#review Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne Investigates is a collection of short stories featuring the offbeat problem solver Parker Pyne.

 Blurb: The forlorn, the anxious and the puzzled have all beaten a path to Parker Pyne’s office where, armed with just an intuitive knowledge of human nature and a small retinue of talented employees, he turns their fantasies into reality – for a modest fee, payable in advance.

Here’s my take on the book, story by story.

The Case of the Middle-aged Wife: An entertaining read which offers a delightful and lateral view of romance and marriage.

The Case of the Discontented Soldier: Very imaginative with a twist at the end.

The Case of the Distressed Lady: Quite a good twist but not entirely unexpected.

The Case of the Discontented Husband: Left me laughing.

The Case of the City Clerk: Again a lateral view of life. 

The Case of the Rich Woman: More than a twist, this offers you a lens to look at life and happiness in a broader perspective.

Have You Got Everything You Want?: With this story, the direction of the book veers from human puzzles to the more gruesome world of crime. You remain curious till the end.

The Gate of Baghdad: The descriptions are vivid and the twist is believable.  

The House at Shiraz: Good twist but saw it coming.

The Pearl of Price: Entertaining read.

Death on the Nile: I found this the weakest of stories. The motive for the murder was not very satisfactory.

The Oracle at Delphi: Good twist at the end. Enjoyed reading.

All in all, a superb repertoire of mysteries which will keep you hooked to reading. The tone of the book changes midway and I felt it would have been better to have kept the funny stories separate from the crime ones, but still the book doesn’t disappoint at all. Another Christie entertainer.

#review #BathTangle by Georgette Heyer 

Bath Tangle is a historical romance by Georgette Heyer. It features two strong protagonists and a sort of double romance with two secondary characters which are much more likeable than the main characters.

​I really didn’t know how to rate this book. The beginning and the end are so much better than the middle.

First of all, I had a different impression of it than what the book turned out to be. I picked it up, thinking it would be something in the line of a light adventure, maybe similar to the Corinthian. The cover gives the impression of more liveliness than is present in the story. 

*Warning for spoilers ahead.*

The start gives us a different picture of the heroine than what we find as the book progresses. She doesn’t come across as headstrong and bad tempered in the beginning, but soon that image is dispelled. The book becomes dull for a few pages but perks up as the setting changes. 

Serena and Ivo are not very lovable or aspiring protagonists. The plus about the book is they had been depicted with all their faults without any excuses. However, continued clashes and battle of wills just makes the reader tired. The ending provided some insight and of course a lot of romance but I did wonder what sort of life they would have together if they can’t get along with each other. Moreover, they are unlikely to retain many friends either. A romance rather like Wuthering Heights, though a bit mellower.

Another thing I missed was that very little explanation was given for their past. Little or no account why they became engaged or why it failed. It would have helped to understand them better.

The reason I ended up giving four stars was that there was an uplifting feeling in reading Serena’s totally independent nature. She does become aspiring in the sense that she doesn’t care about anyone’s opinion and cuts herself no slack, so to speak. However, it is clear she can do as she pleases because of the license her position and social status gives her, so that takes away any feeling that she has faced any hardships to become what she is. Still it was good to read this sort of female character.

#Review The Courage to Love Her Army Doc by Karin Baine

The Courage to Love Her Army Doc by Karin Baine is a medical romance from Harlequin.

The heroine, Dr Emily Clifford is a dedicated medical professional who has been oversensitive about her birthmark all her life because of a bad parent. Her failed marriage makes her even more emotionally scarred. She seeks refuge at a beautiful Fijian island where she takes her medical skills but is surprised to find another doctor already there. Dr. Joe Braden has his own personal demons to fight.

One of the hallmarks of the book is that it is thoroughly researched. The medical and cultural backgrounds are firmly blended together to form a realistic picture. I liked the portion about dengue and what the author put in as dengue remedies because the disease and the remedies are quite prevalent in India and shows how much thought author has put in the research.

Emily is vulnerable yet strong. Damaged hero Jason is worth drooling over. Both are confused by their mutual attraction and even more complicating is when her brother comes to learn of it. The author has handled it sensitively. When they get stranded on the island, Jason’s determination yet uncertainty about saving them from storm makes him very human. Emily learns new strengths as the book progresses and how she overcomes her weak self image forms the crux of discovering romance.

All in all, a well written and tender romance.

#Review Writing a Book a week by Alex Foster

Writing a Book  a Week by Alex Foster is a kindle book available at Amazon. I came across it at Goodreads. Last time I checked it was available for free download at Amazon here.

Here’s my take on it.

​A well written book. Obviously the concept is somewhat far fetched. If you’re reading to find some miracle way to do what the author proposes, it’s far beyond the reach of an ordinary person, sandwiched between job, and other things. But for providing inspiration this book works wonders. If you’re lagging behind in your projects and lacking inspiration, this book will certainly set you back on the track.

Pick it up if you want some pep and zing back in your writing.

#review Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer 

I recently began to re-read These Old Shades which I remember quite well. I was soon engrossed in the book, but before I could read more than a few chapters, I got the chance to read the sequel Devil’s Cub. I was intrigued because I couldn’t remember my first reading of it at all and I began to read eagerly. I had given it five stars, so I was curious to know the story.

​Well, I finished reading it and I must say my second impression is somewhat different than the first one. For one thing, although I find the characters are very well etched and Georgette Heyer hasn’t hesitated from being true to the characters at the risk of alienating the reader and making the hero appear less than likeable, still it rankles that the hero’s character has little to none redeeming features. In fact…

 *warning spoilers* here

… you might almost say that apart from being in love with the heroine – a kind of possessive love – he doesn’t have much to recommend him. GH upholds the nobility of his birth and we’re supposed to understand that it excuses much of his excesses which also make him less boring, which in turn is a sin greater than even attempt to murder. *disclaimer * in case this appears as a negative review, I should assert I’m a fan, and enjoy GH romances very much. Maybe because this was a sequel, she didn’t have much room to play with.

Her style, wit and the flow of narrative is impeccable. Sadly, I found Leonie very silly in the book. She had no role at all. The part which the Duke of Avon played even more mitigated the relevance of putting her in the story. She comes across as a blindly devoted mother and when it’s a son as irredeemable as Vidal is, that doesn’t put her in a good light. There is no motivation for Vidal to be the way he is. If he had to face cruelty or neglect or even being over indulged…but well *shrugs* 

That this tale is an extremely readable and enjoyable one, no one will deny.

Review: Finding the Angel by Rubina Ramesh #TheBookClub

Finding the Angel is the debut full length romance by Rubina Ramesh and I must say the author has found her place. The story is rightly paced, neither too fast nor too slow. The hero, arrogant, attractive and damaged is bent upon retribution –  the stuff fantasy is made of (though you wouldn’t like them in real life) He’s a man with loose morals and little respect for the heroine. However, the heroine’s love transforms him. A mystical touch to the traditional heirloom makes it more meaningful. Enjoy a glimpse of Indian royalty and sinful luxury in this blow-hot-blow-cold love story.

Warning *spoilers* ahead!
While I enjoyed the way the author writes, I found a few niggles. For instance, I wish he had voiced that he trusted her before he hit upon the evidence. Also, the girl was reminiscent of old Mills and Boon heroine, as at times she didn’t utter a squeak against the hero’s riding roughshod into her life. She could have displayed more spunk, I think.

All in all, a palatial fantasy romance. Read it for the royal setting and well paced story.

#review 1857 Dust of Ages by Vandana Shanker #TheBookClub 

​1857 Dust of Ages is a slim book with a story woven around the events presaging the Mutiny of 1857. It describes the role of British in weakening the Indian royalty and establishing more than a foothold in administration. The book is well researched, the language is simple and the romance which forms the central role in the novella holds attention.

The book is written in a back and forth way switching between past and present. The mystery of the unlikely marriage is maintained and highlighted by the growing dissension between the aristocracy and the British command. The language is passive at times and events jump forward in a ploy to serve the mystery.

Since the book is slim, the story could easily have been written as a novel depicting the whole story. As it is, the ending is abrupt and jarring and leaves the reader wondering why it has been divided into multiple volumes. A clear disclaimer regarding the continuity would also help the readers.

Read it for an imaginative glimpse for colonial India but be prepared to read other volumes to get the whole story.

Find the book details in the book spotlight on this blog:

https://summeritarhayne.com/2017/03/03/spotlight-on-1857-dust-of-ages-by-vandana-shanker-thebookclub/