Monday, February 20, 2012

The Jackal Man by Kate Ellis

Clare Mayers was walking back home after a few drinks. on the solitary dark road to her house she noticed a belligerent animal, the size of a man running up towards her. The frightened girl turned and ran back but soon she found herself being strangled around the neck with a wire. An approaching car proved to be her life saver as the attacker ran on seeing the headlights. Clare described to the police that the perpetrator of her ordeal was a man wearing a dog mask.

Later, the police found another victim and this time she is not lucky. The enigmatic attacker has succeed where he failed earlier. He strangled the victim and then tore off her clothes, cut out her organs and put them in a pile neatly besides the body, and then wrapping her in linen clothes Prepared her for the afterlife just as the ancient Egyptians would.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Picture Imperfect and other Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay

Byomkesh Bakshi was a popular TV series in the early 1990's which aired on Doordarshan, having never watched the show and hearing many encomiums about it, I picked up the book on which the show is based. now you might ask why would I not just watch the TV show instead of reading the book? very candidly speaking I have  entered a few reading challenges this year that require me to read a mystery from Asia or your home state/country. Also I thought it would give me the opportunity to analyse Indian mystery writing to its European and American counterparts.

The stories were was originally written in Bengali and have been translated in English. Since the book consists of multiple stories, I'm going to write short capsule reviews of each one. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Case of the Crooked Candle by Erle Stanley Gardner

Perry Mason the famous crime lawyer is hired by Carol Burbank to help her father Roger Burbank circumvent the law. Roger Burbank is accused of murdering a business associate abroad his Yacht. The victim is Roger Milfield, a man who superficially seems harmless but had many dirty secrets and had a countless list of enemies. Perry Mason has to get his client extricated, in order to do that he will have to solve the puzzle of the crooked candle.

A candle is found besides the dead body which is little burnt and is 17 degrees from perpendicular. so what about it? This seemingly frivolous candle turns out be the most vital clue in the case.

Review: Erle Stanley Gardner was one of the most prolific writers of his time. Gardner was one of the best selling authors of all time and certainly
the best in the mystery genre. but he also had his detractors like Rex stout, for example, once claimed that the Perry Mason books weren't even novels. so how did Mason and Gardner do in the case of the crooked candle?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr

Dr Alan Campbell a Scot, who has never been to Scotland gets a letter inviting him to meet others members of his Clan following the death of a family member. The departed soul is of Angus Campbell, a man who has plunged to his death from the window of a  locked bedroom chamber atop a tower. The insurance agent calls it a suicide but Angus's relatives call it murder. The perplexing question to be asked is how can someone murder a man who is alone in a locked room bolted from inside, and the only window to the room is inaccessible from both below and top. The relatives come up with their own conundrum which is the discovery of a dog carrier bag under the bed of Angus, the relatives contemplate that something could have escaped from the bag that would have led Angus to jump in sheer fright from the soaring high tower.

Meanwhile these questions linger on, there is another suicide attempt off the tower and a third locked room suicide, making this a Case of Constant Suicides for Dr. Gideon Fell.

Review:

The Master of the locked room Returns! For me reading Carr books releases the same endorphins as sex or chocolates. His books have everything which a being like me wants to pass over time in this world full of  otherwise mundane and monotonous sources of leisure. An Impossible Crime, eccentric and aged detectives, hint of the supernatural, mystery and magic. Enough with the Carr encomiums, lets do the book review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Murder must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers

Mr. Death Bredon has joined the seemingly unobtrusive firm of Pym's Publicity. Pym is an Advertising agency where Bredon has joined as the copy writer. But very soon Mr. Bredon discovers that Pym isn't exactly what it seems to be and the reader finds out even sooner that Mr. Bredon isn't who he says he is.

Few chapters in the book and you don't have to be Henry Merrivale(god help you if you don't know who he is) to deduce that Mr. Bredon is actually the Aristocrat Lord Peter Wimsey, who is also an amateur sleuth and has joined Pym in the garb of an overtly curious copy writer to investigate the death of Victor Dean and to bust a smuggling racket.

Review:

Dorothy Sayers along with Agatha Christie forms the female mystery authors duo of the Golden Age of detective fiction. Lord Peter Wimsey was to Sayers what Poirot was to Christie.  Sayers wrote a number of mystery novels involving Wimsey. so now lets get down to the book review.