Book Review: A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie

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Format:  Paperback

Pages: 297 pages

Published: April 12, 2011

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Genre: Fiction, Mystery & Thriller

 

 

Synopsis:

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are agog with curiosity when the Gazette advertises “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.”

A childish practical joke? Or a spiteful hoax? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, the locals arrive at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out anda gun is fired. When they come back on, a gruesome scene is revealed. An impossible crime? Only Miss Marple can unravel it.

You open a newspaper (let us be more relevant, most likely online) and you see that a murder has been announced! What do you do? If you are unsure, you are no different from the people of the quiet village of Chipping Cleghorn. They didn’t know what to make of this type of news but their curiosity was much greater than their fear. Lo and behold, a real murder does occur and only the legendary Miss Marple can crack the case.

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Book Review: The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

16341Format:  Paperback

Pages: 299 pages

Published: July 1942

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre: Mystery, Fiction

 

 

Synopsis:

“The placid village of Lymstock seems the perfect place for Jerry Burton to recuperate from his accident under the care of his sister, Joanna. But soon a series of vicious poison-pen letters destroys the village’s quiet charm, eventually causing one recipient to commit suicide. The vicar, the doctor, the servants—all are on the verge of accusing one another when help arrives from an unexpected quarter. The vicar’s houseguest happens to be none other than Jane Marple.”

Agatha Christie always continues to surprise me. Her changing writing style is an interesting take on the mystery novel writing. It means there is never a dull moment in Christie’s books and you never know what to expect in her stories! This book is no different. You’re in for a ride for this book of the series.

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Book Review: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie 

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 272 pages

Published: February 1942

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Fiction, Mystery & Thriller

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“When the Bantry’s wake up to find the body of a beautiful, young stranger in their library, Dolly Bantry knows there’s only one person to call: her old friend Miss Marple.

Who was the young girl? What was she doing in the library? And is there a connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are discovered in an abandoned quarry?

Miss Marple must solve the mystery, before tongues start to wag, and the murderer strikes again.”

I love reading Agatha Christie’s novels. For someone who loves reading mystery books, I can’t believe it took this long for me to discover Christie’s great works. This is 5th book by her that I read this year and I have yet to be disappointed.

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Book Review: The Mysteries of Udoplho by Ann Radcliffe

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Format:  Paperback

Pages: 693 pages

Published:  1794

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Classics

 

 

Synopsis:

A best-seller in its day and a potent influence on Sade, Poe, and other purveyors of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. After Emily St. Aubuert is imprisoned by her evil guardian, Count Montoni, in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines, terror becomes the order of the day. With its dream-like plot and hallucinatory rendering of its characters’ psychological states, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a fascinating challenge to contemporary readers.

The Mysteries of Udolpho is a very long and densely written novel. It took me a real long time to finish this one. The writing is very inconsistent, Radcliffe drags on for a very long time. It took at least a third of the novel to get to the main part of the story. As customary with 18th century novels, authors can sometimes be repetitive in their text.But with Radcliffe, she goes over the top. Radcliffe gets real repetitive and there are times you either had a hard time following what was going on in the plot or bored of reading of the book altogether. I completely understand why some readers dislike this book. Continue reading “Book Review: The Mysteries of Udoplho by Ann Radcliffe”

Short Review of 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is interesting to see the different writing styles Christie’s incorporates into her stories, even when they contain the same character! But I feel that is a good way to keep the story fresh and different every time a new one came out. Nevertheless, I highly enjoyed this one. Along the way I was trying to figure who the murderer and of course, my idea of the killer was completely off. I’m having fun reading these Christie novels!

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(Full review of this book will be up soon!)

Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

194378Format:  Paperback

Pages: 232 pages

Published: April 1, 1902

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis:

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the tale of an ancient curse suddenly given a terrifying modern application. The grey towers of Baskerville Hall and the wild open country of Dartmoor hold many secrets for Holmes and Watson to unravel. The detective is contemptuous of supernatural manifestations, but the reader will remain perpetually haunted by the hound from the moor.

An ancient curse haunts an English moor in this classic British mystery. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are approached with a case that is too tantalizing and too haunting to pass up. Holmes and Watson travel to Dartmoor to unearth the true secrets of the curse of Baskerville Hall. The famous detective may be skeptical of the supernatural nature, but both Holmes and Watson will find that breaking this ancient curse will make this a difficult mystery to solve.

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Book Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

26025580Format:  Hardcover

Pages: 64 pages

Published: November 3, 2015

Publisher: Crown

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

I honestly think that Gillian Flynn is the female version of Stephen King. Albeit a short story, I believe this was another great example of Flynn’s gift of twisting plots into what we think it is going to be at first…then altering our first impressions altogether. Continue reading “Book Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn”

Book Review: Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle

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Format:  Paperback

Pages: 55 pages

Published: 2016

Publisher: Penguin Little Black Classics

Genre: Mystery & Thriller

The short story opens up with a center of three students who are staying in rooms at a secluded college. All appear to be fine until strange happenings start occurring.

I never got a chance to read anything by Arthur Conan Doyle and that includes the Sherlock Holmes stories. Bu after reading this short story, I can’t wait to read more of his work. This story had every making of a supernatural story: sense of strange, tense action , spine tingling mystery. You can feel the drama mounting as you continue reading. There is very little mystery because you figure out what is really going on. But the suspense of the story just captures you that you forget about not having a “whodunit” common mystery. This is a perfect novelette to read during Halloween.

It was a quick and fund read that might possibly let you think twice when you see a mummy’s sarcophagus.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get It At: Amazon |Book Depository | Your local library

Book Review: The House On Seventh Street by Karen Vorbeck Williams

25909016Format:  E-book

Pages: 259 pages

Published: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Genre: Fiction & Literature, Mystery

Synopsis:

Winna returns to her father’s last residence, an 87-year-old mansion in her Colorado hometown, to settle his estate and sell the house her grandfather built. As Winna shares memories with her married daughter, reconciles with her disinherited sister Chloe, and becomes reacquainted with old classmates, the old house gives up its secrets. A handwritten will, old love letters, an unfinished story in a notebook, and a diamond ring hidden among her childhood marbles, call into question everything Winna knows about her beloved grandmother. Then come footsteps on the stairs, numerous break-ins, her car’s brake failure on a mountain road, a fall down the basement stairs. Someone is trying to kill Winna. She can’t begin to think it is her sister or Todd, Chloe’s handsome new husband. Could it be her high school boyfriend John or the local handyman she’s hired?”

The plot gives the impression that this is a straight up “whodunit” mystery. That is not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, there is a mystery. But as the reader I had a hard time grasping and diving into the plot, which I always try to do when reading a mystery.

Continue reading “Book Review: The House On Seventh Street by Karen Vorbeck Williams”

Book Review: Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins (The Grantchester Mysteries #4) by James Runice

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Format: Paperback

Pages: 416 pages

Published: May 19, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Genre: Mystery & Thriller

Synopsis:

The loveable full-time priest and part-time detective, Canon Sidney Chambers, continues his sleuthing adventures in 1960’s Cambridge. On a snowy Thursday morning in Lent 1964, a stranger seeks sanctuary in Grantchester’s church, convinced he has murdered his wife. Sidney and his wife Hildegard go for a shooting weekend in the country and find their hostess has a sinister burn on her neck. Sidney’s friend Amanda receives poison pen letters when at last she appears to be approaching matrimony. A firm of removal men ‘accidentally’ drop a Steinway piano on a musician’s head outside a Cambridge college. During a cricket match, a group of schoolboys blow up their school Science Block. On a family holiday in Florence, Sidney is accused of the theft of a priceless painting.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Sidney’s new curate Malcolm seems set to become rather irritatingly popular with the parish; his baby girl Anna learns to walk and talk; Hildegard longs to get an au pair and Sidney is offered a promotion.

Entertaining, suspenseful, thoughtful, moving and deeply humane, these six new stories are bound to delight the clerical detective’s many fans.”

This will be pretty short because there is not much to say about this since I already done a review of the other books in the series. But this one did not disappoint.

If you are tired of mystery books that depicts blood and gore and you just want a simple “cozy mystery” that can action-packed and interesting just like the other mysteries, then you can’t go wrong with this latest addition to The Grantchester Mysteries. I really enjoyed this one. Although the first two stories weren’t really that much of a mystery, the other stories did not disappoint. It’s fun to see Sidney try to juggle his father duties, his husband duties, his pastoral duties, and his amateur detective duties, even though tries to stay away from them with failed results. Mixture of morality, humor and a good old-fashioned detective story, you are in for a good with this latest installment in The Grantchester Mysteries.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Get it at:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Your local library