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.

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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.

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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.

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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'.

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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.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ayodhya the dark night by Krishna and Dhirendra Jha

The Secret History of Rama's appearance in Babri Masjid

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Communists authors Krishna and Dhirendra Jha spin their own take on the Babri Masjid incident, no not the one in 1992 where the Masjid was destroyed by Kar Sevaks but the one in 22 DEC 1949. In the common man's memory the Babri Masjid incident is etched as an act of hyper Hinduism. In reality it has a deep political strategy at its core, this is true for both 1992 and 1949. In 1949, a sadhu, Abhiram Das, who was also a leader of one of the many Akharas in Ayodhya surreptitiously placed an idol of Lord Ram in the Babri Masjib, thus claiming it to be a place of worship for the Hindus and not Muslims. Thus kicking off the controversy of Babri Masjid which while writing this in May, 2015 is still unresolved..

Babri Masjid is of course built in Ayodhya, which is to Hindus what Mecca is to Muslims. On a side note do you know that one cannot build a temple in Saudi Arabia(the massive middle east Islamic country) let alone in holy Mecca, which is situated inside it. Alas, non Muslims cannot even enter Mecca let alone think about building a temple there. But I digress, the communist authors are so bigoted and prejudiced against the Hindus and the Hindu Mahasabha(a major political outfit back in the 1940's and 1950's) that they refer to them as communal in every line of the book. They literally prefix the word communal when referring to any person who supports the Mahasabha or the Hindus. The Communist authors have done no justice to the art of documenting history and writing a book. They come up with a conspiracy theory that the Mahasabha and its tallest leader Veer Savarkar were behind the plot to install the idol of Lord Ram in the Babri Masjid as they wanted to usurp power from the secular Congress party led by the bronze god Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Abhiram Das was only a pawn in the chess board of the Mahasabhaites and their sympathizers in the Congress, one of them being the Iron Man himself, Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The communists authors have the audacity to attack the architect of India, Patel and pit him against Nehru, at least that is what the book tries to portray. So they have a whole chapter called "Nehru-Patel Standoff", the chapter is like those videos on youtube who promise the latest episode from game of thrones but when you click on the video it instead shows you a static image for a long long time.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

There was an old woman by Ellery Queen

Image result for there was an old woman ellery queenMaster of Deduction debuts on my little old blog.

Ellery Queen is the name used by both the detective and pseudonym for the author pair of cousins, Danny and Lee from NY. Ellery Queen is perhaps one of the most famous names in detective fiction next only to Agatha Christie, and the Grand master of locked room murders himself(shame on you if you don't know who I'm referring to).

Enough stalling, lets get down the mystery. Cornelia Potts in the overtly dominating matriarch of the Potts family and the Potts business empire, which they founded on selling cheap shoes. Cornelia had six children, 3 from the first marriage and 3 from her second. Cornelia's children from her first marriage are far from normal, they are deranged and quirky, and her children from her second marriage are normal and even have a sharp business acumen. This sharp contrast has led her to sympathize with her older set of children resulting in her indulging them and letting them have their way in childish pursuits.

The oldest and most notorious out of all her children is Thurlow Potts, a short, stout middle aged man who spends his mother's fortune in defending the honor of his family because of imagined slights through lawsuits, which he loses one after another. Ellery Queen takes a great interest in this quirky family, at dinner one night Thurlow challenges his younger step brother to a duel to death, at another one of his imagined slights. The saner potts, their lawyer and Ellery try to talk Thurlow out of the duel but he is adamant. So Ellery comes up with a neat little trick to exchange real bullets in Thurlow's guns with fake ones, Ellery does the task himself. The next morning at dawn, the two step brothers step outside the Potts mansion for the duel, Thurlow fires and his step brother falls.