Book Review: The Year of Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer

Ethereal Jinxed | Book Review | The Year of Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Short Story
Book Name: The Grass is Always Greener, One Man’s Meat, Cheap at Half the Price, The Endgame etc etc
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Pages: 25 pages each
Publication Year: 2011-2017

What is so special about short stories? It is that they power pack the content without being verbose and putting the point across. Of course, as compared with other books, it has to be written in a much better way so that there are no loose ends left.

To end this year, I had started worrying which book to pick in the last week and then I came across the collection of these books available free on Amazon Kindle version and I said, why not! At least I will not carry forward a story to the next year and I was right. Each book takes less than 30 mins to complete since each is a short story in itself. The message is simple and these are just perfect since these are written by the famous author Jeffrey Archer, what more can one want!

So, in case you are not having much time at hand, why not give these a try and be happy that you completed one book a day, especially if it is both the count of books and quality that matters to you.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews and Happy New Year 2018.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Books part of THE YEAR OF SHORT STORIES are part of a limited number of digital shorts released to celebrate the publication of Jeffrey Archer’s magnificent seventh short-story collection, Tell Tale.

 

About the author:
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. Outside politics, he is a novelist, playwright and short story writer.

Website: www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk
Twitter: @Jeffrey_Archer

Rating: 8/10
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Book Review: Coffee, Tea or Me by Trudy Baker, Rachel Jones and Donald Bain

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Coffee, Tea or Me Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones with Donald Bain

Genre: Humoir, so-called Memoir
Book Name: Coffee, Tea or Me?
Author: Donald Bain
Pages: 300
Publication Year: 1967

What do you know about memoirs? Most will agree these are boring or are interesting only for the genre on which the book was based on. Hop on the journey of this book Coffee, Tea or Me? and you will have a different say altogether.

To start with, the book name reminds one of either hotel industry or airlines – so the name is very apt chosen since this was an old jokes on stewardess those days. Then the cover page design entices a reader to pick the book as a lighter read. Now, to talk about the writings, this is very simply crafted for the masses to become a bestseller. Tell me, how is one going to fathom heavy diction and appreciate it if one is not so well-versed in literature and is of course, not a GMAT top scorer on vocabulary. But no, I am not referring to most of the lovey-dovey books being published these days by Indian writers. However, the second half of the book became a drag since many jobs and careers were looked into briefly and typified – this is the part of the book which I did not like and wanted to get over with but unfortunately, it contributed to bulk of the pages.

Overall, this is a fun book to read book, especially if you are traveling by airlines now! And if not, just to get to know how air-hostesses were in 1970s. No doubt, this book had been translated in several languages and is still in circulation. Enjoy.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Remember when flying was glamorous and sexy, even fun? When airline food was gourmet, everyone dressed up for a flight, and stewardesses catered to our every need-at least in our imaginations? This classic memoir by two audaciously outspoken young ladies, who lived and loved the free-spirited stewardess life, jets you back to those golden days of air travel-from the captain who’s as subtle as a 747 when he’s on the make to the passenger who mistakes the overhead luggage rack for an upper berth; from the names of celebrities who were a pleasure to serve (and some surprising notables on the “bad guy” list) to the origins of some naughty stereotypes-Spaniards are the best lovers, actors the most foul-mouthed. This huge bestseller, a First Class jet-age journal, offers a hilarious gold mine of outrageous anecdotes from the high-flying and amorous lives of those busty, lusty, adventuresome young women of the swinging ’60s known as “stews.”

About the author:
Donald Bain is a little-known but versatile writer who sold millions of books, most of them published under other people’s names. Considered one of the pre-eminent ghost writers in the publishing world, Mr. Bain wrote more than 100 books, including most of the best-selling “Capital Crime” mystery novels of Margaret Truman.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: The Big Bow Mystery
Author: Israel Zangwill
Pages: 160
Publication Year: 1892

So, it so happened that after reading so many locked room mysteries by Agatha Christie, I wanted to explore books on similar analogy. Googling the concept gave the result of top books among which I found the summary of  The Big Bow Mystery most interesting. So, here is my story on how I started reading this book since this was also available free for Kindle devices through Project Gutenberg.

Keeping the mystery to mute in this review, the book has several interesting characters where the conversation and dialogues are kept simple. The twists and turns are handled beautifully, not what I had expected to be. The so-called sleuth seems to have a slight cocky attitude like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. But ah, the end, it is fabulous.  Only if, as a reader, we could also have participated in solving the mystery, it would have been perfect. However, luckily, the mystery books are not kept open-ended and most of the times, readers reach an end. Overall, this book is worth picking up.

 

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
East End landlady Mrs Drabdump is alarmed when she cannot rouse her lodger Arthur Constant. She summons the assistance of her neighbour, retired Scotland Yard detective George Grodman. He breaks down the door to Constant’s room, only to find the man lying dead on his bed, with a deep-cut to his throat. No-one it seems, could have got in or out of the locked room and there is no sign of the murder weapon.

Who was the killer and how will he be identified? A man is condemned to death for the seemingly impossible crime but Grodman is unconvinced that he is guilty.

With its sardonic style and vivid, Dickensian characters, Zangwill’s short novel remains a cleverly plotted and ingenious murder mystery which will still appeal to readers today.

About the author:
Israel Zangwill was a British novelist, short-story writer, dramatist and a Zionist leader.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: A Pocket Full of Rye
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 315
Publication Year: 1932

I guess this book A Pocket Full of Rye ends my addiction of Agatha Christie for this year. Oh no no, the book is not bad. Then what, you ask! I am just bluffing. Just check the date on which this post is written – just a week to go and not much time left for the new year to come in and I have to complete my current book Coffee, Tea or Me and two more book reviews. Too much on my palette, right? But breaking addiction is difficult and this year I had let go of many many things but I am proud that I was able to sustain the temptation and to start a new journey altogether.

So this book again helped me in figuring out how authors find inspiration. For Agatha, it is also rhymes since two or more have already featured at the cusp of different books, for example And Then There Were None. So, let me give you a hint on where to focus to find the murderer. Read the poem carefully while you go ahead with turning the pages of the book (and hey, I am not misguiding you, I swear):

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.

The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A handful of grain is found in the pocket of a murdered businessman! Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his ‘counting house’ when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain traces of cereals. Yet, it was the incident in the parlour which confirmed Jane Marple’s suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme!

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: The Thirteen Problems / The Tuesday Club Murders
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 315
Publication Year: 1932

I thought I had read it all – all forms of Agatha Christie books – novels, playwrights etc, but there is one I recently discovered – short stories too. Agatha Christie is really the queen of mystery in the way she is able to hold off the mystery and solution in such delicate way in even a few pages. Hats off to her!

And who better to solve these short mysteries other than Miss Marple who is champion in analyzing human behavior through just a simple description of the characters. However, I believe that it is too much since the narrator may be prejudiced in favoring a given character basis his/ her own valuation. But but but, we are here talking about a short story collection where the narrator is none other than Agatha Christie herself in the garb of other people, and so we as a reader get a foray into the minds of Miss Marple  and deriving solutions in a marvelous way. In fact, it reminded me of the recent board game I had played – Sherlock Holmes series where the reader along with a team has to solve the case with minimum number of steps, oh that was so exhaustive – a sleuthing game that took us 5 hours.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
The unifying premise for this short story collection is the Tuesday Club: six people who meet socially one evening at Jane Marple’s home and then decide to meet regularly each Tuesday night to solve a mystery which a group member must relate.

Unsolved mysteries… When author Raymond West proposes a regular gathering of friends with unique and disparate outlooks to solve mysteries, the Tuesday Night Club is formed.

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Card on the Table by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: Cards on the Table
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 324
Publication Year: 1936

This post is my 20th book review of Agatha Christie books and I wonder how to differentiate review of one book from the other since I like most of them, which makes me wonder how writers keep variety. If I am not even able to manage a 200 words post on each book, it takes so much more to write 200-300 pages of an entire book catering to the readers on the same genre. And that is where most writers of these days flounder – one book becomes a hit, probably 3-4 more, and then it is doom. A reader has to simply swear off them later!

This time Cards on the Table is an interesting take since it is not only Hercule Poirot who is the intelligent one. Of course, Poirot does draw the book to conclusion, but it is the others who lead him on to the correct path. The setup is excellent where the suspect is definitely one of the four playing cards in the same room as victim. However, till the end, I expected a third party altogether to just strike off this list. My bad! Thankfully, no Hastings this time, since we have our own Agatha Christie in the guise of Ms. Oliver playing the role, but not simply as a side-kick. Oh sorry, no more clues from my end, otherwise how better am I than other reviewers detailing story-line in the book review itself. Why would anyone want to kill the suspense from a prospective book reader I wonder! So, go ahead and enjoy the book!

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
It was the match-up of the century: four sleuths – Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard; Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, famed writer of detective stories; Col. Race of His Majesty’s Secret Service; and the incomparable Hercule Poirot – invited to play bridge with four specially invited guests, each of whom had gotten away with murder! But before the first rubber was completed, the host was dead.

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: A Caribbean Mystery
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 224
Publication Year: 1964

So you like reading fast-paced murder mysteries, then Miss Marple series is not the one for you. In fact, just a confession, I myself had not liked it when I had started off with Agatha Christie in my 9th class, it was all Hercule Poirot only. However, it has been years and since I can now (understand, oh sorry, the word is….) appreciate variety in characters, it is Miss Marple who seems more charming to me now. So here’s to another book review of a thriller featuring Miss Marple.

A Caribbean Mystery is again locked room mystery-kind since the murderer is among the holiday-ers on the island and there is not one but two victims and more to go. Just wondering, when someone keeps on talking yap-yap-yap about one’s golden days, or childhood or corporate jargon, how do you react? At one point, you shutdown, right? And this lays the foundation of the first murder. So keep your attention and do not lay it waver, you may be after-all becoming a detective, or if not, at least will earn brownie points of the people around you or help you in climbing corporate ladder.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Stricken with arthritis, Miss Jane Marple has packed herself off, at the insistence of her nephew, for some rest and relaxation at a resort in the Caribbean. The sea is sublime and the weather is fine in this quiet paradise so far away from bustling St. Mary Mead. But suddenly the calm is interrupted by the death of Major Palgrave, one of her fellow guests at the hotel.

Miss Marple finds herself quite disturbed by this turn of events. She’d just spent the previous evening speaking with the major, who’d seemed to her to be in perfectly good health. He’d been telling her about a photograph that he had – “a snapshot of a murderer,” he’d claimed. Convinced that the major’s death was not at all natural, she begins to ask difficult questions. It soon becomes clear that a murderer is lurking among her companions at the hotel, and it is up to Miss Marple to root out this person before he or she can strike again.

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Spider’s Web by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Spider's Web by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: Spider’s Web
Author: Agatha Christie, Charles Osborne
Pages: 231
Publication Year: 1954 (play), 2000 (adaptation)

How good are adaptations, one may wonder! Of course, it depends much on the skill of the person who is doing the same and a little on the work on which it is based. Thankfully, in individuality, the book is written “nicely” (not in a satirical way), but not in Agatha Christie books’ way. There is no sleuth to take credit to solve the murder mystery this time, but a general character who did not bat eye to save the person who all thought had done it.

As a play, this must have been a hit – drama with all the necessary twists and turns that may be required to make a play successful. What once made for an interesting instance for an innocent lie, will catch up with you as a reader in Spider’s Web, but how far will you go to lie for a person you like/ love and with what inherent motive, is the basis of this book. Let us give credit to Charles Osborne who did a wonderful job, not like other adaptations I had read till date. So, to conclude, do not read this as a Agatha Christie book, but as a general interesting matter.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Clarissa discovers a body in her drawing-room but must discard it before her husband comes home with an important politician. She persuades her house guests to become accessories whilst trying to persuade a policeman there has been no murder at all.

 

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Charles Thomas Osborne is a journalist, theatre and opera critic, poet and novelist. He was assistant editor of The London Magazine from 1958 until 1966, literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1971 until 1986, and chief theatre critic of Daily Telegraph (London) from 1986 to 1991. He is the only author the Agatha Christie Estate has ever allowed to produce adapted works in her name.

 

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 256
Publication Year: 1940

Four last Sunday, five yesterday, and six today. Wondering what I am referring to and it is not cricket or any game, for that matter? It is the count of book reviews that I am doing in a single day to catch up on the laziness I had since last few months. Hey, it is the year end – just one more week to go. So are we not supposed to complete all the pending tasks so that they can be bid adieu this year, let bygones be bygones and let my new year welcome new stuff, new experiences, and of course, new books to read? Did you notice I am putting stress on oxford comma? Do not know what is oxford comma? Google that up then! It is a very important aspect of a writing expression so that whatever you write is easily understandable.

So, let me come back to the book on which this post is supposed to be based on. This is again a typical Hercule Poirot series, however where Poirot is involved right from the start since Poirot met the healthy doctor for his own personal needs and few hours later, the doctor is found dead. For me, however, I lost focus in between the book, since it focused on too much politics talk where people do not have any qualms on killing for the sake of nation’s good. Sounds like Dictatorial regime, right, even though it is Democratic regime? However, let me not spoil the fun for you for this book and I was just kidding when I expressed political opinion. You can give this book a try, but definitely not as your first Agatha Christie.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
What reason would an amiable dentist like Dr. Morely have for committing suicide? He didn’t have emotional difficulties, money problems, or love trouble. What he did have was an appointment with Hercule Poirot, who is not persuaded by the suicide story and has therefore taken it upon himself to questions the good doctor’s patients, partners, and friends. All he’s come up with is the numbing fear that Dr. Morely wasn’t an unlikely victim at all. Nor the first.

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Poirot Loses A Client by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Poirot Loses A Client / Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: Poirot Loses A Client / Dumb Witness
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 411
Publication Year: 1937

What will a book named such remind you of? Really Poirot Loses A Client? Is this going to be the first book where a client hires Poirot to help him/ her solve a mystery but that client either dies or goes away losing faith in Poirot. At least this is what I thought. Oh, by the way, when I pick up any Agatha Christie book, I never read excerpt form the back cover of the book so that there is much more to anticipate in the book, hey they are supposed to be mystery thrillers, so let the story-lines themselves be a mystery. This book also goes by the name of Dumb Witness since there is a dog playing pivotal role in all of this.

It is interesting to find out that the famous detective gets so many letters requesting for his expertise and he has to shift through garbage to find the one exceptional case. Really you need an eye for that! This book Poirot Loses A Client starts off such a way but here in some way, we see the character of Hercule Poirot wearing Miss Marple cape in the sense that he analyses behavior of different person who surrounded the victim and then solves the case. So, in a way, I liked this book for I saw in a way both mastery of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
The letter requesting the renowned detective’s services arrived too late–one month after the sender’s demise. But a client was a client, and Hercule Poirot was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Why had Emily Arundell believed her life was in danger? And why had the old lady revised her will only days before her death? Poirot faces one of the most unusual challenges of his career as he tries to determine which of the victim’s disgruntled relatives did not have a motive for murder!

About the author:
Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature – Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple – and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club. In the 1971 New Year Honours she was promoted Dame Commande.

Twitter: @agathachristie
Website: www.agathachristie.com

Rating: 8/10
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