Magpie Murders

Recently when my friend gave me all these Agatha Christie’s books, he also gave me a book called Magpie Murders which was recommended by his sister. I have heard of it but wasn’t aware of the storyline and such. When I had finished Christie’s books, I started on this one. It took me a week to complete this but it kept me hooked the whole time. It is a very cleverly written book that has a story inside a story and is cleverly woven. It has so many viewpoints, not in terms of characters, but who the characters are. You see a story as an editor, as an author, as a reader, as a critic etc. It also satisfies readers who love to solve puzzles because that is what this is all about. I am trying to say so much without saying too much about the story because it will spoil the book for everyone. If you love mysteries, thrillers, well-written fiction, then this is a must-read. And to my surprise, I found out that there is a TV series that is being filmed which is premiering tomorrow. Yay!!! Can’t wait for it now that I have read the book. I don’t usually give 5 stars to books that aren’t from my favourite authors ( I am biased that way) but this one did.

A Christie start

As I promised myself, I continued with my 2nd Montalbano book at the start of the new year. Game of Mirrors was an interesting one to watch. But ever since my first Montalbano book (Excursion to Tindari) I knew that it would be like revisiting the TV series and the scenes just play in your mind the moment you start reading. And it didn’t disappoint me at all. I hope that in future, I will be able to get all the books in this series and give them a read. (Mr M has got one more lined up for me in his Kindle).

Sidenote: If you haven’t watched the Inspector Montalbano series and you like fun, witty, detective Italian TV series, then it is a must-watch.

While sorting out our books for packing, we decided to give away one Reginald Hill, and one Colin Dexter book that we had (they were got in old book shops and aren’t part of any series as such). So checked with my friends, and one of my friend’s parents who have a huge collection of books was ready to have them. And in exchange, she offered to lend me her books until my trip back. I couldn’t turn down such an offer and to my surprise, she has almost all of Agatha Christie’s books. That got me so excited that I was there standing in their mini-library wondering how many books I could take and which one to take :D. Never had I so much choice in my life that it got me all flabbergasted. So I decided to take three of them to start with and I have already completed two of them. Curtain, which is Poirot’s last case (not the last book that was written, which is interesting) and Death in the Clouds. I was amazed at how true to the book the episode based on Curtain was. Death in the Clouds had the same story but was done in the TV series in a slightly different way with a couple of changed characters and back story.

I always appreciate the difficulty in converting a book into a TV series because most of the time it is hard to bring the magic of the words to the screen. So far all these books have made me very happy given that I have seen all their TV episodes based on these books and now I am evaluating if they stick close to the book or not :D. Practically playing the ‘Find the Difference’ game but with Agatha Christie’s novels and TV episodes. I am currently reading Dumb Witness, which is surprisingly different to the way it has been shot for TV-episode. I am enjoying the differences.

Once I am done with these three books, I know I am going to go back for more 🙂 no doubt about that at all. This month is off to a great start already even though there is so much for me to get done given that every day is getting me closer to the end date here. But that is when I take refuge in books which have always given me comfort and I can’t think of any other way to de-stress.

A Rising Man – * * * *

A Rising Man – Sam Wyndham Series by Abhir Mukherjee. Mr M read this some time ago and recently before our trip to India, he found out that the second book’s paperback edition was out so we went book hunting and he was lucky the second time. Foyles usually is our go-to bookstore. At least it is his. When he had finished almost 3/4th of the book, he turned to me and said that this series was TV series material and it would be good to see it in a TV series. I haven’t heard that from him for other books (maybe because most of them are non-fiction) so I told him that I will give it a try after we come back from our vacation to India.

I started the first book, A Rising Man on a Saturday and completed it by Tuesday. It was a detective series but set in a very different background. A background I have had the opportunity to read at length but from a different perspective and a different angle. The story is set in Kolkotta (earlier known as Calcutta) during the British regime. That in itself is a tricky thing because you don’t have a choice but to add the history that took place during that time and it involved a lot especially in a place like Kolkatta which was the hotspot at that time. The story ends when the Jalianwala Bagh incident happened in Amritsar. The turning point of Indian Independence history, as we have read about it.

A murder takes place and the victim is a British officer. The newly transferred Sam Wyndham is appointed to investigate. Surrender-not (actual name: Surendranath, but simplified for easy pronunciation) is the Watson to Sam’s Sherlock. To be honest, I kind of guessed who it might have been halfway through, but I couldn’t figure out the why or the how. It was just pure guesswork and I got lucky. Mr M was trying to put me off the scent but I knew it in my heart that I was kind of right in my guess (and maybe the small bits of information that weren’t there also helped)

There is no Sherlock-ism in here. Lot of legwork, travelling around gathering information battling against the humidity of the country and the city, not less the antagonism against the British empire. It is very interesting to read and brings forth a lot of the cultural elements of the City (and the Country). It was a good choice by Mr M to recommend it to me (and I wonder how he got to know of this in the first place). Thank you, Sir and I will definitely get on the second book shortly.

I would definitely give it 4 stars (as I did in my Goodreads) and it will be very very interesting to see if it was made into a TV Series. It is historical and so it would need a lot of work in the Arts department to recreate the atmosphere. Good luck, if anyone wants to try.

DI Nick Dixon – ****

Finally, I finished the last book (at least for now) of DI Nick Dixon’s series by Damien Boyd. Once I started the first book, I decided that I will finish the series. It was only 8 books. It wasn’t that difficult even though I had to slow down on School days. Each story was unique and different characters were involved in solving the crime and the team with Nick was very efficient. I also loved the small backstories that went into each of these novels. The subtle humour is amazing 😉

If you fancy murder and detective series situated in Somerset and Avon area, try Nick Dixon. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Found this summary interesting.

“According to Paradise Lost, Satan started out as one of the most important angels in Heaven. Turns out, Satan had beef with God. That beef was jealousy at the fact God is the boss of the universe. He started bitching about God and rounding up a bunch of other angels who felt the same way. Satan started a war in Heaven, angels against angels, which he ultimately lost. As punishment for being such an almighty pain in the arse, God consigned him to Hell, hence Satan’s famous ‘fuck you’ quote, ‘better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.’ ”” (from “Heavenfield: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 3)” by LJ Ross)