Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sherlock Holmes:The complete novels & short stories-Vol I

Bio-Data

Name: Mr.Sherlock Holmes

Height: 6ft+

Known Relatives: Mr.Mycroft Holmes(brother)

Knowledge of Literature: Nil

Knowledge of Philosophy: Nil

Knowledge of Astronomy: Nil

Knowledge of Politics: Feeble

Knowledge of Botany: Variable

Knowledge of Practical Gardening: Nil

Knowledge of Geology: Practical, but limited

Knowledge of Chemistry: Profound

Knowledge of Anatomy: Accurate but unsystematic

Knowledge of Sensational Literature: Immense

Other Facts:

Well up in: Belladonna, opium and poisons

Is a walking dictionary of crime. Practical knowledge of British Law, criminology

Plays the violin well

An expert singlestick player, marksman, boxer

I was introduced to Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr.John.H.Watson in 1993 by my uncle who gifted me a collection of six Reader’s Digest classics book from U.S. One of them was The Selected Short Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. I immediately fell in love with Holmes.

My further exploits led me to the present volume and the subsequent volume II which I will review later. The present volume contains two novels and thirty-six short stories under the headings of The Adventures, The Memoirs and The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

For readers who are familiar with Holmes and Watson, this will be a ruse to dust off their old copies and have another read. For those who are yet to be acquainted with Mr. Sherlock Holmes, he is the most famous fictitious detective created (second only to Agatha’s Hercule Poirot) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Holmes has remarkable powers of observation and deduction and he puts them into use at various instances to solve crimes and astonish his friend and admirer Watson. The very first meeting in the medical lab between  Holmes and Watson is an example of Holmes’ remarkable powers as he coolly remarks on Watson’s background even before being introduced to him.

The two novels in this volume are A Study in Scarlet where Holmes and Watson embark on their adventures for the first time together and the sinister Sign of Four trailing a lost treasure.

The rest of the stories are Holmes’ various exploits. Holmes’ clientele ranges from various classes of people from the lowest(a railway porter) to the highest (the king of Bohemia in  A Scandal in Bohemia). Holmes incidentally ‘dies’ in The Final Problem in a deadly match with his arch rival Professor Moriaty but comes alive in The Adventure of the Empty House to delight us.

You will also get to meet Sherlock Holmes’ eccentric and even highly talented brother Mycroft Holmes in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter. Marvel at Mycroft’s queer abilities and diplomacy, and what not.

This is a treasure for book lovers, fiction lovers, literature readers.

1 Comment

Filed under Sherlock Holmes

Devil wears Prada

I had a laughing fit on reading the first chapter. So hilarious, filled with timing and imagination(part real, of course, by the way the narration goes), Devil wears Prada by Laureen Westberger(HarperCollins publications) is a thoroughly enjoyable, laughter prvoking book for one and all-especially if you have a boss like Miranda Priestly or had worked under one like Miranda.

My instinct for picking up queer subjects which are thoroughly entertaining and informative seem to have paid off. I simply loved this one from start to finish. From the first page starts the whip cracking on poor Andrea till at the very end and the way she escapes only to fall into another makes you laugh out loud, sneer, shout with frustration, plot against Miranda with Andrea and what not. Bits and pieces like the way Miranda spells Andrea’s name in various types only aggravates the pain in your stomach as you finish laughing at one and get to see the other.

I am yet to see the movie of the same name starring Anne Hathaway and Merryl Streep-they say it is good, but for the present, the book is more entertaining, I should comment. Take it up on a rainy day when you have nothing worthwhile to do and have a quiet reading. Or take it on an extended trip and come back with a smile on your face with fresh ideas.

The world of fashion revealed in the novel is both enticing and tantalizing. Andrea gets to wear high heels at work and adhere to dress codes-set by the boss herself and looks upon her as God. Only we see the God status wither away as the story progresses and a ring master with a whip is left behind.

Well, happy reading folks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Sleuth(2007)

Witty dialogues, sharp screenplay, a gripping sense all make up Sleuth(2007) starring Michael Caine and Jude Law.

The specialty about this film is that there are only two characters throughout the entire film. Michael Caine plays Andrew Wyke, an aging crime novelist and Law plays Milo Tindle, a struggling actor who loves Andrew’s wife.

Andrew Wyke invites Tindle to his sprawling mansion to talk about the divorce that his wife Maggie wants in order to live with Tindle. But Andrew has a lot of other things in mind as he lures the unsuspecting Tindle into a game of cat and mouse, nearly outwitting him in the first set. Tindle plays back Andrew’s own tune to him and they go to a final set where only one will come out in the mind game.

The dialogues are a great plus to a story like this and both the actors have done excellent justice to their respective roles. At each stage Andrew uses an opportunity to lunge a point at Tindle who deftly fires a return shot. It is an interesting stimuli  to watch them in action.

A dialogue from the movie:

[on Milo being an actor]
Andrew Wyke: Why have I never heard of you?
Milo Tindle: You will before long.
Andrew Wyke: Really?
Milo Tindle: In spades.
Andrew Wyke: That sounds threatening.
Milo Tindle: Does it?
Andrew Wyke: Doesn’t it?

See the sharpness?

The dangerous nature of the human mind and the extend it can create and visualize events to its advantage is put to a nice use here with both the actors using this to the hilt.

A must watch thriller. Enjoy the pun and game. You will love it if you are a regular movie watcher and are adept in English language.

FYI:

1 Comment

Filed under Movie Review

Zero Percentile

If you are going on a train journey/planning to have a nice day at home reading/go back to your college years, I suggest you read Zero Percentile-Missed IIT kissed Russia by Neeraj Chhibba.

The novel doesn’t offer you any big promises in the lines of a Sidney Sheldon or Michael Crichton or the least a Chetan Bhagat, but it offers something else-a fresh outlook, so neatly and refreshingly presented and convincing in nature that you love every page of it. It is a book for the common man to read and reminisce about his golden days, especially his college days.

The story is about a bright Punjabi lad Pankaj who plans to enter IIT but goes to Russia by destiny’s fate to study Engineering. His adventures before and after he goes to a small sleepy town called Volgograd in Russia and the seven years he spends there. are told in an interesting way.

It tells us how a boy destined for greatness (as per the words of his family astrologer) meets the challenges of life and comes out victorious. The Russian part is the crux of the story and the tempo is kept up well enough to keep us engrossed. From his early school life to his blossoming friendship with Priya, Motu to his later adolescence years leading to his entrepreneurial spirit which helps a first time coaching center break it even to his adventurous outings in Russia, to the hardships he undergoes in a distant, unknown land to make ends meet, peer pressure, and lots more.

It brings back our own fond memories of our hostel life/initial days struggling to make ends meet and the aftermath effects of a devasting failure. The cool way Pankaj takes them all in his stride-it’s interesting to read them. It is a fast one filled with pranks, love, sex, corruption, mafia and all the items of a movie.

It created a desire in me to visit Russia. It also made me remember my own college days and my American days fondly.

A good, refreshing one.

Dosvidania!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Murder on the Orient Express

One of my favorite Poirot mysteries.

Ever since I got introduced to M.Hercule Poirot I have been reading all available stories on him. Of all that I have read, I love this one-Murder on the Orient Express more for its ingenious plot and the way Poirot propounds not one but two solutions at the end.

Murder on the Orient Express, as you might have guessed by now is a mystery novel which has its story on the Orient Express in which Poirot is a passenger. Midway he is approached by one of the passengers named Ratchett seeking his expertise and protection against an unknown enemy. For his own reasons, Poirot declines the offer.

But during the journey, Mr.Ratchett is found murdered with multiple stab wounds. Poirot’s investigations throw out a number of clues, suggestive of more than one hand in the murder and the train comes to a halt mid way due to a snow drift….

And the clock ticks as Poirot interviews each of the passengers and tries to analyze as to who had the best motive. But even Poirot has to bite the dust some times…

This is a fast paced story and guarantees that you will not be able to put down the book until you arrive at the very last page. Added to the excitement is when Poirot prposes not one, but two solutions. In a murder as complicated as this and the evidence incriminating any one on the train, Poirot’s ingenuity in going for more than one solution is a brainy job.

On the course of investigation, Poirot is thoroughly interested and tested as the multi cultural passengers open up to his investigative mind. There is a scene where Poirot is challenged in his own turf-an evidence is planted in his own luggage indicative of a challenge (to which he rises admirably), the story acquires a new twist, assuring an interesting ending.

Agatha Christie is truly the Queen of Crime!

Leave a comment

Filed under Hercule Poirot