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Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 288
Publication Year: 1926

After And Then There Were None, I really doubted if any other book was going to meet my high expectations. However, I still wanted to give other books of Agatha Christie a try and so I picked up The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I have tried my level best to write this book review without doing any more comparison with the former one.

As such, Agatha Christie has never disappointed me and Hercule Poirot was my favorite detective at one point in time. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is yet another gem of a piece for all to read. Set in the right pace with the suspense music at the right turns (oh yes, I imagine the scenes in my head as if those were rolling on big screen and it’s fantastic), the reader is flabbergasted to find out the murderer. The book has many characters where any one can be the murderer or the blackmailer? Are both same? Or different? And is it a coincidence that the timing somehow matches? And I think I will read this again in future to find out if the clues were all along and really so easy that Mr. Poirot could solve or is he literally a genius. Now shhh. No more spoilers from my end!

To get to know the mystery and human psyche in this suspense thriller, grab your copy today and get the time rolling.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
In the village of King’s Abbot, a widow’s sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed, and was carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study–but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow’s blackmailer. King’s Abbot is crawling with suspects, including a nervous butler, Ackroyd’s wayward stepson, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd, who has taken up residence in the victim’s home. It’s now up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who has retired to King’s Abbot to garden, to solve the case of who killed Roger Ackroyd–a task in which he is aided by the village doctor and narrator, James Sheppard, and by Sheppard’s ingenious sister, Caroline.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the book that made Agatha Christie a household name and launched her career as a perennial bestseller. Originally published in 1926, it is a landmark in the mystery genre. It was in the vanguard of a new class of popular detective fiction that ushered in the modern era of mystery novels.

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

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Pages: 264
Publication Year: 1939

I used to wonder why it was that I still remembered the Bollywood movie Gumnaam even though it is more than a decade since I last watched it. In the book And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, I finally found the answer. And it’s not that I haven’t watched any thrillers – Bollywood, Hollywood etc since then, or I haven’t read any books. Funnily though, I don’t even remember the movie story.

But this book simply blew me awake. What is a perfect murder and that too of a serial kind when no one can figure out the mode it was carried out. And brilliantly, it’s revealed in the end by a letter sent to the Investigation Department by none other than the murderer. I have been a fan of Agatha Christie books during my school days which I continued to be for initial couple of years in college and even though I had not completed reading all books of hers, I moved on to other authors. I still wonder how I missed reading this book, probably I can curse the internet for not being so readily available that point in time.

Brilliant. Intelligent. Masterpiece. No other words. I can keep on examining each and every page and design of the murder, but I am doubtful that I might give something away. So please please please do pick this book and start it off right away.

Keep watching my blog for more of Agatha Christie books.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

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

Rating: 10/10

Book Review: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

Genre: Thriller
Book Name: The Rozabal Line
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi
Pages: 405
Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Westland Ltd

I can’t believe what I just read! I am still trying to make sense of the book even after multiple attempts at reading by cross referencing pages back and then to the current one. In between, there is a plethora of characters with chronology totally being murdered! Not able to understand what I am talking about? Oh probably, then you are one of the prospective readers who just chanced upon this post and wondering whether to go ahead buying or reading. If you have already purchased, be a tsundoku (one who hoards the books but does not read). With each paragraph, the years change and not just by a few years, but long bygone eras – BC and ADs included.

I have read previous books of Ashwin Sanghi and I had liked those (barring Private India which was just an average read). However, with this book which is being popularized as Da Vinci Code of India, I am left to question myself whether when I had read the latter 8 years back, was I really able to understand a single word?

Probably people with more knowledge of religious history or history in general may be better able to relate to since this book was one of the bestsellers. But for me, it was totally a no read. And I am usually not so negative about any book.

Hoping that when I pick up this book after years, I give a positive feedback then. Keep watching my blog for review of another of Ashwin Sanghi’s book – The Sialkot Saga.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A cardboard box is found on a shelf of a London library. When the mystified librarian opens it, she screams before she falls unconscious to the floor.

Within the labyrinthine recesses of the Vatican, a beautiful assassin swears she will eliminate all who do not believe in her twisted credo.

An elite army of thirteen calling itself the Lashkar-a-Talatashar has scattered around the globe. The fate of its members curiously resembles that of Christ and his Apostles. Their agenda is Armageddon.

A Hindu astrologer spots a conjunction of the stars and nods to himself in grim realization of the end of the world. In Tibet, a group of Buddhist monks’ searches for a reincarnation, much in the way their ancestors searched Judea for the Son of God. In strife torn Kashmir, a tomb called Rozabal holds the key to a riddle that arises in Jerusalem and gets answered at Vaishno Devi.

An American priest has disturbing visions of people familiar to him, except that they seem located in other ages. Induced into past-life regression, he goes to India to piece together the violent images. Shadowing his every move is the Crux Decussata Permuta, a clandestine society, which would rather wipe out creation than allow an ancient secret to be disclosed.

In The Rozabal Line, a thriller swirling between continents and centuries, Ashwin Sanghi traces a pattern that curls backward to the violent birth of religion itself.

About the author:
Ashwin Sanghi ranks among India’s highest selling English fiction authors and is writing since 2004. He has written several bestsellers (The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key) and a New York Times bestselling crime thriller with James Patterson. Included by Forbes India in their Celebrity 100 and winner of the Crossword Popular Choice, Ashwin has recently also penned a non-fiction title ’13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck’.
Twitter: @ashwinsanghi

Read on my blog – reviews of other Ashwin Sanghi’s books – Chanakya’s Chant and Private India.

Rating: 2/10

Book Review: Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

Genre: Crime Thriller
Book Name: Kalayug
Author: Anurag Tripathi
Pages: 268
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Who is the hunter? And who exactly is the hunted? This book Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi seeks to track when exactly the hunter becomes the hunted.

The novel captures the essence of the genre very well by rhyming into the current psyche of Indian readers (most made famous by Ravi Subramanian). Here, by genre, I am referring to the fiction on the banking industry. The story is based on the art industry, where interestingly the investment banker (IB) is able to find the loophole of unregulated industry, just like the refinancing of mortgage industry, which in the end collapsed because of too much greed.

The cover pic of the book will entice you to pick it up – glitter glossy starry world, more unbecoming in the darkness of night where the real traits of the person comes to the fore. With the book detailing on history, nuances and close knit circle of the art industry, you just cannot say no to this one!

And it’s one thriller which ended on an unexpected note, unlike the typical Indian fiction novels. So buckle up your belts and get ready to embark on an interesting art + IB journey.

Book blurb:
When Jay Malhotra sets out on an adventure to manipulate the unregulated art market of the Navaratnas, he unknowingly sets into motion a chain of events that have the potential to destroy the very foundation of the art industry in India.

Set against the backdrop of the transformation of the art society in India into an industry, Kalayug follows the struggles and exploits of Jay Malhotra as he navigates through the mercurial world of art, dominated by its nexus of powerful dealers, experts and gallery owners. With a 360 -degree overview of this now-booming industry, Kalayug is a fast-paced thriller that will leave you asking for more.

About the author:
Anurag Tripathi is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business with a course in Advanced Creative Writing from The University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education. An erstwhile investment banker, his deal-making pursuits and entrepreneurial ventures have given him key insights into the working of corporate business houses. He lives in Paris along with his wife. Both are avid divers, who like travelling and exploring the world lesser known.

Twitter: @Authoranuragtri

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller
Book Name: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Pages: 336
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Notable points: Made into a movie by same name in 2016

The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller, well written by Paula Hawkins. Dark, humorless, with part story telling by the three females, the book kept on going back and forth between different time periods. But it’s not a female oriented book. It’s just dealing with the psyche of different people, alcoholism and jealousy. And it just gives an underlying message that too much of anything is bad – be it alcohol, trust or blind faith, love, adventure, obsession or narcissism.

While reading, the book made such an impact on me that I got bad dreams for two days with me walking around in Rachel’s shoes in dark labyrinth in search of something never attainable.

If the self introspection could have been cut a little and some things disassociated (hate that forcefully induced red haired man having useless relevance), it would have been a perfect Hitchcock movie, that I had once dared to watch.

Read it for a long trail into darkness, to discover the opposite of social media sponsored happiness. Of what you see portrayed is not exactly what it seems!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

About the author:
Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.

Twitter: @PaulaHWrites

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Dead Money Run by J. Frank James

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Dead Money Run by J. Frank James

Genre: Crime Fiction
Book Name: Dead Money Run
Series: Lou Malloy Crime Series, #1
Author: J. Frank James
Pages: 278
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: London Wall

Dead Money Run reminded me of those days when as a kid I discovered Nancy Drew, then later Agatha Christie and then Sherlock Holmes. This book reminded me of the pleasure it feels when you have got your hands on a series book; you get hooked to such extent that you do not need to look any further to discover yet another book and keep on waiting for the next.

However. the cover pic could have been better designed, since it was one of the most off-putting factors due to which I delayed reading this book.

Mr. James has cast a winner here with character Lou, who does not bat an eyelid before killing someone whom he thinks harmed his closed ones or could bring potential harm to him or his closed ones. Fast paced, action packed, thriller on the run and romance in between with short punctuated chapters, the story progresses in the perfect manner. With the new characters being introduced one after the next, the main leads never lose out on the pointedness. Excellent writing!

Hey, but the story is yet incomplete. Eagerly waiting to find out what happen’s next in the sequel – “Only Two Cats”.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Lou Malloy meets a young and beautiful PI, Hilary Kelly, and together they fight to keep their freedom and $15 million in Mob money as Malloy and Kelly race to protect what he earned the hard way and find the people responsible for his sister’s death.

About the author:
J. Frank James is the author of crime thriller novels. His crime fiction books are gripping and suspenseful with readers being unable to put them down once they get into them. Jim has a passion for writing, and he certainly has the knowledge and experience to write realistic crime thriller novels, thanks to his extensive background in law. At present, Jim has published four crime thriller novels.

Facebook page:

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Book Name: Angel of the Dark
Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Pages: 389
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins

A Sidney Sheldon book after long, or not? Written by Tilly Bagshawe on the basis of notes left by him, the book is an intriguing tale of suspense and murders committed by a serial killer. Even though some gave this book rave reviews, there are various gaps which a Sidney Sheldon-book usually does not have. No doubt the storyline is typical Sheldon style. However, I personally found the book lacking in several aspects – story, cast, and layout, but how much that’s for you to decide. And if you figure out or find an interview by Ms. Bagshawe where finally she discloses the conclusion, please do let me know!

*spoilers ahead, especially the end; my conclusion*
According to me, Matt met the same fate like the old rich guys who abandoned their wife and kid.
1. The male who died was of age 32, approximately same age as him.
2. The man who died was named as Carlos Hernandes, same as that of the old guard who had helped Lisa escape. And Matt had needed new identity to escape detection from his family.
3. When Matt recuperated from rehabilitation center, it was the remaking of him. Probably, before he would have been incapable of leaving his wife but now he could have done anything when it came to Sofia.

Or, simply the author missed out mentioning the correct age of Carlos Hernandes. This has led to the misunderstanding since Henry was an old guard who was already head over heels. It’s said in the book that like Matt, he would have never forgotten her and Sofia killed him removing the last link from real world.

In both the above conclusions, Sofia was guilty after all – the “Angel of Death”, the characteristics already scattered in the book. For example, Frankie had asked Sofia to slaughter the fourth guy when he himself could have done it very comfortably. It gave a glimpse that probably Sofia derived pleasure in doing this since it was an instigator in Frankie, her husband who always avoided closeness with her. She, in a different instance, uses the word “I” (“I wasn’t aroused”) in courtroom clearly showing there was no MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) in her case.

There are several other loopholes as well, but let’s end my review here only!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
An elusive and shadowy killer is on the prowl, code named the Angel of Death.

When an elderly multi-millionaire is found brutally murdered in Hollywood, and his young wife raped and beaten, the police assume the motive is robbery. Unable to find the perpetrators, the case is soon closed.

A decade later, in different cities around the globe, three almost identical killings take place.In all cases the victim is elderly male, wealthy, and newly married. Again his wife is found severely injured at the scene.

At first it is thought they might be copycat killings but it soon becomes clear that this is one deadly female killer. Code named the Angel of Death by the police, is she avenging some long-forgotten misdeed, or does she have other motives? Who will be her next victim, and how can the Angel of Death be prevented from striking again?

About the author:
Tilly Bagshawe is the international bestselling author of nine novels. As a journalist, Tilly contributed regularly to the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Evening Standard before turning her hand to novels. Tilly’s first book, Adored, was a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic and she hasn’t looked back since. She divides their time between their homes in Kensington and Los Angeles and their beach house on Nantucket Island.

Rating: 7/10

Book Journey: The Bestseller She Wrote

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

Genre: Romance, Thriller
Book Name: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Pages: 391
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: Westland Ltd

So now Ravi Subramanian also attempts to dig into the chick-flick genre which is easy to read. Not bad! However, the book becomes part of a mass crowd, with nothing to set it apart. Having read previous books of Ravi set in more intense backgrounds, this seemed to be lacking of a character built up.

Written in racy style, the romantic thriller indulges one looking for a simple read and pass time. I, for that matter, picked up this book at 10pm in the night and finished it in flat 4 hours by 2am. The mention of people one already knows – Chetan Bhagat, Anurag Kashyap, Nirav Sanghavi, etc. makes it more relatable to backdrop set in present times. And you could actually giggle when Shreya, the female protagonist tells her publisher, “I don’t want a Chetan Bhagat quote. He might have seen today’s newspaper article and jumped onto the bankdwagon for some quick publicity.

However, with movies like Page 3, Fashion, Heroine, etc. setting the trend and giving viewers the camera-shot of what goes behind the screen, this book is an eye-opener at publishing industry with Bollywood touch and ample tips thrown in between for a new aspiring author. Will it work or not in real life? Try and let me know as well!

Oh yes, forgot to mention, unless you, my dear reader would not have noticed already in the book cover, it’s written “Soon to be a Motion Picture”. Have I read the plot before? Some parts, definitely. Have I seen the plot before? Oh yes, again as part of different movies put together.

I will consider my review of this book comparatively harsh since I have always had high expectations from Ravi’s books. It is not for nothing that he is called John Grisham of Banking industry, or “was”? Let’s wait and see. Hope to see a better book soon!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Paperback king Aditya Kapoor’s life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

About the author:
Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazingly exciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. Four of Ravi’s seven bestselling titles have been award winners. With this book, he has taken a significant departure from his usual fare, this is Ravi’s first book on romantic intrigue.

Rating: 8/10

Book Journey: Kill the Messenger

Kill the Messenger

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Book Name: Kill the Messenger
Author: Tami Hoag
Pages: 528
Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: Bantam Books

Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag is a fast-paced story gripping you into its many characters – the messenger boy, the detective, the victim (murdered), the victim (attacked) and the killer (question mark). The messenger boy trying hard to get to the bottom of things of why he is wanted as a suspect for a murder, why the goons are chasing him and who can be the main culprit. The plot thickens, and the various characters and stories cross each other’s path. And there’s not going to be a single moment where you will want to keep the book aside to take a break.

A suspense thriller and a riveting one at that, marvelously written with all the kicks of a roller coaster ride, and you can’t guess what can be the trigger for the kill in the first place. The tension of the drama juxtaposed with innocence of a few characters will keep you agape at the end of the tale.

Score: 8/10

Book Journey: Sight Unseen


Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Book Name: Sight Unseen
Author: Robert Goddard
Pages: 448
Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Corgi

Do you like crime and a moderate amount of suspense? Then you may like this book Sight Unseen. Now think of a re-visit to a too intensive history classes. Would you want that? Not many would prefer. And that’s the miss in this book by Robert Goddard.

Kidnapping a child, murder of another, suicides discovered to be murders years later, more suicides and so on. This book has all the intensity to keep you gripping with the intelligence of a historian thrown in the picture. However, the story turns unrealistic when a person who has been ages away from history suddenly results into cracking the biggest sensation and mystery of identity for a famous pen writer. But hey, the book is a work of fiction and it still is good. Buy this book, turn the pages, and take a guess who can be behind all this sadness for this doomed family. Then tell me, if you were right on target.

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