Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Plot Summary : In London 1919, young Tommy and Tuppence are on the brink of destitution, both are out of jobs and the two old friends are in desperate need of money. They come up with the idea of "The Young Adventurers, Ltd ", where they plan to get hire as adventurers and will do any job, provided the money is good. A man called Whittington, overhears their idea and employs Tuppence, but then mysteriously disappears. The duo search for Whittington and discover that he works for Mr Brown, a criminal mastermind whose identity is incognito to even those who are most close to him.

Mr Brown is after a treaty which was drafted during the great war but got lost, this treaty at no cost should fall in Mr Brown's hands because if it does then it will ensure a revolution which might bring down the British Government. Tommy and Tuppence are now hired by the government as spies, who want them to find out as much as they can about this enigmatic business. The only problem is that the mysterious Mr Brown is watching their every step, more closely than they can ever imagine.

The dedication of the book reads:

"To all those who lead monotonous lives in the hope that they experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes receives a cryptic message from one of his informants, on deciphering this clandestine message, Holmes and Watson discover that someone named John Douglas is in great danger. Inspector MacDonald comes calling on Holmes with the news of a man called John Douglas, who has been mysteriously and brutally killed in Sussex.

John Douglas has been killed in his own home, surrounded by a moat, wide but only two or three feet deep.  The house has a drawbridge which is drawn up every night. John was shot through the face by a sawed shotgun, so whoever intended to murder him was not looking to keep things quiet, the police identify his body by a tattoo of a triangle inside a circle on his forearm, another perplexing mystery to the murder is that John's wedding ring is missing, the wedding ring was under the nugget ring which was found intact, why would someone take only the wedding ring? other residents of the house tell the police that John was a brave man but always had seemed troubled by some unknown danger. Holmes tries to use his deductions to solve this case of murder, secret societies and master criminals.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Case For Three Detectives by Leo Bruce

Mrs Thurston is an amiable, benevolent, harmless middle aged woman. She loves to entertain and play the hostess, one evening when she was playing her part as a hostess to perfection, sleep induces her to leave her party and retire to bed. A few minutes later the guests in her drawing room below hear blood curling screams of a woman, the party rushes upstairs only to find Mrs Thurston's bedroom bolted from the inside.

They break open the door and find the poor lady murdered, her throat has been slit and there is no sign of the killer, there are two windows in the room, but looking outside they see no one and the flower bed beneath the window is undisturbed. After a through search of the room no one is found hiding in the room and there is no indication of a secret entrance. Then, where did the killer go? pretty soon people realize that they have all just witnessed a locked room murder, a locked room murder is obviously out of the league of local police sergeant, Beef.

Enter Lord Plimsoll, Amer Picon and Monsignor Smith, three amateur detectives who will remind the reader of three very famous literary detectives, as the three detectives race against each other to solve the crime, Sergeant Beef sits contemptuously in the background shouting that he has the solution, but will anyone listen?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Punjabi Poirot

The Case of The man who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall



Vish Puri, a Punjabi detective and owner of the "Most Private Investigators" detective agency is embroiled in a case of biblical proportions. Dr Jha, a rationalist and staunch Atheist has been murdered by the hands of Goddess Kali! In Hindu mythology Kali, is the foremost among the ten fierce Tantric goddesses. Witnesses at the scene describe seeing a 20 foot apparition of Kali, at the sight of the dreaded goddess they froze at their spot as an enigmatic mist began to veil their surroundings, then the consort of Shiva leaped several feet in the air and struck Dr Jha in the chest with her Schimtar.

The Delhi Police Inspector who is given the job of investigating this supernatural crime, realizes that this case is out of his league, corollary he calls Vish Puri, the Punjabi version of Hercule Poirot. Vish Puri or "Wish Poori" together with his team of agents, against the back drop of Delhi and a quintessential Punjabi family try to solve this most peculiar crime.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Taste for Death by P.D. James

Two men lie in a welter of blood in the Vestry of St Matthew's Church, Paddington. Their throats have been slit brutally with a shaving razor. One of the dead men is Sir Paul Berowne, a recently resigned minister of the crown and the other dead man is a tramp called Harry Mack. Adam Dalgliesh and his newly formed team investigate this mysterious crime, Dalgliesh and his team would have to carry out the investigation with extraordinary prudence because what they will discover hidden in the  secrets of Sir Paul Berowne will be more death and blood.

Review:

Phyllis Dorothy James has been writing novels since 1962 and continues to write till date, her latest novel being Death comes to Pemberley, published in 2011. Her novels star the police detective and poet Adam Dalgliesh. She is also the author of "The Children of Men", which has also been successfully adapted on the big screen. Three novels from P.D. James figure in the Top 100 Crime Novels of all time, including A Taste for Death, you can check out this link to see the rest of the list. Although to be honest this is a list of the best crime novels and not mysteries, although murder mysteries are obviously crime novels as well so the line gets blurred . "A Taste for Death" can be categorized as detective fiction and as a murder mystery, but does it really deserve its place among the best mysteries?