Book Review : Golden Age of Mysteries (1920-55)

A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.

Review 2
Book : Footsteps in the Dark
Author: Georgette Heyer (UK)
Original Year of Publication : 1932

About the Author: Georgette Heyer was an English historical romance and detective fiction novelist. A best-selling author, Heyer’s writing career saw her produce works from a variety of genres; in total she published 32 novels in the romance genre, 6 historical novels, 4 contemporary novels, and 12 in the detective fiction genre. Her 12 detective novels were published between 1932 and 1953. Source : Wikipedia

Plot: The Priory, a ramshackle old house, is the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday for siblings Peter, Celia, Margaret and Charles (Celia’s husband), who have inherited it from their uncle. Left empty for years as even their deceased uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this property. Locals claims that a ghost haunts that place. But when a murder victim is discovered, the siblings begin to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all! But traditionally ghosts don’t commit murder. With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims or will they uncover the truth in time? Does the key to the crime lie in the realm of the supernatural or is there an earthlier cause?

Suspense: Throughout the story, Heyer maintains a very humorous touch in her dialogs and the flow of the story is very smooth. Especially the interactions between the village locals and the main protagonists are very funny and full of wit. The list of suspects is not very large, still Heyer manages to confuse the readers as to who is the real culprit. There is an eerie feeling in some chapters and the locale is very beautifully painted by the writer’s carefully chosen words. Some scenes in the story were bit more melodramatic than normal.

Climax: At the finale of the novel, Heyer does manage to pull put a trick or two, with a few secret passages and what not in the story. Still, the climax is a good one, though I was very close to pointing out the right murderer. An entertaining read overall.

Rating and Recommendation: 3/5. Highly recommended for readers who like cozy mysteries, humorous and sarcastic dialogs in between and a slow but enjoyable read. Not recommended for readers who like fast thrillers and gadgets etc..

About the Reviewer : 
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won 
the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on AmazonFlipkart andNotionpress.com

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Book Review : The French Powder Mystery

Reviewed by – Abhishek Goswami

Golden Age of Mysteries (1920-55)
A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.
Review 1
Book : The French Powder Mystery
Author: Ellery Queen (USA)
Original Year of Publication : 1930

About the Author: Ellery Queen is a crime fiction pseudonym created in 1929 by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, and later used by other authors under Dannay and Lee’s supervision. Dannay and Lee’s main fictional character, whom they also named Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders. Most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character were written by Dannay and Lee and were among the most popular American mysteries published between 1929 and 1971. Source : Wikipedia
Plot: The story centers around the French department store in New York city, where a woman is found dead, tumbling on the floor from a wooden bed whose features are being demonstrated to the customers. The case is then investigated by Inspector Richard Queen and his son Ellery. While investigating the upper story apartment of the owner, Ellery is perplexed by an odd assortment of clues, including not only bloodstains but grains of fingerprint powder and an unusual assortment of books. Also, an ashtray full of half-smoked cigarettes might be important along with how the shoes are kept. The suspects include the wealthy victim’s family and friends, some employees of the store, and possible members of a drug ring.
Suspense: Throughout the story, E.Q maintain a high level of suspense by giving the readers various clues and building a sense of apprehension and excitement, along with many red-herrings. The dialogues between the characters are sometimes quite witty and interesting. Though a few chapters do lack pace, especially when the Inspector and Ellery interview the suspects, but the pace is quickened up when newer facts emerge, especially the time tables of all the store employees and how Ellery deduces important facts by applying sound logic and reason to the case. Just before the climax, the authors put a “Challenge to the Reader”, stating that the reader should be able to solve the case now with all the given facts. But, can the reader do it? I certainly could not.
Climax: At the finale of the novel, Ellery does a detailed piece of deduction by creating a list of conditions that the murderer must meet (involving, among other things, the possession of keys). He clears all suspects except one, whose identity is revealed in the last line of the novel, bringing a satisfying and entertaining end to the story.

My Rating and Recommendation: 4/5. Highly recommended for readers who like mysteries by Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr and Ngaio Marsh. Not recommended for readers who are more into hard-boiled crime thrillers where action and chase is paramount, leaving little to the grey cells. This book provides lot of scope for readers to figure out the clues and will be liked by those who prefer the puzzle and it’s resolution as the most important component in a mystery story.

About the Reviewer : 
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won 
the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on AmazonFlipkart andNotionpress.com

Book Review – Undaunted by Bhaavna Arora

Book Review – Undaunted by Bhaavna Arora

Book – Undaunted

Author –  Bhaavna Arora

Page – 232

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Westland Books

The Indian armed forces always stood as an epitome of courage, selflessness, patriotism and nation above all philosophy. The book is a real-life story of a 22 years old Lt. Ummer Fayaz of Kashmir who was brutally murdered by militants while he was on leave to attend a family function. He was one among the many from the valley who was full of life, courage and epitome of patriotism who joined the army against all odds. It is a book about a real hero which is written so well that it can inspire millions.

First, I would like to congratulate Bhaavna Arora to pen down such a brave story of a Lt. Ummer Fayaz who chose to join Indian Army despite the challenges. The book quite literally leaves one breathless at many points. The sense of pride will make you smile from ear to ear and also cry silent tears.

This book is easy to read which will take you on a journey where you will get to know about Lt. Ummer Fayaz : about his birth, his schooling, his nature, and sadly about his brutal death and also about various culture of Kashmir like the way they treat their guests, how normal civilians are living their life in valley and of course about the Indian Army.

We need more storytellers like the author who has done a lot of research to come out of this masterpiece which can help us (civilian) to understand the conditions under which these brave men fight for the Safety, honour and Welfare of our freedom.

Over all, this book is easy to read and very well written with all necessary details. I strongly believe that I am not worth enough to rate this book. I just want to say that, ‘Undaunted” is a must read. Highly recommended. It’s a book that will make you proud long after you have read it.

Read this book and know your real hero.

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Cheers!

Subrat

Book Review – India’s most fearless by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh

Book Review – India’s most fearless by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh

Book – India’s most fearless

Author –  Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh

Page – 272

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Penguin Random house India.

The Indian armed forces always stood as an epitome of courage, selflessness, patriotism and nation above all philosophy and each of the 14 heroes whose stories the authors covered in this book are a best example to this.

The book comprises of heroic real-life stories of Indian defense men from the border. Each story talks about a military operation. The spirit of dedication is seen in the operation of Lance Naik Mohan Goswami who scrambled at short notice to execute an operation. While reading the book, and the stories of the men, one will surely stop at so many points just to gather their breaths. The book quite literally leaves one breathless at many points through all the stories shared.

This book will take you in between the gun battles and make you realize what those martyred soldiers and many others go through every day. When we are even afraid of cockroaches & lizard, reading stories of these heroes who go to fierce gun battles putting their life at stakes will send chills through your spine.

The surgical strike of Sept. 2016 is not so exhaustive in this book which is obvious because of classified operation. The stories are truly inspiring and shows the leadership skills of military leaders in counter insurgency operations.

We need more storytellers like the authors to reach out towards it’s civilians and inform them that under what conditions these brave men fight for the Safety, honour and Welfare of our freedom. They are not fighting a personal war on the LOC leaving back their families and constantly performing the Act of Valour, come what may be the conditions the Tri-colour is hold high enough to let the World know that India is a “Land of Free and the Home of Braves.”

Over all, this book is easy to read and very well written with all necessary details, ‘India’s Most Fearless’ is a must read. Highly recommended. It’s a book that will make you proud long after you have read it.

Book Title – 4/5

Book Cover – 5/5

Narration – 4.5/5

Language and Grammar – 4/5

Final Rating – 4.5/5

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Book Review – Pyjamas are forgiving by Twinkle Khanna

Book – Pyjamas are forgiving

Author –  Twinkle Khanna

Page – 220

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Juggernaut Books

Pyjamas are forgiving, the story is much more appealing than the title. The book cover tells a lot about the story of the book which is more unique and hatake. The narration of the story is liable and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of the Author which is gripping.

This story is about Anusha who went to Ayurvedic Spa in Kerala for her treatment. She is going through the best days in spa, till one person came and joined her in that spa. It is none other than her Ex-husband who has affected her the most. What will be the effect on Anusha and her treatment in presence of her husband? Will she continue there or run from there over night or she will decide to fight with the situation.

The story revolves around Meditation, Yoga and healing which is written in humorous way. It has a touch points of friendship, love, emotions and drama. Language of the book is simple and very well understandable.

With every chapter, the story continues growing extraordinary. The dramatization keeps the reader engaged. Peak of the story is incredibly unique and the grasping story will keep you bound till the end. I felt that story was getting little stretched in the middle but it picked up very well at the end and during the climax.

Over all, it’s a great read with unique plot, interesting characters and humorous punch lines.

Book Title – 4/5

Book Cover – 3.5/5

Narration – 4.5/5

Language and Grammar – 4/5

Final Rating – 4/5

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Book Review – Love bi the way

Book – Love bi the way

Author –  Bhaavna Arora

Page – 239

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Penguin Random House India

This is something that I have never read before. This should not be listed under romance in future rather under revolutionary book. The book cover is extremely alluring and bold. In the event, that you are somebody who purchase a book seeing it’s cover, you may end in purchasing this one as well.

Story revolves around the romantic lives of Rihana and Zara. It broke the stereotypes. The book holds something different, bold and unique than the other books falling under similar category. Topic is powerful and Story is gripping.

Rihana, a painter who paints love and the main love she looks for in genuine is the one made in bed. Rihana appears to be carefree and always looking for sex.

Zara, a business women set to clear her way in the male prevailing world and be independent. Zara seems sweet and adorable.

The title is snappy and also discussing the dialect than it is clear and a few lines are exceptionally catchy. The plot comprises of numerous emotions which includes Love, Friendship, Domestic violence and LGBT love. Each and every detail of the characters, their life styles, relationship with others were penned down beautifully.

The story keeps running at a quick pace, so much that it’s easy to lose track yet hard to put down. However, i found it little dragged somewhere in the middle. The language used is extremely easy to grasp & relate to. What I accept is the feature of this book is the writer’s endeavor to expound on subjects which are viewed as taboos in our society, she depicts the situation of the LGBT people group great and likewise some social disasters as well. This book is most likely an honorable endeavor to convey such subjects to standard.

I appreciate the manner in which the author has moved toward the troublesome subject of homosexuality and I should state, the adoration the 2 ladies share is equivalent stirring for a straight lady. She demonstrates that fascination is of the spirit.

Kudos to the author for writing such a bold concept and a strong idea.

It’s highly recommended if you want to read different other than typical love story

Book Title – 4/5

Book Cover – 4.5/5

Narration – 4/5

Language and Grammar – 4.5/5

Final Rating – 4/5

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Book Review – Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

Book – Three Thousand Stitches: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

Author – Mrs Sudha Murty

Page – 179

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Penguin Random House India

I started reading this book with lots of hope and expectation and I am glad that I am not disappointed except at few places. What Sudha Murty offers in ‘Three Thousand Stitches’ is a share of her experiences and outlook towards life in a simple and honest way. After reading this I have been deeply inspired by her commitment towards whatever she has chosen to do. She writes about her personal anecdotes with her family, teachers and friends who have touched her. 

 This book is a descriptive narrative of personal experiences comprises of some beautiful chapters like “how to beat the boys”, “No Place like Home”, “Three handful of water” and many more. However, there is one chapter named “A Life Unwritten” which could have written in much better way as it looks more like a Bollywood movie plot (As author has also agreed at the end of the chapter).

Book is full of Motivational content with a lot of useful information. This book also provided an insight into the working of an efficient charitable organization.

Writing Style: The language is super easy and the narration is smooth making you finish this book in two to three sitting. I personally finished it in 3 sittings.

My perception:

Without any doubt, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. Thestories are so amazing, inspirational and impacting that you will findyourselves immersed in them. I can’t choose a single favorite story as all thestories are totally worth to read. From each story, you are going to learnsomething. Also, I strongly recommend to those who are beginner in English andnew reader. Simple language, easy to understand and grasp.

A very impressive collection of short stories! You must give it a try and read it once. I am sure you will not regret it.

Book Title – 4/5

Book Cover – 3.5/5

Narration – 4.5/5

Language and Grammar – 4.5/5

Final Rating – 4/5

Amazon Link to buy the book – Click here

Book Review – The Subtle Art of not giving a F**K

Book – The Subtle Art of not giving a F**K

Author – Mark Manson

Page – 212

Format – Paperback

Language – English

Publisher – Harper Collins

It’s midnight in India and I have decided to write a review of this book. Almost impossible to resist myself. There is nothing new here – and yet there is SO MUCH NEW here. A cliche, no matter how essentially true, may lose its meaning after the n-th time you’ve heard it. Saying the same stuff in a different way made me look at the life lessons here differently, and resulted in the most a-ha moments of any book I read recently.

Turn to the contents page and you’ll find chapters titled: Don’t Try, Happiness Is A Problem, You Are Not Special, The Value of Suffering, You’re Wrong About Everything (But So Am I), Failure Is The Way Forward, The Importance of Saying No, and lastly my favorite chapter, And Then You Die. Despite the depressing sounding chapters this book will give you one counterintuitive technique after another of ways to let your problems go (your problems aren’t special either), truly improve your life and your correct your values. To learn from your experiences and to learn what’s most important to care about in life and let the rest fall away. Not giving an F about stupid stuff like how you appear to others that don’t really matter, stop carrying around your parent’s baggage and to know when to move on. This subtle art is something we all need to relearn and will do a great justice for humanity if we did. I have never heard of this author before but I’ll certainly be looking up his future works.

Some of my favourite quotes are

  1. “You are going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten”
  2. The people who just laugh and then do what they believe in anyway. Because they know it’s right. They know it’s more important than they are, more important than their own feelings ad their own pride and their own ego”.
  3. When a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some.
  4. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next one.

There are many more such inspiring and relatable lines.

If you expect advice on how to become an indifferent and insensitive person who feels good about themselves no matter what, prepare to be disappointed. The book is essentially the opposite – a wake-up call to be honest with yourself and live in accordance with healthy core values.
In today’s age of social media when we are constantly exposed to extremes and fake personas, we tend to forget our self-worth and pursue shallow ambitions in order to feel special in some way, we feel entitled to receive special treatment and get easily offended. In this sense, the book is a much-needed slap in the face for the current social context.

SS

Final Verdict – I recommend this book to everyone questioning where they’re going with their life and to everyone else as well. I stumbled upon this book when I was having quite a crisis and this book really opened my eyes and made me see my crisis in a whole different way.

Book Title – 4/5

Book Cover – 4/5

Narration – 4.5/5

Language and Grammar – 4.5/5

Final Rating – 4.5/5

Amazon Link to buy the book – Click here