When we hear about Agatha Christie‘s books we immediately associate them with Monsieur Poirot or Miss Marple or the lesser known Tuppence. I was pleasantly surprised that none of these characters would be appearing in Crooked House.
To be honest I had never heard of it, until one of my book blogger groups chose Crooked House as the read of the fortnight. Read my book review to know how this ‘whodunnit’ turned out for me.
About Crooked House
Book Name: Crooked House
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Fiction – Thriller
Characters: Charles Hayward, Sophia, Brenda, Josephine, Aristide, Philip, Magda, Roger, Clemency, and Eustace Leonides, Laurence Brown, Edith de Haviland, Chief Inspector Taverner
Setting: London, The UK
Plot summary of Crooked House
Charles Hayward returns to England from European war with the hope to marry Sophia Leonides. His plans are spoiled when hears that her wealthy grandfather Aristide Leonides has been murdered, by his own family, no less. Sophia asks him to help her finding out the culprit and announces that she cannot marry him until this is solved. She also indicates that ‘it would be easier if it was the right person.’ His father, Assistant Commissioner of the Yard, gives his assent and encourages the idea.
The police suspect the young widow and the tutor while they plead innocence. As Charles gets closer to the family, he understands why Sophia mentioned their ‘ruthlessness.’ Along with Sophia’s sister Josephine, Charles tries to find out the real murderer, but not before another murder in the family. Find out who killed them by reading Crooked House by Agatha Christie
Book review of Crooked House
First off, it is DAME AGATHA CHRISTIE, so I don’t really have to say anything about her writing. She had me guessing who the killer was and kept me engrossed till the last page. Everytime Charles speaks to a member of the Leonides family, it was not only him that had to keep changing his theory but also the reader. And that is the power of Christie’s writing and the strength of her storyline.
I loved how apt the term ‘crooked’ fits to their house, the members and their characteristics. It ends kinda abruptly but it was not a big deal.
It has been months since I read an Agatha Christie‘s, and Crooked House made me realize what I had been missing out. If you are in mood for a ‘whodunnit’ you can not go wrong with a Christie.
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Have you read Crooked House by Agatha Christie? What are your favorites written by the author? Do you usually read whodunnit’s? Let us chat.
Like most readers my to be read list seems never ending, and I have lost hope that I would ever clear it off. On the other hand, my to be reviewed list is not too long but as I do not follow any hard rules in picking the book from that list to review, the books I loved too much or the books that I might find difficult to write about tend to settle farther and farther down the list.
So here I am, picking one of those books that I read a long time ago (read as almost two months) and yet was hesitant to review. Mostly for the fear that I would not be doing any justice to it or that I might be a tad partial in my critique. Someone suggested me, Zadie Smith, when I was talking about feminism and related topics. On the quest to finding her much-acclaimed debut ‘ White Teeth’ or ‘On Beauty,’ I stumbled upon Swing Time her newest release.
Book Name: Swing Time
Author: Zadie Smith
Genre: Fiction – Literary, drama
Characters: Tracey, Aimee, Lamin, Fern and unnamed narrator
Setting: The USA
- 2017 Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
- Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
- 2017 Finalist, Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
The story follows two little ‘mixed race’ girls who grow up in the not so rich part of London Tracey, the dancer, and our unnamed narrator. Tracey stands out in everything they do together – she is confident, rebelling and imaginative and a better dancer of the two, while the narrator is a good student and hopes to get out of the neighborhood. Her mother’s upbringing makes sure she realizes that only hard work pays, while Tracey’s home-life is almost ungoverned.
She joins as an assistant to the super star singer Aimee and travels worldwide as her works demands. She loves the job as she shuttles between the UK and a downtrodden country in the West Africa where Aimee was building a girls school. She feels alienated in the Africa as much as she does in London.
Our narrator is quite taken with strong characters right from her childhood while she is happy being invisible in the backdrop. She doesn’t have any talent like Tracey or an ambition like her mother or the drive like Aimee. This makes her a less compelling character to love or remember.
How do the friends gravitate towards each other when things go south? How long could she live in the shadows of others or if she did, would she happy? Read Swing Time to know more.
The story oscillates among various time frames and places and does a brilliant job in weaving a quite fascinating tale. Though there are a few parts of the story that might have been little dragging and I admit to skimming a bit here and there, the author’s literary skill makes it all worth the while.
I found Swing Time to be a solid piece of social commentary, rather than a piece of fiction that talks about two friends, which is what it is primarily. Zadie deals a variety of themes like different races and the privileges that come with them, parenthood and the importance of family, poverty and classes, that add up succinctly into the coming of age tale.
I particularly liked the thread of dichotomies between the haves and have nots, coloured and uncoloured, the Americans and the British, the talented and privileged and the ones that aren’t, that ran throughout the novel. This is the first time I am reading Zadie Smith. I am not entirely in love with the book, but I am ready to read more of hers, like White Teeth and On Beauty that everyone has been raving so far.
Swing Time is not your typical summer reads. It has little hard to get into and harder to stick to especially in the middle. If you love reading prose that promises you insights about the society and the world as a whole accompanied by beautiful and strong writing – Swing Time should be your pick.
I have wondered time and again of a world without a government, or without the rules as we know. Most dystopian novels help us have a glimpse of such a world but a very few makes us wish they were true. Go ahead read if Fluence made the cut.
Book Name: Fluence
Author: Stephen Oram
Genre: Fiction – Dystopian
Characters: Amber, Martin, Sam, Ms. Joyce
Setting: London, England, The UK
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author free of cost in return for an honest review.
I am so excited about the world the book is set in. A world ruled by corporate, a world that sustains on a assessment of performance – sort of- a class system based on the scores they have cut during the year. But he twist is the scores are based on their popularity or the Fluence points and magine people having to try and get more social credos by updating their social lives to run their normal life. I could not stop comparing the Facebook like that few people are desperate about even in our own world.
The protagonists work for the Bureaucracy – the one that grades people into color codes as a part of disability management department. The department segregates people who have to be supported by the government from the other. Amber is trying to do her duty which is to reduce the number of people of with disability registered, so that she can gain her points for her performance.
She is ambitious to move on higher status and focused on that, come what may. Martin on the other hand has lost his vigor to try and win and just wants to stay put on his green status, but to his dismay his score keeps dipping without apparent reason, and he is determined to find out why.
The book is well twined with loopholes and the story is set in a steady pace that it would be quite hard to put it down until you finish it. Being one of the outliers, I would have liked to see more of them and how the system would fall apart. Reading about people pitted against each other and the subject of a shallow morality have always worked for me, and Oram’s Fluence is no different.
I liked the author’s descriptive tone of narration at most places, it helped to understand the different world we are at – but oh enough of those building and bakeries already. Though I didn’t feel connected with any of the central characters, I do understand their actions which speaks much of the author’s writing tone. I would look forward to reading more of his books in future for sure.
Do let me know what you think of the book Fluence or my review in the comments.
This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours
How far would you let a stranger into your life? How far, if he was a convicted murderer? How far, if he would proclaim it in public?
About the book
Book Name: The Killing of Mummy’s Boy
Author: Joan Ellis
Genre: Fiction – Thriller
Characters: Sandra, Carl, Ben, Lee Elliot, Debs
Setting: Isle of Wight, London, The UK
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Booklover Catlady Publicity Reviews free of cost in return for an honest review.
Sandra has had always a careful life, watching her back and her son’s. Her son, Carl is under the Witness Protection Programme for helping convicting the local thug Lee Elliot on a murder. Carl is a reckless youngster, who doesn’t seem to understand the grave danger that hung over his neck and blames his mother for making him choose the Programme. She loves him terribly and only the concern over his safety that stops her from rushing to her son’s side.
Sandra inadvertently spells out her address to a stranger, who insists on calling her Rosie and proclaims to have been just released out from jail on her journey back home. She learns Ben was in for slitting someone’s throat, and she is filled with paranoia that she is being watched by Ben and her house being visited, her rest rooms used and her food tasted.
She realizes the cop were not taking her complaints seriously and won’t be around to help her unless there were any crimes committed. She is also a wine aficionado, which helps her get through her days and nights while she dread the unannounced visits.
Things get worse when Carl get back home with his pregnant girlfriend in tow. Read The Killing of Mummy’s Boy to find out more if Sandra gets through alive.
My initial thoughts
I have read and enjoyed Joan’s other novel, ‘I am Ella. Buy Me‘, yet I was surprised by the premise of ‘The Killing of Mummy’s Boy’. We don’t think twice much before spelling our addresses out in public these days, and the possibility that this could happen to anyone of us, made it all the more intriguing.
I loved all the twists in the plot (maybe except the final one) and was genuinely pleased that the character I liked didn’t turn out to be the stalker. I had to stop myself tapping my head every time Sandra made a stupid decision, thanks to her being an alcoholic. I disliked Carl and his using his mom as a shield from his own responsibilities even before the plot fell open.
Things that worked for me
- I found the dysfunctional mother-son relationship credible and intriguing, kudos to the Joan’s attention to detail and writing style.
- I loved the writing of Joan Ellis especially as she did a commendable job on bringing out the pain and fear of Sandra and the vivid backdrop of the 80’s.
Things that didn’t work for me
- It was a bit difficult to get into initially but the pace increased as it got past 30% of the book.
- Some may feel that there were too many things happening at the same time, which may be overwhelming.
Joan explores the subject of moral righteousness and integrity against family values and loyalty without be judgmental, which worked well for me. I would love to see a movie on this story-line. Now, I should read Joan’s other novels for sure.
Let us chat
Do you like books with such flawed characters? What about books that scare you by being too close to reality? Do let me know what you think of the book or my review in the comments. Let us talk.
I have promised myself to try out new authors and try not to be a book snob, as hard as I can. When I saw the book on Netgalley I was so drawn to the cover and decided that I have to get / read My DisOrganised Life. I have never read any of the author’s books but read the first line again – yup I am treating myself (hopefully) by reaching out to new horizons.
Book Name: My DisOrganised Life
Author: Nina Whyle
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Characters: Eve Poots, Jake Richards Luce, Chuck, Adam
Setting: The UK
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the Advance Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
Eve Poots has had her moments of shame on Youtube thanks to Tequila and an ill timed confrontation with her cheating and rude Ex and her loyal friend Luce and Nell, her sister help her through. But that was six months ago and she is trying to put them all behind her.
She works as an assistant at a TV channel and lives with her boyfriend Adam who is a junior doctor. She loves her job, in spite of repeated sexist attempts to put her down by Brian, and works hard to be Producer some day. She is an avid list maker and no thanks to her uptight religious parents and her brought up, Eve ends up being a shy, prissy and easy target for embarrassments.
When one of the contestants is disqualified from the Wedding Wipe-out the reality show that her TV channel is producing, Brian puts Adam and her name to fill in. One thing leads to another and Adam breaks up with her on camera in front of her colleagues. She is also attracted to her director Jake who finds her amusing.
What ensues is a series of hilarious incidents that happen in the shooting sets and her visits to her therapist Gudrun. The story follows her life till the end of the show shoot, when she finally stands up for herself defending from Adam and Brian and finds the man of her dreams.
My DisOrganised Life is written from a single point of view, Eve’s and seems like a long monologue. The writing is crisp and witty, at most places, making the read interesting, even if the scenes are somewhat cliched. There are many funny instances in the book, especially her talk with Gudrun and the very many tongue in cheek sexual innuendos. I like the prude, list making, in-the-closet-atheist Eve, even when there were times when I cringed at her ‘innocent'(?) thoughts (assumptions?) about Adam.
On the other hand, I felt that the story is one dimensional and did not feel the depth of any character, making it hard to like them. I had several questions unanswered. What was happening between Chuck and Luce? What was Jake thinking? Who won the contest? At one point of time, I felt Eve was just being so self obsessed that she never once enquired about Luce’s relationship (Yes I know. I imagine the characters and their emotions are real). There were many British pop culture references that I had to Google to understand (or could have ignored them.. ermm.. you know me) but they worked in most places.
My DisOrganised Life is a light-hearted breezy novel with witty and snarky dialogues, I will look forward to reading further more from the author.