Book Review : Death in the Tunnel by Miles Burton

 A devilishly ingenious conspiracy

 

When Sir Wilfred Saxonby is found shot dead in a first-class compartment of the 5 p.m. train from London’s Cannon Street to Stourford, the police initially feel it is suicide committed when the train passed through a tunnel. Further investigation by Inspector Arnold of Scotland Yard, with the help of his friend, Desmond Merrion, an amateur in criminology, reveal a plot of mind-boggling conspiracy. Thus a murder investigation begins.

This story focuses primarily on how the crime was committed to find the culprit. The theories are formulated by Merrion for Arnold to follow up.

It’s like one of those double-barrelled equations, when as soon as you know the value of x, you can find the value of y, and vice versa.

Using this postulation of x and y and with the assumption of suspects A and B, the genius of a plot unfolds.

This book was originally published in 1936, in the era of Agatha Christie. Miles Burton is one of the pseudonyms used by Cecil John Street(1884-1965). If you are a Christie fan, you will find the writing of Street much different. This book does not delve into the human psyche to understand the characters’ motivation. It digs into creating a hypothesis to reconstruct the sequence of events that may have supposedly occurred eventually leading to the death of Sir Saxonby, to find the culprits. If you know how it was done, then its easy to find who could have done it by gathering relevant evidence. The book consists of long narrations in the form of the thoughts of the two investigators where they try to figure out the rigmarole of the conspiracy. Devising a theory and finding the evidence to support it, is the mechanism used by them. Readers are transported back in times of steam engines and telegrams. If you are a fan of detective fiction, this British Library Crime Classic is a must read.

Using Kindle Unlimited, you can read this eBook for free.

 

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Book Review: 7 Mystery & Suspense Short Stories by J. A. Menzies

 


Author: J. A. Menzies

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: MurderWillOut Mysteries

Publication Year: 2016

ISBN: 9781927692226


I have read a couple of books written by author J. A. Menzies, Shadow of a Butterfly – The Case of the Harmless Old Woman and Shaded Light – The Case of The Tactless Trophy Wife and I must say that I am a fan of her mysteries. Her new release is a collection of stories – 7 Mystery & Suspense Short Stories. With each story, the author has written a note as to where the idea of the story initiated in her mind and how the story developed.

These are seven well-crafted, riveting mysteries that keep the readers guessing.

The first story Revenge So Sweet is full of intriguing twists and turns so much so that when I felt I know what would happen next, the story takes another turn. It is about a middle-aged woman Beth who is on a mission of revenge.

Just out for a drive is a tale of a young hitchhiker who is picked up by an old man with a mission.

They Can’t Take That Away From Me is a story about a troubled young man, who on his 21st birthday, realizes who and what he is.

Dying with Things Unsaid is a story of a fifty-four-year-old dying woman, Mary Kline. She realizes that she needs to tell her children about a crime she’s kept hidden for many years.

The Day Time Stood Still is about a real estate agent, who discovers something from her past when she pays a visit to a house she’s agreed to sell.

Living on the Edge is a tale of four men awaiting the end in a palliative care ward of a hospital.

The Case of the Sneezing Accountant is a short police procedural mystery. If not for a fortunate sneeze, there could have been a murder. Detective Paul Manziuk and his partner Jacquie Ryan have to decide which of the four suspects threw the knife.

The plot ideas of the seven stories are diverse and interesting.

I will say that not even one of the short stories had me anticipating the actual ending, a very fine recommendation in itself. The stories will keep you absorbed and entertained.

This book is indeed a real treat for all the intrigue enthusiasts!

 

To know more about the author and her books, visit her website: http://jamenzies.com/.

 

 

**** I received a free eARC of this book from the author. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

 

 

Book Review: 52 Steps to Murder by Steve Demaree

 


Title: 52 Steps to Murder

Author: Steve Demaree

Genre: Mystery


Lt. Cy Dekker and Sgt. Lou Murdock of Hilldale Police Department solve this police procedural mystery of an elderly woman, Mrs. Nelson at the Hilltop Place. The name of the story is derived from the fact that it takes a climb of 52 steps to reach the door of the murdered woman. The overweight detective duo find it difficult to reach the residents of the Hilltop Place as they have to tackle the 52 steps for their investigations and find it daunting and exhausting. The Hilltop Place though located high above ground level is inter-connected by underground tunnels. The niece, the neighbors, the mailman, the maid or the attorney, anyone could be the killer.

The story line is interesting. There is a touch of humor as the investigation goes on. There are enough twists and turns to keep the readers engaged. When I read, Murder at Breakfast, prior to this book I found the narrative and description of food and exercise, a little excessive for my tastes but this book had far less accounts of the lunch and dinners of the detective duo.

Overall, this is a good book to relax with if you love the old-fashioned whodunits.

52 Steps to Murder by Steve Demaree is available on amazon.com.

 

Book Review: Shadow of a Butterfly – The Case of the Harmless Old Woman by J. A. Menzies

 


Title: Shadow of a Butterfly: The Case of the Harmless Old Woman

Author: J. A. Menzies

Genre: Mystery

Length: 408 pages

Publisher: MurderWillOut Mysteries

Publication Year: 2015


I loved the style of writing of author J. A. Menzies when I read her earlier book- Shaded Light: The Case of the Tactless Trophy Wife. I had written a small review of this book on Goodreads. I went ahead and bought an eBook from amazon of her short story: The Case of the Sneezing Accountant and I was amazed by the author’s skill of writing a police procedural mystery in the form of a short story. So when I received an eARC of her new book: Shadow of a Butterfly: The Case of the Harmless Old Woman, I was absolutely thrilled. I have become a fan of Paul Manziuk and Jacquie Ryan mystery series.

One of the residents of Serenity Suites, a high-rise luxury condominium for seniors in Toronto, is killed. Who would want to kill an elderly woman suffering with dementia? There seems to be no motive for the murder. The police investigation procedure led by Inspector Paul Maziuk and Constable Ryan, uncovers lot of hidden secrets from the residents’ past. Many of them have known each other since they were young. Are the clues hidden in the past? Are the deaths that occurred earlier connected to each other or is there a serial killer on the loose?

The story is beautifully woven with intricate details and the author has succeeded to keep the readers guessing almost till the end. The plot has interesting twists and the story is absorbing enough that I couldn’t keep away from the book after the murder takes place. The subplots are knitted together perfectly. The characters are well etched and the vivid description of the settings gave me a feeling of actually being in the Serenity Suites where the story unfolds.

I loved this book and would recommend it to all the mystery lovers.

To know more about the author and her books, visit http://jamenzies.com/.

Click here for the links to buy this book.

 

 

**** I received a free eARC of this book from the author. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

 

Book Review: Suspended Animation by Shweta Ganesh Kumar

 

Suspended Animation

 

Title: Suspended Animation: Short Stories of those who wait

Author: Shweta Ganesh Kumar

Editor: Anirban Bose

Publisher: Cresco Books

 

Suspended Animation is a collection of 22 short stories of ordinary folks and their lives where constant waiting is a reality of life. The stories are set in places like Loch Inverness in Scotland, Puerto Galera and Manila in the Philippines, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala.

All the 22 stories in this book, are based on the unifying theme of waiting. Shweta Ganesh Kumar wonderfully depicts the pangs of frustration created by the anticipation brought about by the suspended time. The lives of ordinary people, whom we can relate to, are narrated realistically in the form of these short stories.

The first story, The Matrimonial Clock, was something that I could perfectly understand as I have been through the same gamut of emotions like Tara, the thirty-six year old protagonist of the story went through. I couldn’t keep aside the book after reading this first story. The issue of global warming is also touched upon in an interesting manner in one of the stories.

The stories are short, crisp, and simple yet interesting and leaves the reader wanting to know more of what happens beyond the suspended time. This book is a compelling read and I must say, this is the best collection of short stories that I have read. I would recommend this to all the readers.

 

About the Author:

Shweta Ganesh Kumar is the bestselling author of ‘Coming Up On The Show’ and ‘Between The Headlines’, two novels on the Indian Broadcast News industry. Her last worldwide release ‘A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land,’ a modern take on Alice In Wonderland has been getting rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Her travel columns have been featured in The New Indian Express, One Philippines and Geo. Her non-fiction pieces have appeared in multiple Indian editions of the Chicken Soup series. Her short fiction has been published in more than twenty anthologies and online literary magazines in more than four continents. She has a monthly travel column called ‘Trippin With Shweta’ in Travel and Flavours Magazine. Shweta currently lives in The Philippines with her husband and two-year old daughter.

 

****I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing for an honest review.

 

Book Review: Survival of the Ginnest by Aimee Horton

Ginnest

 

‘What an unusual way to write a book’, was my first thought as I started reading it. It took me a few moments to get accustomed to read a book written entirely in the form of social media updates but as I read a few lines I got involved in Dottie’s life and was eager to read further.

Aimee Horton takes us through the life of Dottie Harris, her pregnancy and motherhood. Dottie is like any other modern day woman handling home and work. Life was going on well till she finds herself expecting her first baby. Dottie shares some cute moments as well as chaotic ones. There are moments of exasperation and moments of humor in her status updates.

The struggles of parenting and the tantrums make Dottie resort to a glass of wine or gin. She eagerly waits for her kids’ bedtime so that she can escape to her bar and relax.

Dottie’s social media diary is interesting to read and makes you want to know what happens next. Oh, I loved the Monster and the Chubster and all their antics that made Dottie run up against the wall. Most women would love and relate to Dottie and her life the way I did.

As a debut author, Aimee Horton’s unique style of writing is commendable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is funny and light-hearted. Survival of the Ginnest is a quick read and a perfect way to relax with a glass of gin.

You can follow Aimee Horton on Twitter (@AimeeHorton), Facebook (AimeeHortonWrites) and Instagram (AimeeHortonWrites).

To know more about Aimee Horton and her books, visit her website http://passthegin.co.uk.

Survival of the Ginnest is available on Amazon. Velvet Morning Press published it on May 1, 2015.

 

 

****I received a free copy (eBook) of Survival of the Ginnest via the LibraryThing Member Giveaways program. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

Book Review: Metro Diaries by Namrata

Metro Diaries

Title: Metro Diaries

Author: Namrata

Genre: Romance

Type: Paperback

Publisher: Revelation House

Pages: 162

I am essentially a reader of novels, so this is the first time I read a romantic short story collection. I must say I am glad I read it. Namrata has effectively woven sensitive romantic emotions to tug the reader’s heart. Each story has a soul full of tender and heartfelt love. The book is a collection of twenty love stories, each having different shades of romance like delight, agony, yearning, despair, ecstasy, fulfillment and many more emotions which cannot be described but felt by the heart.

Namrata has started each story with a heart touching quote or a poem. My favorite is:

“In losing myself

I found you”

The stories are short and crisp, no intricate plots or character building but more of narrations or diary entries of an event or an emotion. Namrata has given an apt title to this collection as Metro Diaries. As a debut author, Namrata has displayed a lot of potential in the form of this book and would love to read more from her. If you like love stories and poems, then you must read Metro Diaries. It’s a cozy, romantic read.

 

Blurb: Love is one of the most amazing feelings on this earth, one that makes you the most powerful person or the most helpless person in a split second. These stories capture those feelings of despair, longing, love, lust, desire, want, dejection and admiration to create deja vu.

Hold onto your hearts as you flip through these pages and take a walk down the memory lane, as “Metro Diaries” will revive your innermost feelings and imbibe in you the magic of love. Touching, amusing and deeply moving, Metro Diaries – Love Classics are tales that will hold you from start till end. 

About The Author: Namrata is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 6 anthologies, a reviewer for leading publishing houses, an editor for various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer’s Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently, she also held the title of an investment banker closely, to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.

Namrata

Namrata can be reached at:

Website: www.privytrifles.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wingstomywords

Twitter: @privytrifles

‘Metro Diaries’ is available on Amazon and Flipkart.

 

*****I received a signed copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. The views expressed here are my own and unbiased.

Must Read Series: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

I finally finished reading this book after a week. This is probably the longest time taken by me to read any book. Emma’s journey of life left me wistful. Thought provoking yet leaving a void in my mind.

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece novel Madame Bovary was first published in 1857. This story is based in nineteenth-century France.

It is about Emma, a beautiful daughter of a farmer, who becomes the second wife of Charles Bovary. Emma yearns for an exciting life full of passion and luxury.

Charles Bovary is a mediocre country physician. He is dull and has no true ambition. He adores Emma and is blind to all her faults.

“She had to be able to extract some kind of personal benefit from things, and she rejected as useless anything which did not contribute to the immediate gratification of her heart, for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic and she sought emotion, not landscapes.”

The above quote from the book speaks a lot about Emma’s outlook and temperament.

In her quest for excitement, Emma soon finds herself in a clandestine relationship with Rodolphe Boulanger, a wealthy bachelor. Emma wants a life of ecstasy and passion. After frequent rendezvous with Rodolphe, she plans to elope with him but Rodolphe ends the relationship with a note sent in a basket of apricots. This leaves Emma distraught and she drifts towards religion for a brief time. As she recovers from grief, once again the boredom sets in.

Flaubert has beautifully quoted Emma’s state of mind, “The closer things were to her, the farther her mind turned away from them.”

Emma spends a lot of money on luxury and she had also spent a lot on gifts for Rodolphe. She makes wrong financial moves that leave her in debt. She eventually destroys the finances of the family.

Yet she still seeks the excitement and passion, which this time she finds in Leon Dupuis. He is the notary’s clerk in Yonville. Emma lies to Charles and frequently goes to the town to meet Leon, under the pretext of taking music lessons. Charles however is blissfully ignorant of his wife’s trysts. He is very much in love with his beautiful wife.

Her debts in the meantime continue to mount to the extent that she has nothing left to sell. She tries to ask Leon and Rodolphe to help her clear her debts but she is turned down and eventually left with no option. It is a spiraling downfall with a tragic end.

To me, Emma is a complex character who comes across as selfish and self-absorbed. She even seems to have almost no affection or feeling of responsibility towards her daughter, Berthe. Her life seemed to be full of just an excessive yearning for adventure and excitement. Her constant need to seek passion and ecstasy is difficult to fathom.

Flaubert’s meticulous craftsmanship makes this novel a timeless Classic and indeed a Must-Read. No doubt it is one of the most discussed book in the world of literature.

* This book is available on amazon.

Book Review: Tender Deceit by H. Y. Hanna

Book: Tender Deceit

Author: H.Y. Hanna

Publisher: Wisheart Press

Published: June 2014

First love. Second chance.

This book is a sweet blend of mystery and romance.

After spending 12 years in London, Leah had to return to Singapore for her father’s funeral. An apparent hit and run accident of her father turns out to be more than what meets the eye. Her childhood crush, her first love, Toran James, involved in a rumored yatch explosion, meets her in Singapore and together they set out to solve the mystery of her father’s death. There is a restrained passion between Leah and Toran in the midst of suspicion and mystery surrounding the investigation. Was her father’s death just an accident? Will Leah trust Toran? Since the end of the story does not give closure to Leah and Toran’s relationship, readers are left with a few questions, wanting to know what happens further. Will Leah and Toran meet again? This thought would make them grab the next book of this series. Overall, Tender Deceit is well written and an enjoyable read. Leah and Toran’s story continues in the second book of the TENDER Series, called Tender Treachery.

 

About the Author: H.Y. Hanna was born in Taiwan and grew up in United Arab Emirates. She was schooled in U.K. and U.S. and worked in London in advertising before emigrating Down Under. She is an award-winning author of children’s mystery series, and also writes mysteries and romantic thrillers. To know more about H.Y. Hanna, do visit her Website: www.hyhanna.com.

 

Book Review – Life is What You Make it by Preeti Shenoy

Recently I bought the Kindle-Edition of Life is what you make it by Preeti Shenoy from Amazon.in.

LIWYMIPS

The story is about the chief protagonist, Ankita Sharma and starts in the year 1989 when there were no mobile phones and other hi-tech means of communication.

An ambitious Ankita’s journey through teenage, college and how her life changes after Abhi’s death and the depression that follows leaving her in a Mental Hospital is heart touching. Bipolar disorder can change a life and how difficult it can be to regain normal life is described efficiently through this story. ‘Never belittle love’ said by Abhi’s grandfather struck a chord in my mind transporting me back in time to my own teenage days. Epistolary technique is used in some chapters and can be seen in exchange of letters between Abhi and Ankita, Vaibhav and Ankita, Suvi and Ankita.

To know more about Ankita’s journey, grab a copy of this book.  This book is not just a one-time read but can be read again many times. Go for it.

About the Author – Preeti Shenoy is one of the best-selling authors in India and has a magical ability of story telling. Her book ‘Life is what you make it’ was among the top selling books of 2011 in India. To know more about Preeti Shenoy and her books, visit her website : http://www.preetishenoy.com .