Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Catch-up part 1
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
This is a Poirot mystery. Ruth Kettering, a passenger on the Blue Train, is found dead. Her ex-husband is the main suspect, but Poirot thinks that he is wrongly accused. I enjoyed this book very much, it's one of my favourite Christies so far. The plot involves an international jewel thief, which always adds to the glamour.
Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin
This is part of the Erast Fandorin series. I really wanted to love this series, but I don't think it's for me. It probably says more about my powers of concentration than the book, but I found the plot difficult to follow. This is from the blurb;
The Russo-Turkish war is at a critical juncture, and Erast Fandorin, broken-hearted and disillusioned, has gone to the front in an attempt to forget his sorrows. Captured by the Turks, he wins his freedom in a game of backgammon, before finding himself the unlikely rescuer of Vavara Suvorova, a 'progressive' Russian woman trying to make her way to the Russian headquarters to join her fiance.
I'm going to try Akunin's Pelagia series, maybe I'll have better luck there.
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
I have always assumed that Rushdie's books would be difficult, and have always been a bit scared of tackling them. So when I saw that there was a readalong of Midnight's Children I jumped at the chance to join in, thinking that it would be easier if I was discussing it with other people as I went along. Well, I didn't keep up with the readalong, but as it turned out I loved Midnight's Children and found it a pleasure to read. It follows the unusual life of Saleem Sinai who was born at the exact moment India gained independence from Britain. The time of his birth makes him special, and he has a magical connection with the other Indian children who were born at that auspicious moment. We also learn about his family and their ups and downs as their fortunes rise and fall. It is a funnier book than I expected, and the characters eccentric.
The Athenian Murders by Jose Carlos Somoza
This is one of the most unusual detective stories I have read. The main story is a tale from Ancient Greece concerning the murder of a young man named Tramachus, and the efforts of Heracles, the Decipherer of Enigmas, to find his killer. But then in the footnotes of the book are messages from the modern day translator of the tale. Spookily, events in the translated story are being echoed in the translator's own life, until he begins to fear for his sanity. So the two stories exist side by side, and the reader wants to know both who killed Tramachus, and what is happening to the translator. I thought this was a really good book and I would recommend it.