Friday, October 24, 2014

Ellery Queen: A Journey of Discovery

The first time I remember hearing (okay reading) about Ellery Queen was when I read a fine review of Cat of Many Tails at Yvette's blog, in so many words... Subsequently, I read my first Queen The Murderer is a Fox, and realised that there were not one but two Ellery Queen, the writer as well as the investigator and the writer himself was again two people: Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee. There was also another Queen, the character's father Inspector Queen but thank god his first name was not Ellery. A fortnight back, I borrowed two books by Queen from the library and discovered that these books were not written by the two cousins but by other authors who wrote under the (house) name of Ellery Queen. Phew!




Dead Man's Tale (1961) was (ghost) written by Stephen Marlowe . Barney Street, a fixer, was part of the Allied airforce  during world war II whose life was saved by a Czech double agent Milo Hacha. Now Barney has willed all his property to Hacha much to the consternation of his wife, Estelle Street. Estelle forces a former friend, Steve Longacre, to go to Europe and finish off Hacha if he is still alive. Much against his wishes, Steve proceeds to Europe along with his college-educated brother, Andy. They are shown official documents certifying Hacha's death but there are also certain clues which point to the fact that Hacha might very well be alive. The 'dead' man's trail takes them to Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and finally behind the iron-curtain to Czechoslovakia. In the cold war scenario where does a man who helped the Allied forces, stand?

I liked this book because of the relationship between the two brothers as well as the depiction of people who have their lives irrevocably changed because of the war. On the flip side, too many convenient deaths take away the edge from the narrative.

Okay for a one-time read.



Wife or Death (1963) was actually written by Richard Deming. Jim Denton, the editor and proprietor of a newspaper, in a small town in the US knows that his wife Angel is being unfaithful to him. His love for her having died long time ago, he doesn't even feel like divorcing her and is actually shocked when she decides to walk out of the marriage. But what he hadn't realised was that she would end up dead and the DA of the town, who was one of her lovers, would take it upon himself to prove him the murderer. This turned out to be an okay mystery with more or less unpleasant characters.

*

First Line: Steve Longacre wheeled his convertible out of Neck Road and into the long driveway delicately.

Title: Dead Man's Tale
Author: Ellery Queen
Publication Details: NY: Pocket Books, 1961
First Published: 1961
Pages: 150
Source: H.M. Library [F.Q. 18]

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First Line: At midnight, when the masks came off, Jim Denton had not been yet on the dance floor.

Title: Wife or Death
Author: Ellery Queen
Publication Details: NY: Pocket Books, 1963
First Published: 1963
Pages: 153
Source: H.M. Library [F.Q. 19]

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Other books read of the same author: Cat of Many Tails, The Murderer is a Fox.

Submitted for FFB @ Pattinase

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Hope you all had a Happy Diwali. Here's wishing you joy and prosperity in the new year.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Forgotten Books: The Burning Court and The Black Spectacles by John Dickson Carr

You know how it is: You read about a book somewhere, it might be just a passing reference and  not a full-fledged review but it intrigues you so much that you want to read the book. So it was that I read a line from The Burning Court @ Classic Mystery Hunt ...and I simply had to read the novel.

And what a read it turned out to be.




Edward Stevens is a well-settled young man in his thirties. He has a loving wife and a secure job in a publishing house. When the novel begins, he is returning home from work, glancing cursorily at the manuscript of a book which deals with murder trials. Stevens remembers the odd conversation with his editor when the latter asked him to go through the manuscript but doesn't dwell on it much, his mind being preoccupied with the death of his neighbour Miles Despaard whose housekeeper later claimed that she had seen a woman in 'old-fashioned clothes' in Miles' room the night of his death. A woman who had later disappeared through a wall...

Just a woman's weird imaginings, Stevens thinks to himself and starts concentrating on the manuscript in his hands. His eyes fall on the photograph of a woman : a certain Marie D'Aubray who had been guillotined for murder in 1861 - and everything changes for him in that split second because he was looking at a photograph of his own wife.

Oh! The Thrill of reading this book! My Little One went to sleep early and since I had some time at hand I thought of reading this... and I just could not stop, reading it through the dark of the night with all the lights switched off and there being only the glow from my laptop. It complemented well the eerie atmosphere that Carr creates magnificently. Unquestionably, my best mystery read of the year. If you haven't read it, read it NOW.




You know how it is: You read a book and fall so much in love with it that you want to read other books by the same author. And you start another one..... and it simply falls flat. So it was with Carr's Black Spectacles that I started reading after finishing The Burning Court.




The premise of the book is very interesting. An eccentric millionaire Marcus Chesney wants to prove that people wear 'black spectacles' while watching anything, i.e. they don't really observe what is happening in front of them. To prove it, he goes in for an elaborate set-up enlisting the help of his assistant, Wilbur Emmet. In front of an audience of three - Chesney's friend Prof. Ingram, Chesney's niece Marjory, and her fiance George Harding - a figure (ostensibly Emmet) enters wearing outlandish clothes. He then proceeds to put a capsule in the mouth of Chesney and disappears in the gloom inside. Chesney pretends to die, then gets up, and all venture out. It's time for question and answer session but they discover Emmet lying unconscious outside and before they can understand what is happening, Chesney too kicks the bucket. Who was then the masked figure? The three witnesses cannot agree on what they saw. Not one but three police officials: Inspector Andrew Elliot, Chief Constable Major Crow, and Superintendent Bostwick arrive on the spot. To balance things, they too cannot agree on who the culprit might be and so like the victim's brother Dr. Joe Chesney who was supposed to be present but arrived late for the show, Dr. Gideon Fell enters the scene and well you know what Dr.Fell can do.

The book begins extremely well in the ruins of Pompeii but I have never really enjoyed the investigative officer falling in love with a prime accused in the case. This trope - which is all too frequent - ruined the Adam Dalgliesh series for me - and here it was painful to read Inspector Elliot behaving like a love-sick teenager. He even goes to the extent of hiding incriminating evidence against Marjorie from his superior officer because he is head-over-heels in love with her.

I don't know why I dislike this trope so much (perhaps I want the investigating officers to behave in a non-partisan manner) but it is worse when the damsel in distress has a fiance/ lover because you can bet that he will be shown in a very poor light if not as being utterly despicable. And Carr really pours it on thick over Harding.

Both the books have been posted about frequently and you can read about The Burning Court @ Classic Mystery Hunt, Do You Write Under Your Own Name?Valli's Book Den

Black Spectacles (aka Green Capsule) @ Classic Mystery Hunt,  Mystery File, Pretty Sinister Books




First Line: "There was a man lived by a churchyard - " is an intriguing beginning for a story left unfinished.

Title: The Burning Court
Author: John Dickson Carr
Publication Details: NY: International Polygonics,1985
First Published: 1937
Pages: 228
Source: Open Library
Trivia: No.10  in the Tozai Top 100 Mysteries
Other Books read of the same author: The Hollow Man, He Who Whispers, Eight of Swords


First Line: It began, as a certain man remembered it, at a house in Pompeii.

Title: The Black Spectacles
Alternate Title: The Problem of the Green Capsule


Publication Details: NY: Award Books, 1976
First Published: 1939
Pages: 228
Source: H.M. Library
Other Books read of the same author: The Hollow Man, He Who Whispers, Eight of Swords

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Entry for FFB @ Pattinase

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mount TBR 2014: Check_Point


It's check-point time in the Mount TBR Challenge hosted by Bev @ My Reader's Block.



Nine months into this challenge and I find myself sitting pretty having read and reviewed 11 books out of a total of 12 that I had committed for the challenge. Here are the books read:



From Sawdust to Stardust by Terry Lee Rioux
 Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
To Make the Deaf Hear by S. Irfan Habib
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Bodyline by Philip Derriman
Punjab and the Raj (1849-1947) by Ian Talbot
Prison and Chocolate Cake by Nayantara Sahgal
Neither Five Nor Three by Helen MacInnes
Bhagat Singh aur unke Sathiyon ke Dastavez
Bhagat Singh; The Jail Notebook and Other Writings
Bhagat Singh: Select Speeches and Writings

Bev has also asked us to answer one or more questions:

Pair up two of your reads using whatever connection you want to make. Written by the same author? Same genre? Same color cover? Both have a main character named Clarissa? Tell us the books and what makes them a pair.

This year I have been reading a lot about/ by Indian Revolutionary Bhagat Singh. Four of the books read: To Make the Deaf HearBhagat Singh aur unke Sathiyon ke DastavezBhagat Singh; The Jail Notebook and Other WritingsBhagat Singh: Select Speeches and Writings deal with his writings and thoughts. Reading these books has been quite an experience.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Paean to McCarthyism: Neither Five Nor Three by Helen MacInnes

I had only a vague idea of what McCarthyism was. There was a Hollywood Blacklist and there was some sort of persecution of Dashiel Hammett because of what was feared to be his communist leaning. That's it. So reading Helen MacInnes Neither Five Nor Three was like getting an education. I never knew that there was a time in the US when the word Communist was a synonym for all that is dirty and unclean in the world.

'No tactics are too low for a communist'




Paul Haydn, a veteran of World War II returns to the US from FRG. It is the early fifties and Haydn has had first-hand experience of refugees seeking asylum in the American zone. He thinks that he'd find some much needed rest in the US. But it is not to be. On the flight back, his senior officer makes some references to the danger that threatens US but Haydn is not too concerned. As the novel progresses,one gets to know that the danger that the senior officer was referring to was the Red Scare: The Communist Infiltration into the academic,business, media, and other institutions of the US.


Haydn runs into his former girlfriend Rona who is now engaged to Scott Ettley who is on his way to become a committed communist under the guidance of Nicholas - why not let himself be called Nick - Orpen, a former academician.


 Rona has no idea of Ettley's new found values but with the reentry of Haydn into her life, she does start questioning things she had ignored earlier. Complications ensue but you know that Paul Haydn with his American values will win the bout against the traitor Ettley. And bout it is, descending to the level of fist-fights...

It'd only be stupid to believe that all was well in the communist regimes of the world. In fact, things were pretty horrendous but is everything milk and honey in the United States? Going by MacInnes, Yes! Everything is fine and light and bright in the land of liberty but for these dregs of the society. And dregs of the society they are. And in case we have missed this point, MacInnes makes Haydn bundle a semi-conscious Ettley in a cab (after that fist-fight in which he lays low his rival just with one blow) asking the driver to dump him in with the garbage.



There was also a leit-motif in the novel that made me pretty suspicious and Wikipedia confirmed my suspicions. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Suspected homosexuality was also a common cause for being targeted by McCarthyism.... Homosexuality was classified as a psychiatric disorder in the 1950s. However, in the context of the highly politicised Cold War environment, homosexuality became framed as a dangerous, contagious social disease that posed a potential threat to state security. As the family was believed to be the cornerstone of American strength and integrity, the stigmatisation of homosexuals as "sexual perverts" meant that they were both unable to function within a family unit and presented the potential to poison the social body. This era also witnessed the establishment of widely spread FBI surveillance intended to identify homosexual government employees.




The McCarthy hearings and according "sexual pervert" investigations can be seen to have been driven by a desire to identify individuals whose ability to function as loyal citizens had been compromised.

And sure enough we have the ideal American family in the novel,representative of all that is good in the US: Jon who is a sincere hard-working professor, his wife Peggy who is an uncomplaining companion, a loving mother, and a brilliant home-maker, and their two cute as button kids. In fact, Ettley's only hope for redemption lies in his marriage to Rona. But what about Nicholas Orpen, the only American who declares himself publicly to be a communist? We are told (hold your breath):

"Why does Nicholas Orpen always avoid women so much? ... He seems to surround himself with young men."

Should one laugh or cry?

Reading this book was extremely problematic. Recent declassified documents have revealed that the CPUSA was under the control of Moscow but in a novel that deals with a troubled time in American history should everything be presented in such a biased and one-sided manner?

source: http://www.glogster.com/mollyj24/mccarthy-red-scare/g-6l6c4921v9oh94lj7666ma0


Last year, I picked up a few books by Helen MacInnes because she was compared favourably to two of my favourite authors: Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. May I know who writes these blurbs? I do not claim to be an authority on either Greene or Ambler but what little I have read of them shows that everything is not this cut and dried for them. (And since I have read more of him than Ambler) When Greene deals with a clash of ideas and ideologies in his books (It's a Battlefield, The Human Factor, The Quiet American) he never presents them as black and white. People and their beliefs are presented in both their positive and negative aspects. Greene was a staunch Roman Catholic but even the communist Police Lieutenant in his book The Power and the Glory (that deals with the persecution of the RC Church in Mexico) is presented sympathetically as a man sincere in his duty and committed to his cause. How can anyone even compare the two writers is beyond me.

I wonder what I should do with the other books of MacInnes that I bought because going by this book, she is simply not my cup of tea.


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First Line: The dawn came slowly,cold and clear, thinning out the night sky.

Title: Neither Five Nor Three
Author: Helen MacInnes
Publication Details: Glasgow: Fontana, 1979
First Published: 1951
Pages: 350
Source: Bought @ Delhi Book Fair,2013
Other books read of the same author: None

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Entry for FFB @ Pattinase



Sunday, September 28, 2014

28 September: Bhagat Singh and Books

Have you heard of the Babbar Akalis or the Kuka Namdharis or of Kartar Singh Sarabha or of the Komatagata Maru incident or of the Provisional Government of India in Afghanistan? I don't blame you if you haven't. I am sure a majority of us Indians too haven't heard of these. Thus going through Bhagat Singh aur Unke Saathiyon ke Dastavez (The Documents of Bhagat Singh and His Comrades) was like reading an alternate history of India. Here were chronicles of men and women who had fought for India's independence braving everything, even the mouths of cannons. And yet these people are relegated to one-line (if they are mentioned at all) in the official history of Independent India.



Bhagat Singh, whose birth-anniversary falls on this day, is usually remembered as a fiery revolutionary. What is often forgotten is that he was also an extremely well-read man, somebody who thought deeply about the problems plaguing India. According to his comrade, Shiv Verma, Bhagat Singh always carried with him two things: a pen and a pistol. His Jail Notebook reflects his wide reading. From Jack London's Iron Heel to Rousseau's Emile to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment to Lord Byron's The Prisoner of Chillon to Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man to Valentine Chirol's Indian Unrest, he seems to have read them all. Even on the day of his execution he was reading Lenin's biography.



And there is a special poignancy in these lines in the letter that he wrote to his friend Sukhdev as both faced imprisonment and certain death:

I want to tell you that in jail, and in jail alone, can a person get an occasion to study empirically the great social subjects of crime and sin. I have read some literature on this and only the jail is the proper place for the self-study on all these topics. The best parts of the self-study for one is to suffer oneself. (Bhagat Singh: Select Speeches & Writings - 102).



It saddens me that I let these books gather dust on my shelves for so long.



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First Line: Lahore, 22 July, 1918.

Title: Bhagat Singh aur Unke Saathiyon ke Dastavez
Ed. Jagmohan Singh and Chaman Lal
Publication Details: ND: Rajkamal, 2001
First Published: 1997
Pages: 423
Source: Bought in 2003

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First Line: For Bhagat Singh
                  Four Hundred and Four Pages (404 pages)
                  Cell No. 137
                  Central Jail Lahore

Title: Bhagat Singh: The Jail Notebook and Other Writings (Annotated by Bhupender Hooja)
Publication Details: ND: LeftWord Books, 2007
First Published: 1994
Pages: 191
Source: Bought at World Book Fair, 2008

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First Line: On the day of Holi, February 27, 1926, when we were getting high on our enjoyment, a terrible thing was happening in a corner of this great province.

Title: Bhagat Singh: Select Speeches and Writings
Ed.: D.N. Gupta
Publication Details: ND: NBT, 2007
First Published: 2007
Pages: 152

Source: Bought at Delhi Book Fair, 2007






Friday, September 19, 2014

Forgotten Book:The Hand in the Dark by Arthur J.Rees (1920)

It is September 1918. Wartime restrictions on food and drink continue in Britain but the mood is one of hope and optimism. Victory is close at hand. Time perhaps to throw a party...





Recently married couple, Violet and Phil Heredith, decide to host a party at their mansion in the country. The two had met while working at the war-office in London and had married after a brief courtship, much to the dismay of Phil's paternal aunt Miss Alethea Heredith , who had hoped that Phil would marry a girl belonging to a famous land-owning family from the country. The city-bred orphan, Violet is just not considered good enough by Miss Heredith. Violet on her part considers life in the country to be boring. Used to the excitement of life in the metropolis, she is stifled by the regulated regime in the Heredith household. And it is to cheer her up that Phil decides upon throwing a party. The party, in which the guest are mostly old acquaintances of Violet and Phil from London, however flounders from the start. Violet has one of her terrible headaches and as she desires nothing but to be left alone, the onus of entertaining the guests falls on Althea. The party is invited to visit the Weynes -another couple from London - who have decided to 'bury' themselves in the country. Prior to leaving for the Weynes, all the guest assemble in the dining hall to have their dinner where they are regaled by an exciting story about the discovery of a ruby narrated by Vincent Musard, an explorer and expert on gems. As the story reaches its climax, a scream is heard from Violet's room followed by the sound of a shot. On rushing up to her room, they find Violet dying from a gun wound. The sight of his wife dying unhinges Phil and he collapses. The police is called in and find themselves perplexed as the guests were all assembled in the dining hall at the time of murder. Further, there seems to be no motive behind the murder. Eventually though a breakthrough is made and a person is arrested. Meanwhile Phil recovers and is shocked to hear about the person accused of murder. He believes the police have made a mistake and calls in a private detective, Cowley. Painstakingly, Cowley arrives at a different solution to the mystery but whose was the hand that touched the face of the alleged murderer in the dark?





Apart from the mystery (which is pretty good), I enjoyed the characterisation of the police officials investigating the crime. There is first of all the village Bobby, Robert Lumbe, whose heart is all a flutter when he hears of the murder. Then there is his brother-in-law, Detective Thomas Caldew from the Scotland Yard who feels that this case can propel him towards greater things but who finds that not only his superior officer is not going to give him much credit but even the villagers continue to regard him as 'the village urchin'. There is also Inspector Weyling who keeps on thinking of his rabbits while the case is being discussed. The Chief Constable, Captain Stanhill, meanwhile  never did anything so dangerous as to think, but accepted the traditions and rules of his race and class as his safe guide through life. Like most Englishmen of his station of life, he was endowed with just sufficient intelligence to permit him to slide along his little groove of life with some measure of satisfaction to himself and pleasure to his neighbours. He was a sound judge of cattle and horses, but of human nature he knew nothing whatever. All he is bothered about is that people of the 'Big House' should not be inconvenienced. No such compunctions, however, deter Superintendent Merrington whose larger than life figure towers above them all.  A recognized hero of the British public, which on one occasion had presented him with a testimonial for his capture of a desperado who had been terrorizing the East End of London. But Merrington disdained such tokens of popular approval. He regarded the public, which he was paid to protect, as a pack of fools. For him, there were only two classes of humanity—fools and rogues. The respectable portion of the population constituted the former, and criminals the latter. He had the lowest possible opinion of humanity as a whole, and his favourite expression, in professional conversation, was: "human nature being what it is...."

It is the interaction between these various officials (and later Detective Cowley) that in many ways move the story forward. More than the hosts and the guests at the party, it is they who hold centre stage:

"But all the guests did not go upstairs," observed Captain Stanhill, who was following his companion's remarks with close attention. "Some stayed in the dining-room. Tufnell, the butler, made that quite clear when you were examining him this morning."

"Yes—a few hysterical females cowering and whimpering with fear as far away from the door as possible," retorted Merrington contemptuously. "The butler made that clear also."





I also enjoyed reading about the changing social fabric of England. The war has made the girls independent as they move out of home and hearth. When Musard (one of the old school) remarks that the adventure he is being asked to relate might be too horrible for the ladies, he is assured that that needn't deter him as the War has made them strong-minded. The gap between the generations is widening with the elders thinking that the youngsters are lacking in both etiquette and discretion.




The novel also contains three different stories which can form a novel of their own. There is Musard's narrative of finding a ruby in the wilderness of New Zealand which carries with it a whiff of the adventure novels of yore as men went exploring the uncharted territories of the earth; there is an unsolved mystery of a man's disappearance (murder?); and finally there is a hugely funny story of a woman who thinks of herself as a horse after being bitten by a police dog.

In fact, the most charming feature of the book is its humour. Certain tongue-in-cheek remarks about the English are most refreshing... and surprising. The novel was published in 1920 but not for the author the chest-thumping of a country which has won a war. When the butler, Tufnell is sent to get the village policeman, he fancies he sees a crouching shape in the dark:

Tufnell's first impulse was to take to his heels, but he was saved from this ignominious act by the timely recollection that he was an Englishman, whose glorious privilege it is to be born without fear.

Then when Miss Heredith starts singing paeans in praise of a dead ancestor:

"Her Royal Highness held my great-uncle in much esteem, Mr. Colwyn," she added, as she proceeded to fit one of the keys into the box. "He was one of the most famous of Nelson's captains. When he died the residents of his native town erected a memorial to him. It was inscribed with testimony to his worth in a civic, military, and Christian capacity, together with a text stating that he caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. Beneath the text was commemorated his feat in sinking the French frigate L'Équille, with every soul on board."

"That hardly seems like causing the widow's heart to sing for joy," commented Musard.




   
The author Arthur J. Rees has been a real find and I'll definitely be reading more of him. A review of the book can also be read @ Vintage Pop Fictions.

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First Line: Seen in the sad glamour of an English twilight, the old moat-house, emerging from the thin mists which veiled the green flats in which it stood, conveyed the impression of a habitation falling into senility, tired with centuries of existence.

Title: The Hand in the Dark
Author: Arthur J. Rees
Publication Details; E-Text
First Published: 1920
Pages: n.pag
Source: The book can be downloaded for free from many sites.I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg,Australia

Other books read of the same author: None

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Entry for Friday's Forgotten Books @ Pattinase.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Disappointing: Why Shoot a Butler?, & Endless Night



Losing one's way and ending up in a strange and (oft times) sinister situation is a plot technique often used by mystery writers. [See Death Knocks Three Times, and The Whispering House]


 Georgette Heyer's Why Shoot a Butler? also begins with our hero Frank Amberley (a brilliant barrister as the blurb has it) helplessly lost as he tries to make his way to Greythrone, the home of his uncle and aunt. It is not that he has never been to Greythrone, it is only the fact that he was trying to follow a shortcut that seems to meander forever. Finally, on a deserted road, he encounters a car and a girl standing beside it. He asks for directions but the girl (a sulky beauty - courtesy the blurb) behaves as though he is extracting her tooth for all the information she volunteers. Not used to such a treatment - because usually it is he who is treating people like dirt - Amberley decides to bother her all the more and subsequently discovers that there is a dead body in the car and that the girl (a Miss Shirley Brown as we come to know later) has a gun with her. This first encounter between the two sets the tone for the rest of the novel which consists in large part of bantering and fencing between the two of them. After a point this gets so tiresome that I just wished them to declare their true feelings for each other and spare us.

In between all these - I am more smart than you - exchanges there are three murders, a sinister house, a dusty book, cousins and siblings, dumb and dumber policemen, an omniscient aunt, and an adorable uncle who is the only redeeming feature in this otherwise mess of a mystery.







Sometime in 2012, I did a post on my Top 12 Agatha Christies. One of the books that was strongly recommended was Endless Night. Now I know very well that amongst her novels, there are only three I haven't read: Postern of Fate, Passenger to Frankfurt, and By the Pricking of My Thumbs. So obviously, here was a book that I had read but forgotten. Then at the start of this year, Tipping My Fedora had a wonderful post on the same book that made me all the more determined to read it. Unfortunately, I found the narrative a drag and the characterisation uninspired.

Michael Rogers, estranged from his mother, is a loner and a drifter. He meets American heiress Ellie and after a whirlwind romance marries her. The couple settle at Gypsy's Acre where they build a dream house. However, the land is supposed to be haunted and soon the dreams turn into nightmares. The novel's premise is good but the unconvincing ending spoiled the book for me. Also the characters were insipid and I could hardly relate to anyone of them.

In fact, I found only two points of interest in the book. (Since these are SPOILERS, please don't read any further if you have not read the book)








Didn't you find the hypocrisy of Andrew P. Lippincott (Uncle Andrew indeed!) just sickening? He knew the truth and yet he concealed it. How double-faced!

And then there is this moment: Ellie is singing and Michael comes in and they have this cryptic dialogue:

"Why are you looking at me like that, Mike?"
"Like what?"
"You're looking at me as though you loved me...."(126)

Did she know then? Had she guessed? This is the only thing that intrigued me in the whole book.








*

First Line: THE SIGNPOST was unhelpful.

Title: Why Shoot a Butler?
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publication Details: NY: Bantam, 1970
First Published: 1936
Pages: 248
Other books read of the same author: (Among others) The Black Moth, The Reluctant Widow

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First Line: In my end is my beginning....That's a quotation I've often heard people say.

Title: Endless Night
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication Details: London: Collins (The Crime Club), 1967
First Published: 1967
Pages: 224
Other books read of the same author: (Among others) And Then There Were None, Ordeal by Innocence, Sparkling Cyanide