Favorite Agatha Christie Novels

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2.png

Mystery novels and I have a long, long history between us!Even the first novel that I ever read belonged to mystery genre ;The Three Investigators Series; The Mystery of the Talking Skull. My entire childhood can be summed up in two words; mystery novels. Later on I was introduced to and embraced in the spell binding world created by Agatha Christie and thus there was no turning back. So I have decided to pay tribute to the queen of Detective novels by listing six of my all time favorite Agatha Christie novels.

6. The ABC Murders

A classic Herclue Poirot mystery which consists of drama, family feud, romance, action, adventure and an ending which signifies the detective’s eureka moment that finally solved the case.

Poirot receives a mysterious letter signed by “A.B.C”, hinting some act of crime is going to be committed very soon. Soon two murders take place in an alphabetical order with an ABC Railway Guide present at both the crime scenes. The little Belgian detective must race against time to stop the murderer from striking his third victim and save an innocent man from meeting with an unfortunate fate.

P.S. You’ll be surprised to know who turns out to be the actual culprit and applaud Christie for her art of weaving stories by linking all the hidden hints (ooooh, alliteration!) together. That’s what I did, at least 😛

5. Death comes as the End

Quite a strong title, no?

The novel set in Ancient Egypt, unlike the other contemporary novels by the author boasts of a story as strong as the title. A revered priest’s life turns upside down after he marries a woman much younger than him. Certain incidents find his newly wedded wife to be a victim of raging angst from his family members. Soon she is found dead and it seems her vengeful spirit is back to settle old scores…

One more thing that distinguishes this novel from the others is that, the narrative is presented in a first person perspective as opposed to the other third person perspective approaches.

You would love reading the gripping tale about a ghost who has crossed the realms of the dead to avenge her murder or is it another mystery all together? No spoilers ahead!

4. Death on the Nile

A masterpiece of a novel which showcases a melange of human emotions including bittersweet love, sympathy, greed, selfishness and of course Poirot’s brilliance.

A young woman approaches the detective to assist her in distress. She and her husband are being stalked by her husband’s ex-lover. Poirot, however, refuses to accept the case. The couple, then boards a cruise steamer to escape the stalker. It is then despite all efforts to avert it, a murder is committed; the young woman seeking Poirot’s help breathes her last. It is time for the Belgian’s grey cells to actively work, to solve the mystery, before the murderer strikes again.

I recommend you read this novel carefully and pay attention to all the characters, as this string of people are repeated once again in a different setting, but pointing to the same motive hidden beneath the veil of crime.

3. The Mystery of the Blue Train

Herclue Poirot boards the uneventful Le Train Bleu in hopes of undertaking a peaceful journey. However, his plans are interrupted as one of the passengers is found to murdered and a world famous jewel is missing from her possession. With a train full of passengers as suspects and two cases to solve, Poirot has to rack his brains to distinguish the truth and lie from the water tight alibi that point to real murderer.

P.S. This was the first Agatha Christie novel I read! I loved reading about how the author made the detective solve two cases that appeared to stem from a single act of crime and saved the innocent from meeting with an unfortunate fate. Having difficulty in choosing a book for the upcoming weekend? Just take a deep breath and unravel the mysterious murder with Agatha Christie.

2. Appointment with Death

The author narrates a story about a dominating ex-prison warden and her family who are travelling for a vacation, together. The matriarch influences her children heavily and never allows them to think for themselves. While travelling, she leaves a queer remark to one of the passengers and is soon found to be dead. It now falls upon the able shoulders of Poirot to deduce the culprit and find meaning to the old lady’s quaint remark.

One factor which distinguishes the novel from others is that is that, it is written from the perspective of two vital characters in the novel and does not include a third-person perspective. It keeps you glued till the very end and leaves you satisfied as you finish the novel.

Finally, my favorite book! The best for the last…

1. Murder on the Orient Express

Ohh! One of the few novels that made me gasp at every page! It has so many topsy-turvy incidents that give the story a new depth. The best thing about this novel is that it never loses its narrative in the backdrop of various side stories and it includes character continuation, which is rare to find in Christie’s novels. Instead the author offers new elements, characters and plots to satisfy the thirst of her readers.

A mismatched group of passengers board the Orient Express with Poirot and witness the most bizarre murder of the century. A famous criminal on the run, seeks help from the detective to avert mortal peril and is found dead, the next morning, with inexplicable knife stabs. The detective treads on the journey of catching the culprit or is it a heist which is carried by a group of culprits?

Please, please readers read this novel once. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed!

Before signing off today, I have a question for my readers. What would you like to read my next review about;a stand-alone or a book series? I would be waiting for your replies.

If you like my post, don’t forget to like, comment, reblog anf follow my blog!

Cheers!

Review :The Silent Patient

Hey readers! Hope you had a great weekend full of happy, unexpected surprises!

I think all my fellow book lovers can agree on the fact, no matter how hard the day had been for us, just the inviting sight and wafty smell of books as we enter a bookstore, makes us happy beyond words! Who knew my happy visit to a bookstore, a few days ago, would spiral into something special and coincide with my love of writing. I am building too much suspense, right? Well that’s the result of the latest novel I read ;P.

Alright, let me help you guys unravel this mystery…I have joined hands with an awesome bookshop Rajat Book Corner (which leaves no stone upturned to promote reading of books through its various initiatives ) for multiple book readings and reviews! I would be reviewing random books selected by the owner of the bookstore himself, over the course of next few days.This is the first collaboration in these exciting series and this week’s pick is ‘The Silent Patient by debutante author Alex Michaelides from the genre: fiction/psychological thriller.

“Only she knows what happened.

Only I can make her speak.”

Plot

A woman, a famous artist,shoots her husband dead and hides behind the veil of silence for years on an end. A man, a psychotherapist, intrigued by this incident, decides to heal the accused murderer and break her silence. The plot of the novel mainly revolves around how successfully Theo manages to wake Alicia from her still stupor, until things take a turn for good or for worse. Caution, no spoilers ahead!

Writing Style

The novel speaks to us through two distinct mediums. The first voice belongs to the second protagonist of the story, physiotherapist Theo Faber. The second voice is of our leading lady, Alicia Berenson who communicates with us through the pages of her diary. The author has used two different methods of writing, and fused the abstract (Alicia’s diary) with the actual ( Theo’s narrative), making the plot gripping and edgy till the very end. The novel is divided into four parts, each providing a view into both flashbacks and the present, taking the story forward. The best element of this book is that, the protagonist’s character arc is developed through the eyes of the other characters and her paintings; a writing style which plays full justice to contemporary literature.

Highlights

  • A good work depicting contemporary style of writing.
  • Is a treat for mystery/ psychological thrillers.
  • Great amount of dialogue in the narrative, instead of third person perspective, which adds more realistic touch to both the story and characters.
  • Is extremely pocket friendly for me, no guesses as to how and why. Lol.

Review

There are a few things that I wish to bring to light about this book in this review. First of all, it’s a great debut novel by the author. A big shout out to his creative, imaginative and writing skills which were put together to create something worthy to be read and to adapted into a movie soon after its release! You can guess , how great the story is already.This was my first time experimenting with a book that falls in the category of physiological thrillers and I am intrigued enough to read other titles soon. These books keep the readers at the edge all the time, bubbling with curiosity as to what would happen next, at the same time enabling them to question their conscience. Cool, isn’t it?

This novel is exactly as you do not expect it to be. You are presented with the most unique twists and plot leads when you start believing the story will tone down and vice versa. One begins the novel by reading about the main character Alicia and then the focus jumps to the second lead, Theo, going back to Alicia only for short intervals. So at the end, the reader is left wondering who actually the ‘silent patient’ was; Theo or Alicia? Let’s have a discussion on this in my comments section, once you are done reading the novel.

You are bound to be amazed by its ending, which acts as both the strongest anchor and biggest loop of the story. It is open to interpretations at the same time providing a concrete boundary to draw conclusions from.

I wish the author writes a sequel delving more into the life and character of Alicia Berenson. How thrilling would it be to read her silent thoughts! Well let’s hope for the best and I hope this message reaches to the author.

For me, this book stands at 4.3/5 with all its enjoyable parts and little snags here and there. I would definitely recommend this exciting piece of contemporary literature to my readers for its different style of character development, narration, plot and of course, *ending*. I would be eagerly waiting for that discussion…

I am glad that I read this unconventional book, which gave me an insight into the wide-world of genres that I am yet to read! For that, I am glad that the owner of the bookstore suggested I read and review this particular book. Do visit the store’s site for exciting book offers, reviews, author interviews and many more. (Link provided above).

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for book review, poetry and much more.

Cheers!

Wonder: Book Review

Hello people!After a long, long time, I am back to doing book reviews. Ta-da!

What marks this review to be special, is that it is a test of ability and my dedication towards writing. Well my followers are well aware of the fact how I love to rattle on and on about things that I wish should be brought to light. So a friend of mine challenged me recently and has placed a large sum of money (at least for us) on a bet,daring me to finish this review within five hundred words. Now, I have a point to prove and I’ll fight till the last ounce of courage to do the same!It’s my reputation at stake after all!

“You truly are a wonder!”

Admirable Plot

R.J Palacio pens down a beautiful story revolving around a ten-year old boy August “Auggie” Paulman and his struggles of adjusting in a new school, mysteriously hidden underneath a giant astronaut’s helmet, which he refuses to take off most of the time. Being encouraged by his loving, protective, supportive family consisting of his mother, father and elder sister Via, he succeeds in finding courage while facing the world and wining the hardest battle of his life; accepting himself the way he is.

Fascinating Writing Style

The narration of this story takes into account multiple perspectives of all the leading and secondary characters, a writing style which is uncommon in most literary works. You begin the novel by reading about Auggie and his views towards the world and finish the novel, reading the story of ancillary characters through their own words, connecting the dots of significance in their lives. I loved the author’s style of writing where parallel stories and character arcs run throughout the story, playing justice to each character and each event. The writing is strong, well-developed and tugs at your emotional strings at unexpected moments, providing many hoops for the reader’s revaluation and personal growth.

Awesome Highlights

  • Although it might seem, from the first glance, the story does not only focus on the main character. It is about a melange of characters coming together and embarking on a ‘wonder’ous (see, what I did there?) journey of doubt ,conflict and victory.
  • Deals with an extremely sensitive topic, but the narrative never appears to be preachy or ordinal.
  • The narrative seems more of a journal/diary entry instead of an outsider’s view, so the readers connect to the characters more quickly and easily.
  • The most lovable character is the family dog, with whom you fall in love at the first glance!
  • Is available in paperback and pocket-friendly 😛

Book Review

It is a non-conventional story about blurring boundaries of outer beauty and acceptance of the inner divinity. It takes into account various issues of the contemporary world including adolescent insecurities, upholding social images and helicopter parenting. The distinct writing style in itself carves out the message; loud and clear; it’s all about inclusion and acceptance. The characters in the novel speak to you through their own words and you live their lives with them.

Apart from the abrupt ending and a little lack of humor, the book is an amazing read. I know, most people will not agree with me on the humor part, but unless a writer does not involve hilarious moments, the narrative seems incomplete to me,

After I finished reading, I found out this novel is based on real events. I would have loved to read the author’s own reaction and how she dealt the situation in the story in some or the other way. I t would have added a more special and realistic touch.

The book stands at 3.9/5 for me. I suggest all to people, who have doubts in their abilities to succeed in life, to read this book. It would change your perceptive towards problems and you’ll be instilled with courage to deal with them.

Did you notice, I have used synonyms of ‘wonder’ as my adjectives in paragraph titles? Of course you did, I have full faith in my readers! Speaking of which, I also had full faith in my abilities, I would be able to win this bet!And, I did! So, I am waiting for the bet money, my friend…

Let me know in the comments section, if there is any book, you would like me to review.

Don’t forget to follow my blog.

Cheers!

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Book Review (Part-I)

Hello people! The world is such a small, strange place, isn’t it? The land on its surface is divided by boundaries and its people are united by art, literature, history, legacy and above all,emotions. Who would have thought, two strangers , residing in different parts of the world would bond over a hardbound collection of words, dwell over it, derive at conclusions and create something so beautiful out of it!

I remember messaging a super cool blogger who goes by the name of Chaz Green (you guys must already be familiar with his amazing blog-Life of Chaz ) two months ago, asking for a collab and expecting no answer in return to be honest! I guess he was too kind to respond to a two-and-a-half month old baby blogger (don’t even know whether its a real thing or not) and agree for a collab. So after a lot of discussion (about how it is NOT a love story and who gets to have the best spot on our collab poster:P), we decided upon a book by a profusely acclaimed Indian author, Arundhati Roy; ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, read it together and the result; the first ever collaboration of my life with another blogger! So, this blog post holds a special place in my heart and will remain etched as a beautiful memory forever! Oh God, why do I turn poetic, every other moment of my life? Just for the heads up, it’s not Chaz’s fault that we are posting this blog about a month later than we decided to. It’s just that,he happens to test your patience to decide, whether you are worthy for him or not! Plus I got the premium spot for my picture, but you could get that,of course!

How to tell a shattered story?

By slowly becoming everybody.

No.

By slowly becoming everything.’

Plot

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness narrates a hard-hitting story which revolves around three characters from different backgrounds, who are brought together by the common links of pain and non-acceptance. The novel begins with introducing us to Aftab, a young boy hiding a secret in his heart right from the moment he was born and struggling with his identity in the world, till he transforms in Anjum and pledges her allegiance to the world, which challenges the very existence of rules and boundaries. It then delves deeper into her transformation, the challenges she faces, the ever lasting relationships she forms and the journey of her embracing motherhood. The story then travels to how Anjum loses her spirit in the light of 2002 Godha train burning (apologies, non-Indian readers you will have to read about this beforehand, to understand the novel), leaves her world, or as she calls ‘duniya’ once again and starts anew in a graveyard. As time elapses, she befriends other outcasts and establishes a hotel-cum-resting place for weary travelers along the graves, depicting how hope can be found in the darkest of places. The story then moves forward, where we witness a massive protest at Delhi and how the characters are one step away from meeting each other.We then have a rendezvous with the next character Biplab Dasgupta, a diplomat who tells his story of how he fell in love with S. Tilottama along with two other men Musa Yewsi (who becomes a Kashmiri millitant) and Nagaraj Hariharan (who carves a sparkling career in journalism in Kashmir)  in college. He then jumps to the present revealing how the sudden appearance of his first love created upheavals in his life. The story is then told through Tilo’s perceptive,joining dots of her story from childhood till date. The rest of the story, then completes the puzzle of how and why the characters meet and how the Ministry of Utmost Happiness is finally established in a world outside, yet lying inside the real world.

Characters

If you happen to meet Chaz at some point of your life, do me a favor and ask him how many new Hindi words he learnt and how many he remembers along with their meanings. Trust me, you would definitely be surprised at his answer and be amazed at the amazing character he is! Be prepared, Mr Green!

Jokes apart, every character arc in the book, develops vehemently and fits well in the story. The author does not shield the characters in the veil of pretense or sympathy, but presents them to the world, as they are, urging the readers to accept them in the same way .

Anjum: The protagonist of the story who transforms herself from a young Muslim boy, Aftab, to a transgender who goes by the name of Anjum. It is through her eyes, we see her struggles of shedding an identity and accepting a new one and finding hope in the shards of her broken world. Her strong personality, graceful demeanor and strong will to fight back against the current are the things that appeal to the readers and urge them to know her story.

S. Tilottama : An architecture, who finds herself in the midst of a political turmoil while following her lover, Musa. She later marries Naga and improves her relationship with her dying, estranged mother. She ultimately finds her happiness in rearing a child named after her lover’s first born.

Nagaraj Hariharan: One of the three suitors of Tilo. He works as a renowned journalist in Kashmir and marries Tilo in the later part of the novel. After she leaves him, following fourteen years of marriage, he is devastated and struggles to find balance in his life again.

Biplab Dasgupta: A diplomat and an ardent admirer of Tilo, who plays an important role in saving her from meeting with a drastic end. He later meets with Musa and broods over how he wasted his life in search of a treasure which never was his.

Musa Yeswi: A Kashmiri insurgent and a master of disguises. It is in search of his love, Tilo embarks on a dangerous journey and nearly losses her life. He later befriends Dasgupta and they both reminisce their good, old days, to rekindle the spark of happiness.

Other characters in the novel, help take the story forward in an interesting way, with their backstories and struggles running in parallel. which proves to be a different read, than most of us are accustomed to.

Writing Style

The plot of the novel is well knit and keeps you at the edge, barring some parts. The book is divided into different parts, each focusing on a different era of India’s development and how the different characters deal with these changes. The story is narrated in a third person perspective, never really giving the readers a chance to delve deeper into the minds of the characters. I feel the story has a kind of abrupt ending, which focuses on only a few characters being able to learn the true purpose and the source of happiness of their lives. Just like reality, though! I think, that is the beauty of this book, it never paints a fairy land for the readers. It grasps the reality in its words, accentuates them and presents them to the world.

Review

This probably the second hardest part, you guys know, what the hardest part was, right? So apologies in advance, Miss Roy if we do not live up to your expectations of the review…

So the book begins on an interesting note, depicting the life of a transgender in the Indian society in the wake of the changes that take place in the country. With some more characters appearing in the story and so many event taking place, you seem to lose the momentum of the story after some time. With the introduction of the other characters, the plot becomes uptight again and you start craving for them have a happy ending, which they had been searching throughout their lives.

With the melange of social issues going on in the book, you find yourself dragged in a part of a world, which you wanted to avoid for a very long time. It would be a good idea, to read about these issues beforehand, so that you don’t feel disoriented while actually reading.This book tugs at the strings of your heart and acts as a soother at the same time, only you need to keep your emotions in check and mind at work, while deciphering this novel.

This book stands at 3.8/5 for me. I was expecting a little sprinkle of gentleness and cheerfulness at the end. which would have truly paid justice to the title. But never mind it is a good read, although a serious one, with a stinging story line and open interpretations. Only strong hearts, tread ahead!

This post isn’t complete yet!Next up is a discussion on the book where both the bloggers have put in their hearts, souls and different perspectives to analyse the book from each and every angle! Tried to make it sound serious, but you know how it is with us…

So visit our blog again, to know how different thoughts and emotions are brought together by words!

Cheers!