Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Incredulity of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

Continuing my reading into the Father Brown Series, and having read The Innocence of Father Brown and then the Wisdom of Father Brown, I have now corollary moved to the The Incredulity of Father Brown, which is chronologically the third book in the Father Brown series. I'm going to do capsule reviews of the eight short parables which make up The Innocence of Father Brown.

The Resurrection of Father Brown - Father Brown is perambulating in a South American town, when he is struck by two men who come from nowhere and leave the inconspicuous priest lifeless, but wait is he really dead? or is at an elaborate scheme against Christianity and the Church. No mystery here, this is the worst opening story that a book could have. The characterization is so pathetic that it is difficult to remember and care about the characters, they just seem too fanatic for my taste, either a character is too religious or too atheist. The story serves as a reminder to everyone who have forgotten the virtues and nobleness of Catholicism and the ignobility and vices of the heathen religions and the depravity of Atheism.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr

 Mark Despard is disturbed. His uncle Miles Despard has died and he thinks somebody poisoned him. Mrs Henderson, the maid, claims that while the house was empty and Miles was in his room, she saw the silhouette of a woman standing over his bed, giving him a drink and then disappearing through a door which was not there. Mrs Henderson could not make out who this women was but she did describe the dress that she was wearing, she was wearing the dress worn by Madame de Brinvilliers, the french serial killer who poisoned tens of people and then was caught by an ancestor of the Despards. In 1676, she was guillotined and then burnt at the stake.

There was another detail about the enigmatic visitor that Mrs Henderson missed but later recited, she felt that  the neck of the woman wasn't properly "fastened"! The Despards now think that it was the ghost of Madame de Brinvilliers who came back to take revenge on the bloodline of her nemesis, and that is how the specter escaped from a door that was not there.

Mark Despard wants to now exhume the body of his dead uncle and check if he was poisoned or not. Mark enlists two old friends for this clandestine task. Together they open the crypt where the Despards keep their dead, then they open the wooden coffin and find that apparently Miles Despard has escaped from his grave. The Coffin is empty. The Crypt has remained unperturbed since the day Miles was buried with his ancestors. Furthermore, the crypt is made of granite which is impregnable and the question of hidden passages is ruled out. So where did the dead body of Miles go? and who was the women who entered Miles room on the night of his murder and where did she disappear? In this tale of the occult, witches, poisoners and murders nobody is what they seem.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nine and Death makes Ten aka Murder in the Submarine Zone by Carter Dickson



When I first started reading mysteries, I was greatly influenced by "And then there were none" by Agatha Christie and so I started looking for books similar to it. My arduous search efforts led me to "Nine and Death makes Ten" and corollary the discovery of John Dickson Carr, but alas the book was out of print and me being a novice classic mystery hunter had no idea on how to get my covetous hands on it. So I searched some more titles from the then obscure author, and ordered The Judas Window from an online bookstore.

I kept reading others books and simultaneously kept looking for that elusive book with the cover of a black ship in the front and that green skull in the background. Finally after much efforts and properly utilizing a lot of money and time I have got hold of the 1940 Classic.

Plot:

Abroad an ocean liner called the Edwardic, are nine passengers who are travelling at the beginning of the second world war from New York to England. The ship has to go through the submarine zone where a Nazi torpedo could sink them to the bottom of the sea. The Edwardic's nine passengers who are risking their lives for this travel are faced with the additional problem of Murder!

One of the passengers among the nine is found murdered, throat slit and blood splattered in the cabin, but the   murderer has committed a grave mistake and left his/her fingerprints at the scene of the crime. The ship's Captain orders that everyone's fingerprints be taken and then matched with the murderer's to determine the perpetrator of this ghastly crime, next comes the impossible mystery which is that the murderer's fingerprints do not match with anyone on board the Edwardic, neither the passengers nor anyone from the ship's crew. The Ship's Captain orders the old man to take over the investigation but this time HM is up against a willy opponent who might just make it his last case.