Image result for durbar by tavleenDurbar's literal translation in English is a royal courtyard. The durbar which the author refers to here is not of some Mughal or Mauryan emperor but this is the durbar of a post British monarchy which over the last seven decades has been the most powerful in South East Asia, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

The author Tavleen Singh, belonged to a rich Sikh family but she claims that she wasn't content with being simply one of the privileged class, she yearned to do something with her life and took up journalism as a profession. At a time when we had fewer and fewer women at workplace, Tavleen decided to challenge the glass ceiling by becoming a journalist. The book acts as a conduit for Tavleen's journey as a journalist and the rise and rise of India's first family. Tavleen's access to the rich and powerful through her profession and her circle of high society friends provide fodder for political and social gossip which is the basis of her book.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjay Baru

Image result for the accidental prime ministerIn 2004, when Dr. Manmohan Singh ascended to become Prime Minister of India, the most powerful position in South East Asia it was not only a surprise for his supporters and detractors but a pleasant surprise for the man himself.  ManMohan Singh edged out men like Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh and other sly and seasoned politicians to rule India for the next decade. The author, Sanjay Baru, was then Media adviser to the PM. He served the Prime Minister in UPA 1 and thus claims to have a close working relationship with Manmohan and had intricate details about the workings and Politics of UPA.

ManMohan Singh is a world renowned erudite, whose work in economics is unparalleled. He along with PV Narasimha Rao were the architect of the modern Indian economy and responsible for opening up India to the free market. Manmohan Singh's legacy was already sealed but he got the opportunity to lead India in 2004, when Sonia Gandhi, an Italian waitress who married into the most powerful family in India, and become the leader of Congress Party by virtue of her marriage to the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family decided to rule India through a proxy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Worst mystery novels of all time

Well we have seen a lost of best of lists, best of Agatha Christie, best of John Dickson Carr, best of Ellery Queen etc. but there is no dearth of really boring and terrible mystery novels. So I thought I should do a list of the worst mystery novels of time. This list might push some buttons because I'm especially going to chastise a most beloved and celebrated author.

Here is my list(drum roll please):

5. The Arabian Nights Murder by John Dickson Carr - I hate to start the list with the grand master himself, but JDC has been known for giving some really boring and annoying duds. 'And so to murder' is another book which was I remember being equally sub standard. What pinched it for Nights was the farcical plot filled with absurdities.

Image result for the arabian nights murder

4. A Taste for death by P.D. James  - Very long and boring. Not a proper mystery, can be used as a cure for insomnia. read the detailed review by clicking on the book link.

Image result for A taste for death by pd james

3. Trial and Error - The first book I read from Anthony Berkeley was the case of the poisoned chocolates, which was one of the most brilliant mystery books that I have ever read. After finishing poisoned chocolates, I had to get my hands on another book from Berkeley. I ended up with Trial and Error, which I disliked so much that I never got back to reading another Berkeley - The plot is interesting in the beginning but then falls so much in quality that its hard for the book to ever recover. Its also deeply misogynist and insensible.

Image result for trial and error by anthony berkeley

2. Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie - Queen of crime she has given so many gems which we will cherish over and over again, but she has also given us so many duds which we will revile every time we remember those horrible books. Parker Pyne is of course the paramount of worst Christie books, it just edged out some other very strong contenders like the 'Nemesis'.

  Image result for parker pyne investigates book cover

1. Wisdom of Father Brown by GK Chesterton - Worst book series of detective fiction, excruciatingly slow and boring. Bigoted, slow, racist and plain pathetic with very few positives. The whole Father Brown series is worst series in detective fiction for me.

Image result for the wisdom of father brown