Sunday, 27 December 2015

राम की शक्ति पूजा Ram Ki Shakti Pooja (hindi poem) by सूर्यकान्त त्रिपाठी 'निराला'


राम की शक्ति पूजा (Hindi Poetry): Ram Ki Shakti Pooja (hindi poetry)राम की शक्ति पूजा (Hindi Poetry): Ram Ki Shakti Pooja by सूर्यकान्त त्रिपाठी 'निराला'
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best. This is a long poem like Milton's paradise lost. It is about the war of Ram and Ravan metaphorically between good and evil. At the end of days war there is darkness everywhere even in heart of Ram. Here Ram is portrayed as a human and not God who has his moments of doubts.

It is published in 1937 when India was under British rule and it has also to be seen in the context of moments of doubt about Indian freedom struggle. It is also the angst of poet himself.

At the end of day Ravana proves to be formidable. Ram is in doubt. Ravana has abducted Sita and Ram has to free her. Ram is thinking whether he can rescue his beloved Sita. Ram ask eternal question "is the Shakti (Power) is always on the side of Evil" (also relate to british empire whose sun never sets and which has subjugated/ colonized whole earth by brute force). But he is a hero and fighter and is convinced that Shakti is always on the side of Good. Ram doesn't know to give up, get tired, be soft or ask for easy way. He will fight till the end no matter how formidable the opponent is. Ram worships shakti and finally she blesses him to be victorious.

The language of poem is Tatsam pradhan(heavily sanskritized) so you have to read it with the help of translation or explanation. I am deeply touched by it. It is one of my favorite poem and Ram is my lord.

Here is the hindi text of poem:

राम की शक्ति पूजा
रवि हुआ अस्त
ज्योति के पत्र पर लिखा
अमर रह गया राम-रावण का अपराजेय समर।
आज का तीक्ष्ण शरविधृतक्षिप्रकर, वेगप्रखर,
शतशेल सम्वरणशील, नील नभगर्जित स्वर,
प्रतिपल परिवर्तित व्यूह
भेद कौशल समूह
राक्षस विरुद्ध प्रत्यूह,
क्रुद्ध कपि विषम हूह,
विच्छुरित वह्नि राजीवनयन हतलक्ष्य बाण,
लोहित लोचन रावण मदमोचन महीयान,
राघव लाघव रावण वारणगत युग्म प्रहर,
उद्धत लंकापति मर्दित कपि दलबल विस्तर,
अनिमेष राम विश्वजिद्दिव्य शरभंग भाव,
विद्धांगबद्ध कोदण्ड मुष्टि खर रुधिर स्राव,
रावण प्रहार दुर्वार विकल वानर दलबल,
मुर्छित सुग्रीवांगद भीषण गवाक्ष गय नल,
वारित सौमित्र भल्लपति अगणित मल्ल रोध,
गर्जित प्रलयाब्धि क्षुब्ध हनुमत् केवल प्रबोध,
उद्गीरित वह्नि भीम पर्वत कपि चतुःप्रहर,
जानकी भीरू उर आशा भर, रावण सम्वर।
लौटे युग दल।
राक्षस पदतल पृथ्वी टलमल,
बिंध महोल्लास से बार बार आकाश विकल।
वानर वाहिनी खिन्न, लख निज पति चरणचिह्न
चल रही शिविर की ओर स्थविरदल ज्यों विभिन्न।

प्रशमित हैं वातावरण, नमित मुख सान्ध्य कमल
लक्ष्मण चिन्तापल पीछे वानर वीर सकल
रघुनायक आगे अवनी पर नवनीतचरण,
श्लध धनुगुण है, कटिबन्ध त्रस्त तूणीरधरण,
दृढ़ जटा मुकुट हो विपर्यस्त प्रतिलट से खुल
फैला पृष्ठ पर, बाहुओं पर, वृक्ष पर, विपुल
उतरा ज्यों दुर्गम पर्वत पर नैशान्धकार
चमकतीं दूर ताराएं ज्यों हों कहीं पार।

आये सब शिविर
सानु पर पर्वत के, मन्थर
सुग्रीव, विभीषण, जाम्बवान आदिक वानर
सेनापति दल विशेष के, अंगद, हनुमान
नल नील गवाक्ष, प्रात के रण का समाधान
करने के लिए, फेर वानर दल आश्रय स्थल।

बैठे रघुकुलमणि श्वेत शिला पर, निर्मल जल
ले आये कर पद क्षालनार्थ पटु हनुमान
अन्य वीर सर के गये तीर सन्ध्या विधान
वन्दना ईश की करने को लौटे सत्वर,
सब घेर राम को बैठे आज्ञा को तत्पर,
पीछे लक्ष्मण, सामने विभीषण भल्ल्धीर,
सुग्रीव, प्रान्त पर पदपद्य के महावीर,
यथुपति अन्य जो, यथास्थान हो निर्निमेष
देखते राम को जितसरोजमुख श्याम देश।

है अमानिशा, उगलता गगन घन अन्धकार,
खो रहा दिशा का ज्ञान, स्तब्ध है पवन-चार,
अप्रतिहत गरज रहा पीछे अम्बुधि विशाल,
भूधर ज्यों ध्यानमग्न, केवल जलती मशाल।
स्थिर राघवेन्द को हिला रहा फिर फिर संशय
रह रह उठता जग जीवन में रावण जय भय,
जो नहीं हुआ आज तक हृदय रिपुदम्य श्रान्त,
एक भी, अयुत-लक्ष में रहा जो दुराक्रान्त,
कल लड़ने को हो रहा विकल वह बार बार,
असमर्थ मानता मन उद्यत हो हार हार।

ऐसे क्षण अन्धकार घन में जैसे विद्युत
जागी पृथ्वी तनया कुमारिका छवि अच्युत
देखते हुए निष्पलक, याद आया उपवन
विदेह का, प्रथम स्नेह का लतान्तराल मिलन
नयनों का नयनों से गोपन प्रिय सम्भाषण
पलकों का नव पलकों पर प्रथमोत्थान पतन,
काँपते हुए किसलय, झरते पराग समुदय,
गाते खग नवजीवन परिचय, तरू मलय वलय,
ज्योतिः प्रपात स्वर्गीय, ज्ञात छवि प्रथम स्वीय,
जानकी-नयन-कमनीय प्रथम कम्पन तुरीय।

सिहरा तन, क्षण भर भूला मन, लहरा समस्त,
हर धनुर्भंग को पुनर्वार ज्यों उठा हस्त,
फूटी स्मिति सीता ध्यानलीन राम के अधर,
फिर विश्व विजय भावना हृदय में आयी भर,
वे आये याद दिव्य शर अगणित मन्त्रपूत,
फड़का पर नभ को उड़े सकल ज्यों देवदूत,
देखते राम, जल रहे शलभ ज्यों रजनीचर,
ताड़का, सुबाहु बिराध, शिरस्त्रय, दूषण, खर,

फिर देखी भीम मूर्ति आज रण देखी जो
आच्छादित किये हुए सम्मुख समग्र नभ को,
ज्योतिर्मय अस्त्र सकल बुझ बुझ कर हुए क्षीण,
पा महानिलय उस तन में क्षण में हुए लीन,
लख शंकाकुल हो गये अतुल बल शेष शयन,
खिच गये दृगों में सीता के राममय नयन,
फिर सुना हँस रहा अट्टहास रावण खलखल,
भावित नयनों से सजल गिरे दो मुक्तादल।

बैठे मारुति देखते रामचरणारविन्द,
युग 'अस्ति नास्ति' के एक रूप, गुणगण अनिन्द्य,
साधना मध्य भी साम्य वामा कर दक्षिणपद,
दक्षिण करतल पर वाम चरण, कपिवर, गद् गद्
पा सत्य सच्चिदानन्द रूप, विश्राम धाम,
जपते सभक्ति अजपा विभक्त हो राम नाम।
युग चरणों पर आ पड़े अस्तु वे अश्रु युगल,
देखा कवि ने, चमके नभ में ज्यों तारादल।
ये नहीं चरण राम के, बने श्यामा के शुभ,
सोहते मध्य में हीरक युग या दो कौस्तुभ,
टूटा वह तार ध्यान का, स्थिर मन हुआ विकल
सन्दिग्ध भाव की उठी दृष्टि, देखा अविकल
बैठे वे वहीं कमल लोचन, पर सजल नयन,
व्याकुल, व्याकुल कुछ चिर प्रफुल्ल मुख निश्चेतन।
"ये अश्रु राम के" आते ही मन में विचार,
उद्वेल हो उठा शक्ति खेल सागर अपार,
हो श्वसित पवन उनचास पिता पक्ष से तुमुल
एकत्र वक्ष पर बहा वाष्प को उड़ा अतुल,
शत घूर्णावर्त, तरंग भंग, उठते पहाड़,
जलराशि राशिजल पर चढ़ता खाता पछाड़,
तोड़ता बन्ध प्रतिसन्ध धरा हो स्फीत वक्ष
दिग्विजय अर्थ प्रतिपल समर्थ बढ़ता समक्ष,
शत वायु वेगबल, डूबा अतल में देश भाव,
जलराशि विपुल मथ मिला अनिल में महाराव
वज्रांग तेजघन बना पवन को, महाकाश
पहुँचा, एकादश रूद क्षुब्ध कर अट्टहास।
रावण महिमा श्यामा विभावरी, अन्धकार,
यह रूद्र राम पूजन प्रताप तेजः प्रसार,
इस ओर शक्ति शिव की दशस्कन्धपूजित,
उस ओर रूद्रवन्दन जो रघुनन्दन कूजित,
करने को ग्रस्त समस्त व्योम कपि बढ़ा अटल,
लख महानाश शिव अचल, हुए क्षण भर चंचल,
श्यामा के पद तल भार धरण हर मन्दस्वर
बोले "सम्वरो, देवि, निज तेज, नहीं वानर
यह, नहीं हुआ श्रृंगार युग्मगत, महावीर।
अर्चना राम की मूर्तिमान अक्षय शरीर,
चिर ब्रह्मचर्यरत ये एकादश रूद्र, धन्य,
मर्यादा पुरूषोत्तम के सर्वोत्तम, अनन्य
लीलासहचर, दिव्य्भावधर, इन पर प्रहार
करने पर होगी देवि, तुम्हारी विषम हार,
विद्या का ले आश्रय इस मन को दो प्रबोध,
झुक जायेगा कपि, निश्चय होगा दूर रोध।"
कह हुए मौन शिव, पतन तनय में भर विस्मय
सहसा नभ से अंजनारूप का हुआ उदय।
बोली माता "तुमने रवि को जब लिया निगल
तब नहीं बोध था तुम्हें, रहे बालक केवल,
यह वही भाव कर रहा तुम्हें व्याकुल रह रह।
यह लज्जा की है बात कि माँ रहती सह सह।
यह महाकाश, है जहाँ वास शिव का निर्मल,
पूजते जिन्हें श्रीराम उसे ग्रसने को चल
क्या नहीं कर रहे तुम अनर्थ? सोचो मन में,
क्या दी आज्ञा ऐसी कुछ श्री रधुनन्दन ने?
तुम सेवक हो, छोड़कर धर्म कर रहे कार्य,
क्या असम्भाव्य हो यह राघव के लिये धार्य?"
कपि हुए नम्र, क्षण में माता छवि हुई लीन,
उतरे धीरे धीरे गह प्रभुपद हुए दीन।

राम का विषण्णानन देखते हुए कुछ क्षण,
"हे सखा" विभीषण बोले "आज प्रसन्न वदन
वह नहीं देखकर जिसे समग्र वीर वानर
भल्लुक विगत-श्रम हो पाते जीवन निर्जर,
रघुवीर, तीर सब वही तूण में है रक्षित,
है वही वक्ष, रणकुशल हस्त, बल वही अमित,
हैं वही सुमित्रानन्दन मेघनादजित् रण,
हैं वही भल्लपति, वानरेन्द्र सुग्रीव प्रमन,
ताराकुमार भी वही महाबल श्वेत धीर,
अप्रतिभट वही एक अर्बुद सम महावीर
हैं वही दक्ष सेनानायक है वही समर,
फिर कैसे असमय हुआ उदय यह भाव प्रहर।
रघुकुलगौरव लघु हुए जा रहे तुम इस क्षण,
तुम फेर रहे हो पीठ, हो रहा हो जब जय रण।

कितना श्रम हुआ व्यर्थ, आया जब मिलनसमय,
तुम खींच रहे हो हस्त जानकी से निर्दय!
रावण? रावण लम्प्ट, खल कल्म्ष गताचार,
जिसने हित कहते किया मुझे पादप्रहार,
बैठा उपवन में देगा दुख सीता को फिर,
कहता रण की जयकथा पारिषददल से घिर,
सुनता वसन्त में उपवन में कलकूजित्पिक
मैं बना किन्तु लंकापति, धिक राघव, धिक धिक?

सब सभा रही निस्तब्ध
राम के स्तिमित नयन
छोड़ते हुए शीतल प्रकाश देखते विमन,
जैसे ओजस्वी शब्दों का जो था प्रभाव
उससे न इन्हें कुछ चाव, न कोई दुराव,
ज्यों हों वे शब्दमात्र मैत्री की समानुरक्ति,
पर जहाँ गहन भाव के ग्रहण की नहीं शक्ति।

कुछ क्षण तक रहकर मौन सहज निज कोमल स्वर,
बोले रघुमणि "मित्रवर, विजय होगी न, समर
यह नहीं रहा नर वानर का राक्षस से रण,
उतरी पा महाशक्ति रावण से आमन्त्रण,
अन्याय जिधर, हैं उधर शक्ति।" कहते छल छल
हो गये नयन, कुछ बूँद पुनः ढलके दृगजल,
रुक गया कण्ठ, चमक लक्ष्मण तेजः प्रचण्ड
धँस गया धरा में कपि गह युगपद, मसक दण्ड
स्थिर जाम्बवान, समझते हुए ज्यों सकल भाव,
व्याकुल सुग्रीव, हुआ उर में ज्यों विषम घाव,
निश्चित सा करते हुए विभीषण कार्यक्रम
मौन में रहा यों स्पन्दित वातावरण विषम।
निज सहज रूप में संयत हो जानकीप्राण
बोले "आया न समझ में यह दैवी विधान।
रावण, अधर्मरत भी, अपना, मैं हुआ अपर,
यह रहा, शक्ति का खेल समर, शंकर, शंकर!
करता मैं योजित बार बार शरनिकर निशित,
हो सकती जिनसे यह संसृति सम्पूर्ण विजित,
जो तेजः पुंज, सृष्टि की रक्षा का विचार,
हैं जिनमें निहित पतन घातक संस्कृति अपार।

शत शुद्धिबोध, सूक्ष्मातिसूक्ष्म मन का विवेक,
जिनमें है क्षात्रधर्म का धृत पूर्णाभिषेक,
जो हुए प्रजापतियों से संयम से रक्षित,
वे शर हो गये आज रण में श्रीहत, खण्डित!
देखा है महाशक्ति रावण को लिये अंक,
लांछन को ले जैसे शशांक नभ में अशंक,
हत मन्त्रपूत शर सम्वृत करतीं बार बार,
निष्फल होते लक्ष्य पर क्षिप्र वार पर वार।
विचलित लख कपिदल क्रुद्ध, युद्ध को मैं ज्यों ज्यों,
झक-झक झलकती वह्नि वामा के दृग त्यों त्यों,
पश्चात्, देखने लगीं मुझे बँध गये हस्त,
फिर खिंचा न धनु, मुक्त ज्यों बँधा मैं, हुआ त्रस्त!"

कह हुए भानुकुलभूष्ण वहाँ मौन क्षण भर,
बोले विश्वस्त कण्ठ से जाम्बवान, "रघुवर,
विचलित होने का नहीं देखता मैं कारण,
हे पुरुषसिंह, तुम भी यह शक्ति करो धारण,
आराधन का दृढ़ आराधन से दो उत्तर,
तुम वरो विजय संयत प्राणों से प्राणों पर।
रावण अशुद्ध होकर भी यदि कर सकता त्रस्त
तो निश्चय तुम हो सिद्ध करोगे उसे ध्वस्त,
शक्ति की करो मौलिक कल्पना, करो पूजन।
छोड़ दो समर जब तक न सिद्धि हो, रघुनन्दन!
तब तक लक्ष्मण हैं महावाहिनी के नायक,
मध्य माग में अंगद, दक्षिण-श्वेत सहायक।
मैं, भल्ल सैन्य, हैं वाम पार्श्व में हनुमान,
नल, नील और छोटे कपिगण, उनके प्रधान।
सुग्रीव, विभीषण, अन्य यथुपति यथासमय
आयेंगे रक्षा हेतु जहाँ भी होगा भय।"

खिल गयी सभा। "उत्तम निश्चय यह, भल्लनाथ!"
कह दिया ऋक्ष को मान राम ने झुका माथ।
हो गये ध्यान में लीन पुनः करते विचार,
देखते सकल, तन पुलकित होता बार बार।
कुछ समय अनन्तर इन्दीवर निन्दित लोचन
खुल गये, रहा निष्पलक भाव में मज्जित मन,
बोले आवेग रहित स्वर सें विश्वास स्थित
"मातः, दशभुजा, विश्वज्योति; मैं हूँ आश्रित;
हो विद्ध शक्ति से है खल महिषासुर मर्दित;
जनरंजन चरणकमल तल, धन्य सिंह गर्जित!
यह, यह मेरा प्रतीक मातः समझा इंगित,
मैं सिंह, इसी भाव से करूँगा अभिनन्दित।"

कुछ समय तक स्तब्ध हो रहे राम छवि में निमग्न,
फिर खोले पलक कमल ज्योतिर्दल ध्यानलग्न।
हैं देख रहे मन्त्री, सेनापति, वीरासन
बैठे उमड़ते हुए, राघव का स्मित आनन।
बोले भावस्थ चन्द्रमुख निन्दित रामचन्द्र,
प्राणों में पावन कम्पन भर स्वर मेघमन्द,
"देखो, बन्धुवर, सामने स्थिर जो वह भूधर
शिभित शत हरित गुल्म तृण से श्यामल सुन्दर,
पार्वती कल्पना हैं इसकी मकरन्द विन्दु,
गरजता चरण प्रान्त पर सिंह वह, नहीं सिन्धु।

दशदिक समस्त हैं हस्त, और देखो ऊपर,
अम्बर में हुए दिगम्बर अर्चित शशि शेखर,
लख महाभाव मंगल पदतल धँस रहा गर्व,
मानव के मन का असुर मन्द हो रहा खर्व।"
फिर मधुर दृष्टि से प्रिय कपि को खींचते हुए
बोले प्रियतर स्वर सें अन्तर सींचते हुए,
"चाहिए हमें एक सौ आठ, कपि, इन्दीवर,
कम से कम, अधिक और हों, अधिक और सुन्दर,
जाओ देवीदह, उषःकाल होते सत्वर
तोड़ो, लाओ वे कमल, लौटकर लड़ो समर।"
अवगत हो जाम्बवान से पथ, दूरत्व, स्थान,
प्रभुपद रज सिर धर चले हर्ष भर हनुमान।
राघव ने विदा किया सबको जानकर समय,
सब चले सदय राम की सोचते हुए विजय।
निशि हुई विगतः नभ के ललाट पर प्रथमकिरण
फूटी रघुनन्दन के दृग महिमा ज्योति हिरण।

हैं नहीं शरासन आज हस्त तूणीर स्कन्ध
वह नहीं सोहता निबिड़ जटा दृढ़ मुकुटबन्ध,
सुन पड़ता सिंहनाद रण कोलाहल अपार,
उमड़ता नहीं मन, स्तब्ध सुधी हैं ध्यान धार,
पूजोपरान्त जपते दुर्गा, दशभुजा नाम,
मन करते हुए मनन नामों के गुणग्राम,
बीता वह दिवस, हुआ मन स्थिर इष्ट के चरण
गहन से गहनतर होने लगा समाराधन।

क्रम क्रम से हुए पार राघव के पंच दिवस,
चक्र से चक्र मन बढ़ता गया ऊर्ध्व निरलस,
कर जप पूरा कर एक चढाते इन्दीवर,
निज पुरश्चरण इस भाँति रहे हैं पूरा कर।
चढ़ षष्ठ दिवस आज्ञा पर हुआ समाहित मन,
प्रतिजप से खिंच खिंच होने लगा महाकर्षण,
संचित त्रिकुटी पर ध्यान द्विदल देवीपद पर,
जप के स्वर लगा काँपने थर थर थर अम्बर।
दो दिन निःस्पन्द एक आसन पर रहे राम,
अर्पित करते इन्दीवर जपते हुए नाम।
आठवाँ दिवस मन ध्यान्युक्त चढ़ता ऊपर
कर गया अतिक्रम ब्रह्मा हरि शंकर का स्तर,
हो गया विजित ब्रह्माण्ड पूर्ण, देवता स्तब्ध,
हो गये दग्ध जीवन के तप के समारब्ध।
रह गया एक इन्दीवर, मन देखता पार
प्रायः करने हुआ दुर्ग जो सहस्रार,
द्विप्रहर, रात्रि, साकार हुई दुर्गा छिपकर
हँस उठा ले गई पुजा का प्रिय इन्दीवर।

यह अन्तिम जप, ध्यान में देखते चरण युगल
राम ने बढ़ाया कर लेने को नीलकमल।
कुछ लगा न हाथ, हुआ सहसा स्थिर मन चंचल,
ध्यान की भूमि से उतरे, खोले पलक विमल।
देखा, वहाँ रिक्त स्थान, यह जप का पूर्ण समय,
आसन छोड़ना असिद्धि, भर गये नयनद्वय,
"धिक् जीवन को जो पाता ही आया है विरोध,
धिक् साधन जिसके लिए सदा ही किया शोध
जानकी! हाय उद्धार प्रिया का हो न सका,
वह एक और मन रहा राम का जो न थका।
जो नहीं जानता दैन्य, नहीं जानता विनय,
कर गया भेद वह मायावरण प्राप्त कर जय।

बुद्धि के दुर्ग पहुँचा विद्युतगति हतचेतन
राम में जगी स्मृति हुए सजग पा भाव प्रमन।
"यह है उपाय", कह उठे राम ज्यों मन्द्रित घन
"कहती थीं माता मुझको सदा राजीवनयन।
दो नील कमल हैं शेष अभी, यह पुरश्चरण
पूरा करता हूँ देकर मात एक नयन।"
कहकर देखा तूणीर ब्रह्मशर रहा झलक,
ले लिया हस्त लक लक करता वह महाफलक।
ले अस्त्र वाम पर, दक्षिण कर दक्षिण लोचन
ले अर्पित करने को उद्यत हो गये सुमन
जिस क्षण बँध गया बेधने को दृग दृढ़ निश्चय,
काँपा ब्रह्माण्ड, हुआ देवी का त्वरित उदय।

"साधु, साधु, साधक धीर, धर्म-धन धन्य राम!"
कह, लिया भगवती ने राघव का हस्त थाम।
देखा राम ने, सामने श्री दुर्गा, भास्वर
वामपद असुर स्कन्ध पर, रहा दक्षिण हरि पर।
ज्योतिर्मय रूप, हस्त दश विविध अस्त्र सज्जित,
मन्द स्मित मुख, लख हुई विश्व की श्री लज्जित।
हैं दक्षिण में लक्ष्मी, सरस्वती वाम भाग,
दक्षिण गणेश, कार्तिक बायें रणरंग राग,
मस्तक पर शंकर! पदपद्मों पर श्रद्धाभर
श्री राघव हुए प्रणत मन्द स्वरवन्दन कर।

"होगी जय, होगी जय, हे पुरूषोत्तम नवीन।"
कह महाशक्ति राम के वदन में हुई लीन।


- निराला

* * *


View all my reviews

Monday, 21 December 2015

A Casualty of Grace by Lisa Brown


A Casualty of GraceA Casualty of Grace by Lisa Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very heartfelt thanks to netgalley and Lisa Brown Books Carlisle for providing me a copy for reading and reviewing.

I give 3.5 stars to the book.

Two brothers Oliver and Simon become orphan and are put in an orphanage. They are sent to Canada in foster homes separately. Older oliver is very protective of timid and lost Simon. He is heartbroken when they are separated. Oliver is sent to a farm where the owner is very ruthless but the lady Liza is very kind. They develop an emotional bond and Liza manages to bring Simon to farm too. Oliver is happy to be united with Simon at the same time terrified because of Pritchard the owner. But surprisingly Pritchard is very lenient towards Simon, as he himself is dealing with his own demons. Oliver find solace in company of neighbour girl Helen. The story traces life stories of all of them.

This is a very poignant and emotional story. The Language is simple but graceful. The story flows smoothly. I felt for Oliver, SImon, Liza and Peter. In fact Lisa Brown has compassion even towards cruel Pritchard. It shows how alcohol makes monster out of humans. They drink it as an escape from their problems but it robs you of your humanity. Oliver is a brave, hardworking boy who is mature beyond his years. His love for his brother and Liza is very moving. All in all a very heartfelt novel. Lisa Brown is very good. I recommend it to all my friends who like a heartfelt story told well.

Here are some excerpts from the book which are noteworthy:

"Oliver tried hard to contain his emotion. Every hug, every laugh, every scraped knee played out in his mind. He thought of his own mother and how he wished she could be there, but he knew that nothing in life is permanent except the memories we choose to preserve."

View all my reviews

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Even You by Marilyn Oser


Even YouEven You by Marilyn Oser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very heartfelt thanks to netgalley and for providing me a copy for reading and reviewing.
I give it 3.5 stars but taht option is not in goodreads ;).

The book is story of two woman in a relationship jassie and claire. The relationship cant be labeled as the author explains below. this book moves semalessly vetween past and present. It slowly builds up the story and keep you engrossed.



Here are some excerpts from the book:



“Your resumé?”He fished it from a stack on the corner of his desk and waved it in the air. “Your experience?”Brandishing it, accusing her of something, but what? “Here’s what I think of your experience.”He crumpled the twenty-pound, cream-colored laid paper in his fist and, rising from his chair, turned his back to her. Then—flamboyantly, protractedly, comprehensively—he wiped his rear end with it."
_______
“Forget it. Listen to your gut,” they said. “What good are your plans, anyway? Man proposes, and God shits all over him.”“Old Yiddish saying: ‘Man plans, and God laughs.’”“No, man plans, and God shits all over him, and then God laughs. Claire, go with your gut.”
_____________
"Claire detested labels. Any labels: morning person, night person; intellectual, flirt; flibbertigibbet, leader. Flattering or not, grain of truth or not, she loathed, abhorred and defied them all. The worst was lezzzzbian, with its ugly buzz there in the middle, like bees zeroing in on the sting, like kamikaze planes homing in for the smashup. The word fogged the truth, which was that Claire had fallen in love with Jessie because she was Jessie, and vice versa."
___________
Children were gorgeous: he was right about that. How fleeting their beauty was—how soon the body changed, hair darkening and thickening, bones growing prominent. Not that adults were unsightly—just different. They didn’t have the faces of children, the bodies of children, the minds of children. They didn’t have the energy or the curiosity or the liveliness of children. You could desire a child; that was understandable, if only barely. What wasn’t permissible was to act upon it, because you spoiled her childhood forever. Did that even need to be said?

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Saturday, 19 December 2015

DJSturbia by David J. Schow

DjsturbiaDjsturbia by David J Schow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very heartfelt thanks to netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing me a copy for reading and reviewing.
the copy i received in my kindle is confusing as I can't figure out where the book begins and the interview ends. These two are intertwined. Though I like the language.

Here is a sample ;


"The first time I ever kissed a girl was delirious, like smoking crack. Time and space seemed to plunge and morph . The very air seemed alive. Like everybody else I spent the rest of my life trying to recapture that feeling. It started that way with Constance, less potent, less vital, yet adequate. I guess it depends on how desperate you are."

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Supernatural Serial Killers: What makes them murder? by Samantha Lyon, Dr Daphne Tan


Supernatural Serial Killers: What makes them murder?Supernatural Serial Killers: What makes them murder? by Samantha Lyon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thnx netgalley and Arcturus Digital for providing me and advance copy for reading and review.
i did not find this book interesting. It seems just a copy paste of old trial records. it does not give a peek into psyce of these killers. very boring and repetitive.

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The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories by Ambrose Bierce


The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror StoriesThe Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories by Ambrose Bierce
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thnx netgalley and Dover Publications for providng a copy for reading and review.
I am not impressed. the stories were too short and details were sketchy. they were dated.

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Hell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale, John R Lansdale


Hell's BountyHell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thnx netgalley and SUBTERRANEAN PRESS for giving me a copy to read and review.
this is an odd book. Nothing much happen. I dont know wethere lansdale brothers wanted to write a westerner or vampire or horror story. quill looks like a winged vampire who creates havoc. sample this
"Quill came in through into the saloon, flexing his leather wings. He was bigger than before and had taken on a mummified look, as if he had been wet down good and dried in the sun. Had more teeth than before, more teeth every time they saw him , more teeth than a mouth should hold; they poked in all directions. The piano stopped playing, and except for a long, slow fart easing out of a ghoul’s foul digestion, the saloon was as silent as the face of the moon."
thus is a pretty average read.

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Adventure of the Reigate Squire (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, #6) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Adventure of the Reigate Squire (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, #6)The Adventure of the Reigate Squire by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

Watson takes Holmes to a friend's estate near Reigate in Surrey to rest after a rather strenuous case in France. Holmes finds that his services are needed here, but he also finds that his recent illness serves him well. His host is Colonel Hayter.

There has recently been a burglary at the nearby Acton estate in which the thieves stole a motley assortment of things, even a ball of twine, but nothing terribly valuable. Then one morning, the Colonel's butler tells news of a murder at another nearby estate, the Cunninghams'. The victim is William Kirwan, the coachman. Inspector Forrester has taken charge of the investigation, and there is one physical clue: a torn piece of paper found in William's hand with a few words written on it. Holmes takes an instant interest in this, seeing something that Forrester has missed: it is quite clear to Holmes that the fragment of a note was written by two men, each writing alternate words. One man is young, and the other rather older. Moreover, they are related. Holmes, an expert at studying handwriting, does not voice this or any other observation or conclusion until the end of the story. He also observes that one line says "quarter to twelve", coincidentally the time of William's murder.

One of the first facts to emerge is that there is a longstanding legal dispute between the Actons and the Cunninghams involving ownership of about half of the estate currently in the Cunninghams' hands.

Holmes spends quite a bit of time investigating and interviewing the two Cunningham men, young Alec and his ageing father. Alec tells Holmes that he saw the burglar struggling with William when a shot went off and William fell dead. The burglar ran off through a hedge to the road. The elder Cunningham claims that he was in his room smoking at the time, and Alec says that he had also still been up. Holmes knows that they are lying. No burglar with any sense would break into a house when he could see by the lit lamps that someone was still afoot. Also, William's body has no powder burns on it; so he was not shot at point-blank range as the Cunninghams claim. The escape route also does not bear their story out: there is a boggy ditch next to the road that the fleeing murderer would have had to cross, yet there are no signs of any footprints in it.

Holmes knows that it would be useful to get hold of the rest of that note found in William's hand. He believes that the murderer snatched it away from William and thrust it into his pocket, never realizing that a scrap of it was still in the murdered coachman's hand. Unfortunately, neither the police nor Holmes can get any information from William's mother, for she is quite old, deaf, and somewhat simple-minded.

Holmes puts his recent illness to use and fakes a fit just as Forrester is about to mention the one clue to the Cunninghams. He suspects that the Cunninghams know where the rest of the note is, and does not wish them to destroy it. Holmes also cunningly gets the elder Cunningham to write the word "twelve", which appears on the scrap of paper recovered from the murder scene, by deliberately making a mistake in an advertisement that Holmes tells Cunningham to publish, and asking him to correct it.

Holmes then insists on searching the Cunninghams' rooms despite their protests that the burglar, whom Holmes has by now dismissed as a fabrication, could not have gone there. He sees Alec's room and then his father's, where he deliberately knocks a small table over, sending some oranges and a water carafe to the floor. The others have not been looking his way at the time, and Holmes implies that the cause is Watson's clumsiness. Watson plays along and starts grovelling about to gather up scattered oranges.

Everyone then notices that Holmes has left the room. Moments later, there are cries of "murder" and "help". Watson recognizes his friend's voice. He and Forrester rush to Alec's room where they find Alec trying to throttle Holmes and his father apparently twisting Holmes's wrist. The Cunninghams are quickly restrained, and Holmes tells Forrester to arrest the two for murdering William Kirwan. At first, Forrester thinks Holmes must be mad, but Holmes draws his attention to the looks on their faces – very guilty. After a revolver is knocked out of Alec's hand, the two are arrested. The gun, of course, is the one used to murder William, and it is seized.

Holmes has found the rest of the note, still in Alec's dressing gown pocket. It runs thus (the words in boldface are the ones on the original scrap):
"If you will only come round at quarter to twelveto the east gate you will learn whatwill very much surprise you and maybe [sic]
be of the greatest service to you and alsoto Annie Morrison. But say nothing to anyoneupon the matter."
The elder Cunningham's confidence is broken after his arrest and he tells all. It seems that William followed his two employers the night they broke into the Acton estate (Holmes has already deduced that it was they, in pursuit of documents supporting Mr. Acton's legal claim, which they did not find). William then proceeded to blackmail his employers – not realizing that it was dangerous to do such a thing to Alec – and they thought to use the recent burglary scare as a plausible way of getting rid of him. With a bit more attention paid to detail, they might very well have evaded all suspicion.

Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, #9) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, #9)The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

It is a warm summer evening, and their conversation wanders from subject to subject until Holmes mentions his family. Despite Watson’s sharing the apartment for several years, he has never known Holmes to speak much of his background, and Watson is surprised to hear that Holmes has an elder brother, Mycroft, whom the detective describes as a reasoner even greater than himself. However, Mycroft, Holmes explains, has an absolute aversion to interrupting his daily routine for the sometimes vigorous activity needed to solve crimes.

Holmes has a purpose in mentioning Mycroft precisely at this time, because his corpulent brother has summoned him to what Holmes characterizes as one of the strangest clubs in London. Holmes and Watson, therefore, stroll to the Diogenes Club for Watson’s first sight of this strangest member of the city’s strangest club. The Diogenes Club was founded for gentlemen who desired the refuge of a club and the privacy of their homes: Conversation is forbidden except in the Strangers’ Room, in which Holmes and Watson are joined by Mycroft.

Mycroft sets before Holmes the mystery of the story: A neighbor of his, a Mr. Melas, has come to him with the tale of a very strange experience. Thinking at once of his younger brother, Mycroft has asked Melas to join them at the club so that Holmes may pursue the problem. Melas, a Greek, works as a translator in London, and his adventure began when he was hired for that purpose by a Mr. Latimer. Latimer asked Melas to accompany him to his house; when they entered their carriage, Latimer closed the window shades so that Melas could not see where they were going. Latimer then drew out a blackjack and threatened Melas so effectively that the interpreter made no protest during their ride of almost two hours.

Because night had fallen, Melas was unable to identify his surroundings when the carriage stopped. He was shown into a house and introduced first to a small, mean-looking man, and then to an emaciated figure whose head was crisscrossed and whose mouth...

Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

The Adventure of the Dancing Men Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Adventure of the Dancing Men and Other Sherlock Holmes StoriesThe Adventure of the Dancing Men and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

The story begins in Holmes and Watson’s Baker Street apartment in London. Holmes, who appears to be deeply engrossed in his chemicals and test-tubes, surprises Watson by apparently reading his mind: “So, Watson . . . you do not propose to invest in South African securities?” Watson, astonished by Holmes’s remark, demands an explanation, and Holmes complies, relating an intricate chain of reasoning that begins with the presence of chalk on Watson’s left hand the previous night and concludes with his investment decision.

Holmes then hands Watson a sheet of paper bearing some stick figures and asks him what he makes of it. Watson believes it to be a child’s drawing, but Holmes tells him that a client, Mr. Hilton Cubitt, is calling on them soon to seek an explanation of the stick figures drawn on the paper, figures that seem to resemble dancing men. When Cubitt arrives, he explains that he has been married for about a year to a young American woman. He knew little about his wife, Elsie, when they met, and she requested that he not ask her about her past, a past she says she would like to forget. He has honored her request, but recently she seemed quite shaken after receiving a letter from the United States. Shortly after she read and burned that letter, the dancing men hieroglyphics were found written in chalk on the window sill. Cubitt washed them off but noticed his wife’s dismay when he told her about them. Then the paper that Holmes had shown Watson was found on the sundial in the garden. When Cubitt found it and showed it to Elsie, she promptly fainted. He does not wish to violate his promise to his wife and ask whether these dancing men are related to her unknown past, so he has come to Holmes for help in understanding this apparent mystery involving the woman he loves so dearly.

Holmes asks Cubitt some questions about the neighborhood and sends him home, asking him to watch for more dancing men drawings and urging Cubitt to copy down faithfully any that he finds. Holmes studies the drawing silently and makes no remarks about the case to Watson. About two weeks later, Cubitt returns with more hieroglyphics; some have been written in chalk on a door, others have been scrawled on a paper left on the sundial. One night, Cubitt reports, he saw a figure moving through the darkness in the yard; he took his pistol and, despite his wife’s protests, went after the man. He did not find anyone, but the next morning more dancing men, apparently drawn by this mysterious visitor, were found chalked on the door. Cubitt believes that his wife possibly knows who this man is; he remains true to his promise, however, and refuses to interrogate her about the matter.

Cubitt returns to his home—Riding Thorpe Manor—on the train, and Holmes puzzles over the drawings some more. When Cubitt mails him another set of drawings found...

Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

Carry on, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3) by P.G. Wodehouse


Carry on, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3)Carry on, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Wodehouse is pure bliss. His writing style seems simple but it is not. Wodehouse is a genius and he painstakingly creates humor out of ordinary everyday situations. It is not slap stick, satire or comic. It is pure unadulterated humor. Reading Wodehouse is the best stress buster and anti-depressant. He doesn’t claim to very highly literary writing prowess. In his own words “I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going deep down into life and not caring a damn...”.

Wodehouse believed that one of the factors that made his stories humorous was his view of life, and he stated that "If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It's probably because you were born that way."

"For a humorous novel you've got to have a scenario, and you've got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible."

Bandings castle and its characters is one the best of his creations. All other charaters Jeevs, Ukridge, Bertram Wooster, Psimth, Mulliner, Clarence Threepwood, Sebastian Beach, Ashe Marson, Joan Valentine, J. Preston Peters, Aline Peters, Freddie Threepwood, Mrs. Twemlow, Mrs. Bell, Richard Jones, George Emerson, Lord Stockheath, Adams, Rupert J. Baxter, Thorne, George Threepwood, Ann Warblington, Merridew, James, Alfred, Mildred Mant, Horace Mant, Judson, Algernon Wooster, Bishop of Godalming, Billy, Muriel, Dr. Bird, Slingsby, Chester, Ferris, Miss Willoughby etc are highly likable.

I think there will not be a single person who cannot like Wodehouse.



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The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes, #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes, #2)The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious novel of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 
Miss Mary Morstan goes to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with something of a mystery. Her father, formerly an officer in an Indian regiment, sent her word from London that she was to meet him at a certain hotel. When she kept the appointment, her father failed to appear, and he has not been heard from in the ten years elapsed since that time. His only known friend in England was Major Sholto, a brother officer, but that gentleman disclaimed any knowledge of Morstan’s presence in London. For the past six years, Mary has received one large and valuable pearl on a certain date each year. That morning, she received a note asking her to meet the writer at a certain spot near a theater. She is to bring two friends if she likes, but not the police. Apprehensive and puzzled, she turns to Holmes for help.
Miss Mary Morstan goes to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with something of a mystery. Her father, formerly an officer in an Indian regiment, sent her word from London that she was to meet him at a certain hotel. When she kept the appointment, her father failed to appear, and he has not been heard from in the ten years elapsed since that time. His only known friend in England was Major Sholto, a brother officer, but that gentleman disclaimed any knowledge of Morstan’s presence in London. For the past six years, Mary has received one large and valuable pearl on a certain date each year. That morning, she received a note asking her to meet the writer at a certain spot near a theater. She is to bring two friends if she likes, but not the police. Apprehensive and puzzled, she turns to Holmes for help.


Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery. 
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes, #7) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes, #7)The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of the weaker novel of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 


Valley of Fear begins with Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, and Dr. Watson, his fellow lodger of 221 b Baker Street, in mid-conversation. Holmes is puzzling over an encrypted message, which he has received from Porlock, an associate of Holmes’ nemesis Professor Moriarty. A second message from Porlock, which was supposed to contain the key to the coded message, soon arrives, stating that he (Porlock) is afraid of Moriarty’s wrath and will not reveal the purpose of his correspondence. Holmes soon deciphers the message regardless, and discovers that it warns of imminent danger for one Douglas of Birlstone. The two are soon visited by MacDonald, a policeman friend of Holmes, who informs them that this same Douglas has been murdered. 

Upon inspection of the dead man, it is revealed that he has been killed with a sawed off shotgun, an American weapon. Beside the disfigured body lies a card inscribed “V.V. 341” Other clues in the room include a bloody footprint on the windowsill, a missing dumb-bell, and the fact that the man’s wedding ring is missing. Another clue, discovered soon after, is a bicycle, concealed just outside the house grounds. Interrogation of the house servants reveals little, and after Mrs. Douglas, wife of the murdered man, and Cecil Barker, a friend of the family, are questioned, Holmes reveals to Watson that he believes they are in a conspiracy together. 

Although the other detectives on the scene share their own theories, Holmes informs Watson that he believes the case hangs entirely on the missing dumb-bell, the one piece of evidence deemed as trivial to the police force. Holmes announces that he is going to spend the night alone in the room in which Douglas was murdered, taking nothing with him but Watson’s umbrella. The day after Holmes’ vigil, he reveals to the police force investigating Douglas’ murder that he has solved the case, and asks them to join him in a stakeout that night.

During the stakeout, which takes place in the bushes outside of the room in which the crime was committed, Holmes, Watson, and the other detectives witness a man lean out the window and fish something out of the moat which surrounds the house. When the group confronts the figure, they discover him to be Cecil Barker, and that the object he has taken from the moat is a bag, weighted down with the missing dumb-bell. Within the bag is a suit of clothing, boots, and a knife. During his stay in the room, Holmes had discovered this same bag, using the crook of Watson’s umbrella. To the astonishment of the others, Holmes reveals that Douglas is still alive. Upon saying this, a hidden compartment in the room opens, and Douglas himself steps out. 

Douglas proceeds to explain that he had been hunted for some time by a man named Baldwin who later attempted to kill him. The two had struggled, and Baldwin had been killed when the shotgun went off in his face. With the assistance of his wife and Barker, Douglas concocted a plan to fake his own death, taking advantage of the fact that Baldwin’s disfigured face would prevent an accurate identification. Douglas explains that there are others who would seek his life, and his apparent death would enable him to shake them off forever. Douglas gives Watson a manuscript, which he says details his past life, and tells of the men who wish him dead. After this, the novel merges into Part II, which deals with Douglas’ life in America. 

Part II begins with a man named Jack McMurdo, (whom we later discover is Douglas). McMurdo journeys to Vermissa Valley, a coal mining district in the western United States. McMurdo expresses an extreme hatred of policemen, which attracts the attention of a man named Scanlon, who reveals himself to be a member of the order of the Freemen, a society to which McMurdo also belongs. McMurdo soon joins the local lodge of Freemen, headed up by a cruel, violent man named Boss McGinty. It is revealed that the Freemen of this district go by another name: the Scowrers, a Mafia-like society that oppress the people of Vermissa Valley. McMurdo proves to be just as violent as the rest, and he soon becomes a prominent member of the Scowrers.

The gang continues their reign of terror for some time without being challenged, until they learn that Birdy Edwards, a Pinkerton detective, is on their trail. McMurdo informs the lodge that he knows who Birdy Edwards is, and he lays a plan to capture him. McMurdo lures Edwards to his apartment, where Boss McGinty and several of the other prominent members of the gang are concealed. McMurdo suddenly turns the tables on the Scowrers by revealing that he himself is Birdy Edwards, and that he joined the lodge only to gain information against them. McGinty and several of the others are hung based on McMurdo’s testimony, and the others are sent to prison. Edwards, knowing the vindictive nature of the gang, disappears, eventually ending up in England, where events play out as detailed in Part I. 

After Douglas’ remarkable story, Holmes warns the man to remain on his guard, as Moriarty, whom Baldwin had contacted to locate Douglas’ whereabouts, will no doubt attempt to kill Douglas himself. Douglas agrees and goes back into hiding. 

Sometime after Douglas flees England, Holmes receives a cryptic message which reads only “Dear me, Mr. Holmes, dear me!” From this, Holmes deduces that Moriarty, the sender of the note, has succeeded in killing Douglas. Watson and McDonald speculate whether or not Moriarty will ever be brought to justice. Holmes assures them that he himself will capture the Professor, but they must “give him time.”


Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery. 
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5)The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very spine chilling novel of My most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles opens with a mini mystery—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson speculate on the identity of the owner of a cane that has been left in their office by an unknown visitor. Wowing Watson with his fabulous powers of observation, Holmes predicts the appearance of James Mortimer, owner of the found object and a convenient entrée into the baffling curse of the Baskervilles.

Entering the office and unveiling an 18th century manuscript, Mortimer recounts the myth of the lecherous Hugo Baskerville. Hugo captured and imprisoned a young country lass at his estate in Devonshire, only to fall victim to a marauding hound of hell as he pursued her along the lonesome moors late one night. Ever since, Mortimer reports, the Baskerville line has been plagued by a mysterious and supernatural black hound. The recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville has rekindled suspicions and fears. The next of kin, the duo finds out, has arrived in London to take up his post at Baskerville Hall, but he has already been intimidated by an anonymous note of warning and, strangely enough, the theft of a shoe.

Agreeing to take the case, Holmes and Watson quickly discover that Sir Henry Baskerville is being trailed in London by a mysterious bearded stranger, and they speculate as to whether the ghost be friend or foe. Holmes, however, announces that he is too busy in London to accompany Mortimer and Sir Henry to Devonshire to get to the bottom of the case, and he sends Dr. Watson to be his eyes and ears, insisting that he report back regularly.

Once in Devonshire, Watson discovers a state of emergency, with armed guards on the watch for an escaped convict roaming the moors. He meets potential suspects in Mr. Barrymore and Mrs. Barrymore, the domestic help, and Mr. Jack Stapleton and his sister Beryl, Baskerville neighbors.

 A series of mysteries arrive in rapid succession: Barrymore is caught skulking around the mansion at night; Watson spies a lonely figure keeping watch over the moors; and the doctor hears what sounds like a dog's howling. Beryl Stapleton provides an enigmatic warning and Watson learns of a secret encounter between Sir Charles and a local woman named Laura Lyons on the night of his death.

Doing his best to unravel these threads of the mystery, Watson discovers that Barrymore's nightly jaunts are just his attempt to aid the escaped con, who turns out to be Mrs. Barrymore's brother. The doctor interviews Laura Lyons to assess her involvement, and discovers that the lonely figure surveying the moors is none other than Sherlock Holmes himself. It takes Holmes—hidden so as not to tip off the villain as to his involvement—to piece together the mystery.

Mr. Stapleton, Holmes has discovered, is actually in line to inherit the Baskerville fortune, and as such is the prime suspect. Laura Lyons was only a pawn in Stapleton's game, a Baskerville beneficiary whom Stapleton convinced to request and then miss a late night appointment with Sir Charles. Having lured Charles onto the moors, Stapleton released his ferocious pet pooch, which frightened the superstitious nobleman and caused a heart attack.

In a dramatic final scene, Holmes and Watson use the younger Baskerville as bait to catch Stapleton red-handed. After a late supper at the Stapletons', Sir Henry heads home across the moors, only to be waylaid by the enormous Stapleton pet. Despite a dense fog, Holmes and Watson are able to subdue the beast, and Stapleton, in his panicked flight from the scene, drowns in a marshland on the moors. Beryl Stapleton, who turns out to be Jack's harried wife and not his sister, is discovered tied up in his house, having refused to participate in his dastardly scheme.

Back in London, Holmes ties up the loose ends, announcing that the stolen shoe was used to give the hound Henry's scent, and that mysterious warning note came from Beryl Stapleton, whose philandering husband had denied their marriage so as to seduce and use Laura Lyons. Watson files the case closed.


Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and spine chilling mystery. But todays VFX graphichs movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery. 
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called guess work. Holmes is the best.

Namak ka Droga (Hindi) by Premchand


Namak ka Droga (Hindi)Namak ka Droga by Premchand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story is a sweet reminder of the days of british raj when the ordinary salt was a precious commodity which was taxed heavily and was smuggled like drugs. Story is simple. Vanshidhar is an very honest man and after being appointed salt inspector he stops Pandit Alopidin's salt to be smuggled. He refuses to accept bribe. Alopidin was a staunch beliver in the pwer of Lkashmi, Hindu goddess of wealth. He gets Vanshidhar suspended for arresting and insulting him by using his money power. But at the same time he is impressed by his honesty and appoints him manager of all his propoerties.

My favorite portion of the story is when Vanshidhar's father expalins him the benefits of taking bribe. Please read it, it is hilarious.

उनके पिता एक अनुभवी पुरुष थे। समझाने लगे, 'बेटा! घर की दुर्दशा देख रहे हो। ॠण के बोझ से दबे हुए हैं। लडकियाँ हैं, वे घास-फूस की तरह बढती चली जाती हैं। मैं कगारे पर का वृक्ष हो रहा हूँ, न मालूम कब गिर पडूँ! अब तुम्हीं घर के मालिक-मुख्तार हो।
'नौकरी में ओहदे की ओर ध्यान मत देना, यह तो पीर का मजार है। निगाह चढावे और चादर पर रखनी चाहिए। ऐसा काम ढूँढना जहाँ कुछ ऊपरी आय हो। मासिक वेतन तो पूर्णमासी का चाँद है, जो एक दिन दिखाई देता है और घटते-घटते लुप्त हो जाता है। ऊपरी आय बहता हुआ स्रोत है जिससे सदैव प्यास बुझती है। वेतन मनुष्य देता है, इसी से उसमें वृध्दि नहीं होती। ऊपरी आमदनी ईश्वर देता है, इसी से उसकी बरकत होती हैं, तुम स्वयं विद्वान हो, तुम्हें क्या समझाऊँ।
'इस विषय में विवेक की बडी आवश्यकता है। मनुष्य को देखो, उसकी आवश्यकता को देखो और अवसर को देखो, उसके उपरांत जो उचित समझो, करो। गरजवाले आदमी के साथ कठोरता करने में लाभ ही लाभ है। लेकिन बेगरज को दाँव पर पाना जरा कठिन है। इन बातों को निगाह में बाँध लो यह मेरी जन्म भर की कमाई है।
His father was a worldly-wise man. He gave the young man the following advice: Son, you well understand our sad plight. We are under a heavy debt. There’re girls in the family, who are growing up fast like weeds. I’m like a tree that is likely to collapse anytime. Now you’re the master and head of the family. Don’t bother about the status in a service, which is like the mausoleum of a pir. Your eyes should always be fixed on chadders and offerings. Look for a job with an ‘over-and-above-the-salary’ income. The monthly salary is like the full moon which is visible only for a day, and wanes each successive day and then disappears. The over-and-above income is like a flowing stream that regularly quenches your thirst. Salary is given by man, which does not take you far; the over-and-above income is the gift of God, which leads to prosperity. You are a scholar yourself and don’t need to be taught anything. One needs to use one’s understanding. Look at man and his needs, and his opportunities. Then do what you think is best. It always pays to be tough with a person needing favours from you. But it is difficult to tame one who does not need any favour from you. Keep this in your mind. This is my lifetime’s capital.’

Story is simple. Vanshidhar is an very honest man and after being appointed salt inspector he stops Pandit Alopidin's salt to be smuggled. He refuses to accept bribe. Alopidin was a staunch believer in the power of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of wealth. He gets Vanshidhar suspended for arresting and insulting him, by using his money power. But at the same time he is impressed by his honesty and appoints him manager of all his properties.

A very easy read though i disagree with the climax.

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Gaban (Hindi) by Premchand


Gaban (Hindi)Gaban by Premchand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will prefer it to call it a romance. Premchand's novel Gaban ("Embezzlement"), focusing on the middle class' greed is summarized as below:
The novel revolves around Ramaa, a young man of malleable moral values and his intrepid wife Jaalpa who seems outwardly flaky and greedy for gold ornaments but hides a much stronger core. Ramaa’s world is build on a mountain of lies and hubris. Jaalpa is young and restless and believes all the tall stories her handsome husband tells.Rama soon finds himself committing embezzlement(Gaban) to buy her ornaments which leads to a huge misunderstanding thanks to his cowardice. Gaban tells its story with impeccable empathy for all its characters.

The novel is a broad exploration of middle class hypocrisy and cowardice especially among men. Premchand paints in rich shades of grey unlike the bulk of the cinema of the time.By contrasting the relatively higher moral ground occupied by a low-caste character called Devideen, with Ramaa’s many weaknesses, he seems to be making a comment about the petit bourgeoisie of the time. This is also a novel about the inherent strength of women and how a faulty understanding of their psyche and considering them as mere objects, lead to the downfall of Indian society.
Jaalpa is the finest character of the novel and when she comes to know about the predicament of her husbands, she sells her ornaments and pays the money. Jaalpa's character is an ode to unfaltering devotion of Indian women is towards their Husbands. Pati parmeshwar i.e husband is god.

A very enjoyable and satisfactory read.

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The Speckled Band (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #8) by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Speckled Band (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #8)The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is probably the most famous of Sherlock Holmes’s cases, not only because of its diabolical plot about a stepfather preventing his twin daughters from marrying and thereby diminishing his income from his deceased wife’s estate, but also because it so perfectly realizes the pattern of detection that became Holmes’s trademark. Watson opens the story with the information that he has been freed to tell this story by the premature death of the client, Helen Stoner.

Helen comes to Holmes and Watson in April, 1883, terrified that she may meet the same fate as her sister, who died mysteriously two years earlier. Encouraged and reassured by Holmes, she recounts the reasons for her fears. Because of repairs on the house, she has had to move into the bedroom used by her sister when she died and has heard a low whistle in the night, just as her sister did on several nights before her death. Her sister died soon after announcing her engagement to be married, and Helen is now also engaged to marry. Furthermore, the stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott of the Stoke Moran estate in Surrey, is well known as a violent and temperamental giant who brooks no interference with his will. Having married their mother in India, where his medical practice was successful until he murdered his Indian butler, he returned to England, where his wife died in a railway accident. He then retired with his young stepdaughters into virtual seclusion at Stoke Moran, where he gives some of his time to collecting exotic animals, such as a baboon and a cheetah, said to come from India, which he allows to roam free on his grounds. He also associates with bands of gypsies that he allows to camp on his grounds.

Summarized, these details about Roylott’s life seem rather silly, but they work fairly effectively to account for Holmes’s initial failure to discover how Helen’s sister died and, therefore, what threat Helen must fear. This body of detail allows Holmes to develop two theories to explain the death, though he claims to have at least seven. The incorrect theory assumes that Roylott, with his clear motive for preventing his daughters from marrying, employs the gypsies by somehow making it possible for them to enter the woman’s room at night and frighten her to death in some way. This theory would explain why there are no signs of violence on her body; why the police have found no way of entering her room once she locked herself in, away from cheetahs and baboons, each night; and why her mysterious last words to Helen were about a speckled band. When Holmes examines the scene, however, he makes several other pertinent discoveries, such as the small opening at the ceiling between the woman’s room and Dr. Roylott’s room, that the bell rope that hangs down onto the bed is not functional, and that the bed is fastened to the floor and cannot be shifted. These and other details make the case clear to Holmes, but he must, of course, test it.

One of the great scenes in the Holmes stories is the night that Watson and the detective spend in the absolutely dark room, waiting for something to happen. Only when the speckled band appears and reveals itself to be a poisonous snake do the two men fully realize that the evil doctor has trained an Indian swamp adder to descend through the opening, down the bell rope and onto the bed, and return. Holmes, now aware of what was supposed to happen, drives the dangerous snake back upon the doctor, catching the murderer in his own trap.

Though there are many interesting variations, this general pattern is usually recognized as the form of the classic Holmes story. A client gives the detective the unconnected clues that form a mystery. The detective invents structures that make sense of these clues and determines which one is correct. Usually this requires a personal inspection of the crime scene and some other research that uncovers unnoticed clues. The detective reaches a final conclusion by means of reasoning about this information, produces and tests the solution, and reveals the criminal. Though this process usually involves some action and danger, the central activity of the detective is solving the puzzle, and the reader’s main pleasure is in attempting to reach the answer before or along with the detective. That is the general form one expects to encounter in the classical detective stories of such masters of the form as Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie.

This story also deals with Doyle’s typical themes. Often, his client turns out to be a young woman who is, in some way, the victim of a powerful male—a relative, an employer, or a former suitor. As is often the case, the motive here is to obtain money and property. All the Holmes stories emphasize the rationality of causes for mysterious events. This story especially, but not uniquely, underlines Holmes’s wisdom. Like his famous contemporary, Sigmund Freud, Holmes is willing to listen to the problems of a nervous young woman, when even her future husband responds only with “soothing answers and averted eyes.” Helen addresses Holmes as one who “can see deeply into the manifold wickedness of the human heart.”

That, however, is not true. Holmes is usually characterized as lacking insight into emotions beyond the common motives for crime. What he really excels at is developing and testing logical connections between seemingly unconnected events. Perhaps this apparent contradiction may be explained by Watson’s assertion at the opening of the story that Holmes’s rapid deductions were “swift as intuitions,” suggesting that his logic is so fine an art that it may look like intuition or may mimic deep insight into the wickedness of the human heart.

Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

Life at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse


Life at BlandingsLife at Blandings by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Wodehouse is pure bliss. His writing style seems simple but it is not. Wodehouse is a genius and he painstakingly creates humor out of ordinary everyday situations. It is not slap stick, satire or comic. It is pure unadulterated humor. Reading Wodehouse is the best stress buster and anti-depressant. He doesn’t claim to very highly literary writing prowess. In his own words “I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going deep down into life and not caring a damn...”.

Wodehouse believed that one of the factors that made his stories humorous was his view of life, and he stated that "If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It's probably because you were born that way."

"For a humorous novel you've got to have a scenario, and you've got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible."

Bandings castle and its characters is one the best of his creations. All other charaters Jeevs, Ukridge, Bertram Wooster, Psimth, Mulliner, Clarence Threepwood, Sebastian Beach, Ashe Marson, Joan Valentine, J. Preston Peters, Aline Peters, Freddie Threepwood, Mrs. Twemlow, Mrs. Bell, Richard Jones, George Emerson, Lord Stockheath, Adams, Rupert J. Baxter, Thorne, George Threepwood, Ann Warblington, Merridew, James, Alfred, Mildred Mant, Horace Mant, Judson, Algernon Wooster, Bishop of Godalming, Billy, Muriel, Dr. Bird, Slingsby, Chester, Ferris, Miss Willoughby etc are highly likable.

I think there will not be a single person who cannot like Wodehouse.



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Life With Jeeves (Jeeves, #6, 2, & 4)Life With Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Wodehouse is pure bliss. His writing style seems simple but it is not. Wodehouse is a genius and he painstakingly creates humor out of ordinary everyday situations. It is not slap stick, satire or comic. It is pure unadulterated humor. Reading Wodehouse is the best stress buster and anti-depressant. He doesn’t claim to very highly literary writing prowess. In his own words “I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going deep down into life and not caring a damn...”.

Wodehouse believed that one of the factors that made his stories humorous was his view of life, and he stated that "If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It's probably because you were born that way."

"For a humorous novel you've got to have a scenario, and you've got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible."

Bandings castle and its characters is one the best of his creations. All other charaters Jeevs, Ukridge, Bertram Wooster, Psimth, Mulliner, Clarence Threepwood, Sebastian Beach, Ashe Marson, Joan Valentine, J. Preston Peters, Aline Peters, Freddie Threepwood, Mrs. Twemlow, Mrs. Bell, Richard Jones, George Emerson, Lord Stockheath, Adams, Rupert J. Baxter, Thorne, George Threepwood, Ann Warblington, Merridew, James, Alfred, Mildred Mant, Horace Mant, Judson, Algernon Wooster, Bishop of Godalming, Billy, Muriel, Dr. Bird, Slingsby, Chester, Ferris, Miss Willoughby etc are highly likable.

I think there will not be a single person who cannot like Wodehouse.



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Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse


Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (Jeeves, #11) My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Wodehouse is pure bliss. His writing style seems simple but it is not. Wodehouse is a genius and he painstakingly creates humor out of ordinary everyday situations. It is not slap stick, satire or comic. It is pure unadulterated humor. Reading Wodehouse is the best stress buster and anti-depressant. He doesn’t claim to very highly literary writing prowess. In his own words “I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going deep down into life and not caring a damn...”.

Wodehouse believed that one of the factors that made his stories humorous was his view of life, and he stated that "If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It's probably because you were born that way."

"For a humorous novel you've got to have a scenario, and you've got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible."

Bandings castle and its characters is one the best of his creations. All other charaters Jeevs, Ukridge, Bertram Wooster, Psimth, Mulliner, Clarence Threepwood, Sebastian Beach, Ashe Marson, Joan Valentine, J. Preston Peters, Aline Peters, Freddie Threepwood, Mrs. Twemlow, Mrs. Bell, Richard Jones, George Emerson, Lord Stockheath, Adams, Rupert J. Baxter, Thorne, George Threepwood, Ann Warblington, Merridew, James, Alfred, Mildred Mant, Horace Mant, Judson, Algernon Wooster, Bishop of Godalming, Billy, Muriel, Dr. Bird, Slingsby, Chester, Ferris, Miss Willoughby etc are highly likable.

I think there will not be a single person who cannot like Wodehouse.



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The Boscombe Valley Mystery (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #4)The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes. 

Whilst having breakfast with his wife one morning, Dr Watson receives a telegram from Sherlock Holmes. Holmes wishes Watson to accompany him to Boscombe Valley for an investigation. Watson is unsure about deserting his medical practice, but, after a little persuasion from his wife he packs a bag and hurriedly sets out to meet with Holmes.

On the journey to Boscombe Holmes informs Watson that the case concerns the death of Mr Charles McCarthy. McCarthy was a tenant of Mr John Turner, the largest landed proprietor in the area. The two men had met in Australia years ago and although Turner was the wealthier of the two they seemed to be good friends and constantly in one another’s company. Both men were widowed. McCarthy had an eighteen year old son named James and Turner had a daughter, Alice, of the same age.

On the day of his death McCarthy had hurried to Boscombe Pool with the intention of keeping an appointment with an unknown person at three o’clock. Witnesses reported seeing Charles McCarthy making his way to the pool alone and that a short time later James McCarthy followed carrying a gun. Another witness saw the father and son together by Boscombe Pool having a heated argument. Shortly after this sighting James McCarthy ran to a nearby lodge and stated that he had found his father murdered in the woods.

The body of Charles McCarthy lay by the pool with the back of the head beaten in by a blunt, heavy object. James McCarthy’s right hand and sleeve were stained with blood and his gun was found a few paces from the body.

Holmes says that circumstantial evidence can point to very different conclusions depending upon the angle from which it is considered. Despite this Holmes agrees with Watson that the case against James McCarthy looks to be very strong. Miss Alice Turner believes that James is innocent and has retained Inspector Lestrade to work the case in the interests of the young man. Lestrade, being at a loss, has called in the great detective, Sherlock Holmes.

James McCarthy has firmly claimed to be innocent. In his statement the young man related that he was not following his father but met him by chance. They argued with one another and James left the scene. He claimed to have then heard a scream and rushed back to find that Charles McCarthy had been brutally attacked.

James then discarded his gun and held his father in his arms He stated that his father made some allusion to a rat which he presumed was a result of delirium before death. James also stated that he believed someone else was at the scene although he could not be more definite. When asked by the coroner what the substance of the quarrel between him and his father had been James refused to answer. The coroner warned James that this refusal would strongly prejudice the case against him but the young man still forbore making any explanation.

Holmes believes that James McCarthy’s statement may be true since if he was guilty he would be more likely to invent a reason for the quarrel and not make the strange comment about a dying reference to a rat. Holmes states his intention to approach the case with the hypothesis that McCarthy is innocent and see what results he gleans.

Holmes and Watson arrive in the town of Ross and make their way to The Hereford Arms Hotel in the company of Lestrade. They have not been there long when Miss Turner arrives and implores Holmes to approach the case knowing that James is innocent. Holmes astounds Lestrade by announcing that he does believe in the innocence of the young man.

Miss Turner says that the argument between father and son concerned Charles McCarthy’s insistence that there should be a marriage between her and James. Alice says that no one but Mr McCarthy was in favour of the union and that this caused frequent conflict between him and his son.

Holmes asks to interview Mr John Turner but is informed that the old man is in failing health and the recent events have completely broken him. James McCarthy was the only man to have known John Turner in Victoria, Australia, during the times he made his money at the gold mines.

Holmes and Lestrade interview James McCarthy and discover that the reason James argued against his father’s wishes for marriage with Miss Turner was that two years previously, when he was still very young, he had secretly married a barmaid much older than himself.

Although James loved Miss Turner with all his heart he could not marry her because he had a wife already and he could not explain matters to his father for fear of his reaction. This was the reason for their quarrel on the day of his father’s death. Since James’ arrest the barmaid wrote to inform him that she had a husband already so there was in fact no legal tie between them.

The next day Holmes and Watson learn that John Turner was very generous with Charles McCarthy even going so far as to give him his tenancy rent free.

Holmes makes an investigation of the crime scene and finds a stone which he informs Lestrade is the murder weapon. He also describes the boots, clothes and choice of cigar of the murderer. Lestrade receives this information very disdainfully and Holmes demurely informs the Inspector that he has wasted his chance to be credited with the solution of the mystery.

By studying a map of the colony of Victoria Holmes knows that there is an area in the colony called Ballarat. As McCarthy died he was giving the name of his killer and the place the man came from. James McCarthy only happened to catch the last few syllables his father uttered. The evidence now points to John Turner being the murderer and upon a summons from Holmes the old man arrives at the hotel.

John Turner realises that Holmes knows the truth and assures him that if James McCarthy was deemed to be guilty at the Assizes he would have confessed. Rather than have Turner arrested and condemned to spend his dying days in jail Holmes asks him to relate his story as he notes down the facts. Once signed by Turner Holmes can use the document as a confession to save James McCarthy if he cannot persuade the jury of his innocence.

Turner explains that in Australia he had been a highway robber and earned himself the name “Black Jack of Ballarat.” One day Turner and his gang attacked a gold convoy and robbed it. McCarthy was the driver and Turner spared his life. The surviving members of the gang came to England with their wealth and Turner split from them in order to settle down.

After some years McCarthy chanced upon Turner and blackmailed him with the knowledge of his previous, wild life. Turner was bound to answer all of McCarthy’s demands but stood firm in his opposition to marriage between Alice and James. It was this disagreement that was to be discussed at the three o’clock appointment on the day of Charles McCarthy’s death. Knowing that his own death was fast approaching and not wishing Alice to be shadowed by the influence of McCarthy Turner took his chance and killed him after James had walked away.

Holmes manages to get James McCarthy acquitted without using the confession. Watson rounds off his narrative by reporting that Alice Turner and James McCarthy are likely to marry and live in happy ignorance of the stormy past which brought them together. 

Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.

Leave It to Psmith (Psmith, #4 ; Blandings Castle, #2)Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Wodehouse is pure bliss. His writing style seems simple but it is not. Wodehouse is a genius and he painstakingly creates humor out of ordinary everyday situations. It is not slap stick, satire or comic. It is pure unadulterated humor. Reading Wodehouse is the best stress buster and anti-depressant. He doesn’t claim to very highly literary writing prowess. In his own words “I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going deep down into life and not caring a damn...”.

Wodehouse believed that one of the factors that made his stories humorous was his view of life, and he stated that "If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It's probably because you were born that way."

"For a humorous novel you've got to have a scenario, and you've got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible."

Bandings castle and its characters is one the best of his creations. All other charaters Jeevs, Ukridge, Bertram Wooster, Psimth, Mulliner, Clarence Threepwood, Sebastian Beach, Ashe Marson, Joan Valentine, J. Preston Peters, Aline Peters, Freddie Threepwood, Mrs. Twemlow, Mrs. Bell, Richard Jones, George Emerson, Lord Stockheath, Adams, Rupert J. Baxter, Thorne, George Threepwood, Ann Warblington, Merridew, James, Alfred, Mildred Mant, Horace Mant, Judson, Algernon Wooster, Bishop of Godalming, Billy, Muriel, Dr. Bird, Slingsby, Chester, Ferris, Miss Willoughby etc are highly likable.

I think there will not be a single person who cannot like Wodehouse.



View all my reviews