Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie.

I am usually particular about the first book  I read in a year. I always try to start with something which I think will make it to my list of top-rated books. This book was not one of them. But a long train journey forced me to pick this from the queen of crime.

Miss Marple, the elderly sleuth is on a vacation in exotic West Indies. Though a little bored at first,  her vacation is soon spiced up when Major Palgrave offers to show her a photo of a murderer. But at the same instant, Major sees someone and changes the subject. Later the Major is found dead in his room, supposedly after a heart failure. But Miss Marple is suspicious, especially after she finds out that the photo that the Major was previously talking about is missing.She started investigating. Soon there is a second murder. Who among the harmless-looking guests is the murderer?

The book has all the ingredients of a good Christie mystery but some  incidents are kind of repeating in  every story esp. the second murder following a blackmail. Also I was able to guess the murderer after a certain point in the story.

A typical Christie mystery. 3 out of 5.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2011: A Retrospection

No. of books: 14 :(
Most Read : Agatha Christie (Again...!)
Non Fiction : 2 (Sigh!!!)

Let downs :


Favourite of the year:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sathyan Anthikadinte Grameenar by Thaha Madai

Sathyan Anthikad is one of my favourite directors in Malayalam cinema. The simplicity with which he tells stories is really wonderful. 

A village backdrop and some members of the cast who are always repeated in most of his movies is kind of a signature of Anthikad movies. In this book, he tells about those people (Oduvil, Nedumudi Venu, SrinivasanInnocent etc) who portrait the villagers in his movie, thus giving it the soul it needs.

I have observed that Malayalam movie industry has something which might be unique to it: a bunch of talented supporting actors who retain their identity even when the story revolves around the main actors. May be the absence of these talented lot is the reason our movies loses its charm when remade into other languages. It is sad that we don't have some of them amongst us any more, but it is of no doubt that they will stay in our memories by the roles they essayed on the silver screen.
This book was a perfect way to say good bye to 2011.  3.5 out of 5.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

This novel, initially written in Swedish and later translated to English, is the first in the "millennium trilogy". Sadly, the author, Larsson, passed away without seeing his books becoming international bestsellers.

The story has two main protagonists, Mikael Blomkvist - publisher of Swedish financial magazine Millennium and Lisbeth Salandar - the girl with the dragon tattoo.It is interesting to see how these two parallel lives gets entangled in a crime investigation when Blomkvist is given the job of investigating the disappearance of Harriet Vanger  by her uncle, Henrik Vanger. They soon realise that they are actually searching for a serial killer, who might have harmed Harriet also.The other track of the story is Blomkvist's fight with corruption through his magazine.

The central undertone of the book is violence inflicted on women in different strata of their life. It shows that women, be it a girl under legal protection by the government or a girl in a supposedly protected environment of her family, are always prone to abuse. The other major themes in the book are corruption in Swedish Finance and the inactivity in Swedish financial journalism against it. It also touches on matters like Nazi movement in Sweden. Most of these themes, it seems, were really close to the late author's heart who himself was a finance journalist.

The book is an excellent thriller; I felt that the mystery of Harriet could have been unravelled a little later only. Once the mystery was solved the rest of the story was a little dull.

Looking forward to the remaining books in the trilogy, 4 out of 5.