Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: Assassins: A British Mystery Series Set in 1920s London

Assassins: A British Mystery Series Set in 1920s London Assassins: A British Mystery Series Set in 1920s London by Jim Eldridge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A promising start to a police procedural set in post-WWI London peters down to a rather predictable end. It is quite unfortunate since I liked the mix of real-life and fictional characters. Also the team of Detective Chief Inspector Paul Stark and his sergeant, Robert Danvers - coming as they are from two different strata of a very class-conscious British society - is rather engaging. However, nowhere did the narrative really make me feel the tension of murders being committed at a delicate point of British history- the privation after the war, the Irish question, the looming threat of Bolsheivism - the author throws everything in the cauldron but nothing gives the book that extra edge. The romantic sub-plot seems forced too. That said, I'd like to read the second in the series before giving up on the series.

*

Opening Lines: London, October 1921
Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies, glowered at the tall, thin police detective standing before him. ‘Are you suggesting that my actions have interfered with a criminal investigation?’ he demanded menacingly.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: सरदार भगत सिंह के सहयोगी शिव वर्मा

सरदार भगत सिंह के सहयोगी शिव वर्मा सरदार भगत सिंह के सहयोगी शिव वर्मा by Pramod Kumar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Biography of revolutionary and later member of the CPI (M), Shiv Verma, a close associate of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev and who has written one of the most moving accounts of his departed friends in his award-winning book Sansmritiyan. Since hardly anything is known about Verma this is a laudable attempt but the writer goes into certain irreverent details which add nothing to the narrative.

*

First Line: Mujhe smaran nahin ki mahan krantikari Shiv Verma se sabse pehle mein kab mila.

Source: Purchased in 2015.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Revolutionary's Life: Bandi Jeewan

Bandi Jeewan Bandi Jeewan by Sachindra Nath Sanyal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book which according to a British secret report sent "more young men to the jails and gallows than any other book" is a first-hand account of the revolutionary movement in India during the second and third decades of the twentieth century. Sachindranath Sanyal, who was awarded the life-imprisonment twice by the British authorities in India gives a vivid account of what it meant to struggle for one's freedom during the colonial rule. It also details the often-negative attitude of the Congress top-leadership towards the revolutionaries. An interesting read though the Hindi of the first volume is a little tough to understand at times.

*

First Line: Kisi samaj ko pehchanane ke liye us samaj ke sahitya se parichit hone ki param avashaktya hoti hai, kyonki samaj ke pranon ki chetna us samaj ke sahitya mein bhi pratiphalit hua karti hai.

Ed. Pt. Satyanarayan Sharma

Pub Details: 1922. ND: Sakshi Prakashan, 2015
Pages: 368


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Review: A History of the Indian Nationalist Movement

A History of the Indian Nationalist Movement A History of the Indian Nationalist Movement by Verney Lovett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A biased, often condescending look, at the freedom struggle of India.

*

First Line: An accurate knowledge of the conditions of the past is necessary for a right understanding of the problems of the present.

Pub. Details: 1920. ND: Vishal Publishers, 1972.
Pages: 303.
Other books read of the same author: None.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Ghost in Pearls: Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Lost Among the Living Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Random thoughts after reading Simone St. James' Lost Among the Living, a book listed on 50 Most Suspenseful Novels:

1. Who makes these lists???????

2. Why am I sucker for such lists??????

3. If you are going to introduce the supernatural in a mystery, take some tips from John Dickson Carr. To use it as deux ex machina is pathetic.

4. The protagonist is madly in love with her husband but at the first whiff of suspicion, the missing spouse is suspected of not only being a traitor but also a murderer!!!! Is this what love is all about?

5. The protagonist feel betrayed as certain things were not revealed to her and is unforgiving about the whole issue but in the course of the same conversation she says that if the things were such great secrets than she she should have been kept in the dark even now. Make up your mind, woman.

6. Two stars (rather than one) because I liked Cora and Martin and hope they live happily ever after.

*

First Line: By the time we left Calais, I thought perhaps I hated Dottie Forsyth.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Waste of Time: The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

The Cry The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Do people really like such books? Peopled with unsympathetic character; alternating narrative by hysterical women; it being thrust down our throats that in an extra-marital relationship, the man is the villain - not the wife, not the mistress who, poor things, are nothing but victims and given a chance can actually like each other and be friends; the supposedly BIG reveal turning out to be a damp squib, something that you had guessed right from the beginning; Philosophical posing such as 'we cannot build our happiness on somebody's sorrows' but can apparently get away with murder.....

Oh God! I just want this book out of my system.

*

First Line: It was the fault of the airport security.

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