Tag Archives: agatha christie

BOOK REVIEW: SPIDER’S WEB … Agatha Christie

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Cover Page

Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

     Spider’s Web was written by none other, than the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.  It is a novelization by Charles Osborne of the 1954 play of the same name by crime fiction writer Agatha Christie and was first published in the UK by Harper Collins in September 2000 and by St. Martin’s Press in the US on November 11, 2000.

    The book was written, following, the successful novelizations and publication of the 1930 play Black Coffee in 1998, and the 1958 play titled The Unexpected Guest in 1999, of Agatha Christie. Like those books, the novelization of Spider’s Web is also, a straightforward transfer of the stage lines and directions of Christie’s script into a written narrative. This was done by Charles Osborne who chose not to add characters, lines or scenes that would alter in any substantial way, what had been presented on the stage, although, minor amendments were made to produce suitable chapter endings. Osborne contributed a section to the book, on the history of Christie’s plays. ‘Spider’s Web’ is a very intriguing work of Agatha Christie where one can say that her imagination is at her best. Now without beating around the bush let me take you through the plot of this particular novel.

    The story opens in a mansion where a few guests while partying are playing a very peculiar game—a kind of Blind man’s buff. One out of them is blindfolded. He is tasting wine and port from a few bottles, and is attempting to name the brand of the liquor. If he pronounces the correct name he wins the bet. The party is happening at Clarissa Hailsham-Brown’s home. Clarissa Hailsham-Brown is the wife of a foreign diplomat Henry Hailsham-Brown. There are three guests in the house. Clarissa’s godfather Sir Rowland … better known as “Roly” Delahaye, Hugo Birch and a young man named Jeremy Warrender. When Jeremy is given the opportunity of being alone with Clarissa, he confesses his love for her. But Clarissa, sticking to her values of being a faithful wife to Henry and a step mother to Pippa, rejects his proposal. Later when Pippa returns from school she indulges herself in exploring parts of the manor house with Jeremy and in the process she reveals a secret passage inside the house.

    After the brief party, Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy all the three guests proceed to the local golf club. Meanwhile, Clarissa is confronted by a visitor in the house. His name is Oliver Costello, who happens to be Pippa’s mother’s second husband as well as a drug addict. He confirms to Clarissa that in future Pippa will have to stay with her mother. Soon, he leaves the house and is escorted out by Miss Peake, the gardener of the manor house. A few minutes later Henry Hailsham-Brown arrives home and innocently reveals about the intended secret arrival of the Soviet Premier in London. He tells Clarissa he has to go and meet him at the local airport and will return later.

    The room empties out when Costello returns for some mysterious reasons and is seen sneaking around the living room. Clarissa soon discovers his body in the drawing-room. It is believed that Pippa has killed him with a golf club in desperation and dilemma. Clarissa gets nervous, she calls the golf club and requests the three guests to return. She devises a plan with the three returning guests (Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy) to dispose of the body. But unfortunately, before they can even dispose of the body, the police arrives and they say that they have had an anonymous phone call, suggesting that a murder has taken place at the house. When questioned, Clarissa and the guests all lie about the facts, hoping to cover up the murder that is thought to have been committed by Pippa. Clarissa on being asked to tell the truth, changes her story a number of times and gets herself entangled in a ‘spider’s web’. The police soon find that Costello’s body is missing. It was taken away by Miss Peake to an upper bedroom so that the police wouldn’t come across it while they searched the house, and interviewed the individuals.

    Later, when Jeremy is alone, in an attempt in pretending to comfort Pippa, he tries to smother her with a pillow, but stops short when Clarissa suddenly approaches him. Clarissa, who is shrewd, keen and acute at understanding things, discovers that it is Jeremy who had murdered Charles Sellon, an antique shop owner and the previous owner of the manor house in which she was staying as a tenant, because Charles Sellon had something valuable in his possession that was lying hidden somewhere in this house. The item which Jeremy has been looking for, is somewhere in the house and not at the antique shop. That was why Costello approached Clarissa, thinking that she was Mrs Brown, the owner of the manor house and the partner in his antique shop business.  It is then revealed that Miss Peake is actually Mrs Brown (Clarissa is Mrs Hailsham-Brown). Since Jeremy was on the same mission as Costello, Costello had to be eliminated. The item which the rogues had been looking for was an error postage stamp, which would have fetched a sum of £14,000 which was big money. Jeremy tries to kill Clarissa as she is the only one remaining, who knows about his secret. However, the police are eavesdropping on them and they finally arrest Jeremy. The three guests then leave for their respective homes and Henry too returns home. Clarissa learns that the Premier was not at the airport as part of a security set up, but is still expected to visit the house. The play closes as Clarissa and Henry get ready for the visit of the Premier.

    It is an extremely interesting novel. The language and sentences are Agatha Christies’ typical style that are most enjoyable to read and easy to understand. She conveys the intricacy of a murder mystery with so much easy. Her sentences are loaded with the choicest of words and precise action descriptions. She expresses each expression so diligently and each discussion so precisely. I would give the book seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

BOOK REVIEW: THE MURDER ON THE LINKS by Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Characters

  1. Hercule Poirot – The famous Belgian detective called in by the man who would be murdered.
  2. Captain Arthur Hastings – Poirot’s assistant on the case, accompanying him at his request, and the narrator of the story.
  3. Monsieur Giraud – Detective of the Paris Surete and the investigating officer. Considers Poirot to be his rival and resents his involvement in the investigation.
  4. Monsieur Hautet – Examining Magistrate, and Giruad’s assistant. More respectful of Poirot’s reputation, and thus more helpful to the Belgian detective.
  5. Paul Renauld/Georges Conneau – The victim of the case. Requested Poirot’s assistance for an unknown matter, prior to his murder. Involved in the Beroldy murder some 22 years ago, in which he was the killer, but escaped justice when caught.
  6. Eloise Renauld – Renauld’s wife, whom he met in South America. Helped her husband fake his kidnapping on the night of his death. Initially suspected of the murder by Poirot, until Eloise sees her husband’s body.
  7. Jack Renauld – Renauld’s son, born in South America, and raised both there and in France. Mistakenly suspected of murder by Giraud, due to an argument between him and his father. Formerly in love with Marthe, now in love with Bella.
  8. Madame Daubreuil/Madame Jeanne Beroldy – Renauld’s neighbour and blackmailer. Involved in plotting the murder of her husband 22 years ago, but escaped justice when exposed.
  9. Marthe Daubreuil – The killer. Madame Daubreuil’s daughter, who wants to marry Jack, but is unaware that he is in love with another woman.
  10. Gabriel Stonor – Renauld’s secretary. Absent at the time of the murder, and has no knowledge on his employer’s past.
  11. Bella Duveen – A stage performer, with whom Jack is in love, twin of Dulcie Duveen.
  12. Dulcie Duveen – A stage performer and Bella’s sister, who works under her stage name of “Cinderella” and the twin of Bella. She is the love interest of Hastings during the novel.
  13. Lucien Bex – Commissary of Police for Merlinville.
  14. Monsieur Marchaud – Police sergeant in Merlinville’s police.
  15. Dr Durand – Local doctor and police surgeon in Merlinville.
  16. Françoise Arrichet – An elderly servant of the Renauld’s household, one of three servants present at the Renauld’s house during the crime.
  17. Léonie Oulard – A young maid of the Renauld’s household, one of three servants present at the Renauld’s house during the crime.
  18. Denise Oulard – A maid of the Renaulds’ household and Léonie’s sister, and one of three servants present at the Renauld’s house during the crime.
  19. Auguste – Renaulds’ gardener. Absent from the house on the night of the murder.
  20. Joseph Aarons – A British theatrical agent.

    Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings travel to Merlinville-sur-Mer, France, to meet Paul Renauld, who has requested for their help. Upon arriving at his home, in the Villa Genevieve, local police greet them with news that Paul Renauld has been found dead that morning. Renauld had been stabbed on the back with a letter-opener and left in a newly dug grave adjacent to a local golf course. Renauld’s wife, Eloise Renauld, claims masked men broke into the villa at 2 am, tied her up, and took her husband away with them. Upon inspecting Paul Renauld’s body, Eloise collapses with grief at seeing her dead husband. Perhaps, she was not expecting this. Monsieur Giraud of the Sûreté leads the police investigation, and resents Poirot’s involvement in the case, where Monsieur Hautet, the Examining Magistrate, is more open to sharing key information with him.

    Poirot notes four key facts about the case: One, a piece of, lead piping, is found near the body. Two, only three female servants were in the villa, as both Renauld’s son Jack and his chauffeur had been sent away. Three, an unknown person visited the house the day before, whom Renauld urged to leave immediately. Four, Renauld’s immediate neighbour, Madame Daubreuil, had placed 200,000 francs into her bank account over recent weeks.

    When Renauld’s secretary, Gabriel Stonor, returns from England, he suggests blackmail, as his, employer’s past is a complete mystery prior to his career in South America.     Meanwhile, Hastings, Poirot’s number two, unexpectedly encounters a young woman he met before, known to him as “Cinderella”, who asks him to see the crime scene, and then mysteriously disappears with the murder weapon. Poirot later travels to Paris to research the case’s similarities to that of a murder case some 22 years ago, which has only one difference – the killer, Georges Conneau, later confessed to the crime, in which he and his lover, Madame Beroldy, had plotted to kill her husband and claim that the murder was carried out by masked intruders; and where, both disappeared soon afterwards.

    Returning from Paris, Poirot learns that the body of an unknown man has been found, stabbed through the heart with the murder weapon. An examination shows he has the hands of a tramp, that he died before Renauld’s murder from an epilectic fit, and that he was stabbed after death. Giraud the investigating officer arrests Jack Renauld on the basis that he wanted his father’s money. Jack admits to police that he had argued with his father over wishing to marry Madam Daubreuil’s daughter Marthe, whom his parents found unsuitable. Poirot reveals a flaw in Giraud’s theory, as Renauld had changed his will two weeks before his murder, disinheriting Jack. Soon afterwards, Jack is released from prison after Bella Duveen, an English stage performer he loves, confesses to the murder. Both had come across the body on the night of the murder, and assumed the other had killed Renauld. Poirot reveals neither did, as the real killer was Marthe Daubreuil.

    Poirot elaborates on his theory. Paul Renauld the victim was in fact Georges Conneau, while fleeing France, he changed his name in Canada to start a new life. After gaining a wife and a son, and making a fortune in South America, he returned to France to settle down with his new family. But by misfortune, he found that his immediate neighbour was Madam Beroldy, and like him, she too, had changed her identity to become Madam Daubreuil. Blackmailed by her, over his past, Renauld’s situation worsens when Jack his son gets attracted to her daughter. But when, a tramp dies on his grounds, he sees an opportunity to escape Madam Daubreuil. He uses the same ruse, as he had used before, while committing a murder, but with one difference. This time, he uses it to fake his own death. His plan was simple – staging his own kidnapping at night. He disfigures tramp’s body with a pipe, and then buries him as Paul Reynold beside the golf course, before fleeing the area by train. Anyone, who would recognise the body as not his, would be sent away, so as to assure that his wife Eloise will falsely identify the body as his. Poirot suspected Eloise’s involvement in the scheme, as her reaction, to her husband’s death, was not genuine until she saw his body.

    However, the plan was unfortunately discovered by Marthe, who overheard, the Renaulds, discussing it together. She for sure stood to gain financially if she married Jack Renauld, their son, but the success of this scheme would ruin her plans. So, she decides to follow Renauld and stabs him, after he digs the grave, for tramp’s body. To expose Marthe as the killer, Poirot asks Eloise to openly disinherit Jack Renauld. That night, Marthe attempts to kill Eloise when Jack leaves her alone in the villa, but dies trying, when Eloise is saved by Cinderella. Marthe’s mother disappears again. Jack and his mother plan to go to South America, joined by Hastings and Dulcie Duveen — who is his Cinderella and Bella’s twin sister.

    The plot is a little less scheming. I would give the book seven of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: DEATH ON THE NILE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Death on the Nile is a book of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 1 November 1937 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence and the US edition at $2.00. This full length novel was preceded (in 1937) by a short story with the same title, but with Parker Pyne as the detective. The details of the short story’s plot are substantially different, though the settings and some of the characters are very similar.

    The book features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. The action takes place in Egypt, mostly on Nile River.

    While on a holiday in Cairo, Hercule Poirot is approached by successful socialite Linnet Doyle. She requests for his help in deterring her friend Jacqueline de Bellefort from hounding and stalking her. Linnet had recently married Jacqueline’s fiancé, Simon Doyle, which has made Jacqueline bitterly resentful. Poirot refuses the request, but attempts unsuccessfully, to dissuade Jacqueline from pursuing her plans further. Simon and Linnet secretly board the steamer Karnak, set to tour along the Nile to escape her, but woefully discover, she had learnt of their plans and boarded Karnak ahead of them. Apart from them, Poirot too travels on the steamer, while the other passengers include Linnet’s maid Louise Bourget, her trustee Andrew Pennington, romance novelist Salome Otterbourne (a thinly-disguised portrayal of Elinor Glynn) and her daughter Rosalie, Tim Allerton and his mother Mrs. Allerton, American socialite Marie Van Schuyler, her cousin Cornelia Robson and her nurse Miss Bowers, outspoken communist Mr. Ferguson, Italian archaeologist Guido Richetti, solicitor Jim Fanthorp, and physician Dr. Bessner.

    While visiting an ancient temple, Linnet narrowly avoids being crushed by a falling rock. Jacqueline is initially suspected, but she is found to have been aboard the steamer at the time of the incident. During the return voyage, Poirot finds his friend Colonel Race has joined the steamer. He reveals to him that he is looking for a murderer among the passengers. Later that night in the steamer’s lounge, Jacqueline’s resentment of Linnet boils over, leading her to shoot Simon in the leg with a pistol she possesses. She is taken back to her cabin by those who witness this, where she is confined, while Simon is treated for his injury; in that time, Jacqueline’s pistol, which she dropped, disappears. The following morning, Linnet is found dead, having been shot in the head, while her valuable string of pearls disappears. But no one in the cabin on the opposite side heard or saw anything. Poirot notes two bottles of nail polish in the victim’s room, one of which intrigues him. Jacqueline’s pistol is later recovered from the Nile. It is found wrapped in a stole belonging to Miss Van Schuyler, which was stolen the previous day, and which has been fired through.

    While interviewing maid Louise in the cabin in which Simon is resting, Poirot notices an oddness in the words she uses. Soon afterwards, she is found stabbed in her cabin. Mrs. Otterbourne later meets Poirot and Race in Simon’s cabin, claiming she saw who killed the maid. Simon exclaims loudly his surprise at this. But before she can even reveal who it is, she is shot dead from outside the cabin. Poirot soon confronts Pennington over his attempted murder of Linnet at the temple—he came to Egypt upon learning of her marriage to Simon, to trick her into signing documents that would exonerate him of embezzling her inheritance. However, he did not murder Linnet on the steamer, despite his gun having been used in Mrs. Otterbourne’s murder. Colonel Race later arrests Richetti, the man he sought. Poirot recovers the missing pearls from Tim Allerton, who substituted an imitation string of pearls for the real ones. The imitation pearls were later stolen by Miss Van Schuyler, a kleptomaniac, and returned by Miss Bowers.

    When alone with Simon, Poirot reveals him to be his wife’s killer. The murder was not his plan, but Jacqueline’s; the pair were still lovers. Their scheme was to steal Linnet’s money – the pair staged their break-up, whereupon Simon married Linnet. On the night of the murder, Jacqueline deliberately missed Simon, who faked his injury with red ink. While everyone in the lounge was distracted by Jacqueline, he took her gun that she had deliberately discarded, went to Linnet’s cabin, and shot her. He then returned to the lounge and shot his own leg, to give himself a genuine injury. Louise and Mrs. Otterbourne were murdered by Jacqueline, who was warned by Simon when the plan was going awry – Louise witnessed Simon entering Linnet’s cabin that night, and gave him a coded message when Poirot was interviewing her. Mrs. Otterbourne witnessed Jacqueline entering Louise’s cabin before stabbing her.

    Poirot reveals what led him to his theory. It was the ink that was contained in a bottle of nail polish he noticed in Linnet’s cabin. Simon reloaded the gun with two spare cartridges before he disposed it off, as Poirot realized that three shots were fired that night. The stole was used to silence the gun when Simon shot his own leg. Poirot suspected pre-meditation for the murder, because he slept deeply through that night’s events – he had been drugged through his wine that evening. As the steamer arrives back in Cairo and the passengers disembark, Jacqueline shoots Simon and herself with another gun she possessed, so they may escape the gallows. When pressed, Poirot reveals he had known she had a second gun, but had sympathetically chosen to allow her to take her own life.

    It’s an excellent book. Written in simple language but to the point for a detective novel. I would give the book eight out of ten. Incidentally there is also a very interesting movie based on this book.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

INTERESTING FACTS & QUOTES–17

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Shoot the breeze—to have a casual conversation or to spend time talking about things that are not important.

Cut the cackle and come to the horses—to get down to business. Leave out the non-essentials and come to the part that matters. Agatha Christie was quite fond of this idiom and she has used it in some of her novels.

Not turn a hair—to remain unmoved or unaffected.

Shakespeare—arguably is the greatest wordsmith in the history of English language. Americans loved the Bard because they saw in him a pioneer: an inventive wordsmith who coined new words and expressions—some 1700 by one estimate.

Running the Parliament costs Rs 2.5 lakhs per minute or Rs 2 crore a day. MPs get Rs 2000 per day to attend Parliament. But does the country get the real worth out of the Parliament is the big question.

China has increased its investments enormously in the US in the last decade, employing 1,00,000 US workers compared to 10,000 in 2006.

Wang Jianlin is China’s richest man and the largest Chinese investor in the US.

A joint secretary in the Government of India is the administrative head of a department and has critical influence on its efficacy.

IPL ranks in the world’s top five sporting leagues.

A recent study by UNICEF on the economic impact of sanitation has estimated that in an open defecation free village, each family saves over Rs 50,000 per annum on account of avoided medical costs.

The ministry of law and justice has admitted that as of July last year, 24 high courts were functioning with only 615 out of the total sanctioned strength of 1079 judges. Where, center and state governments account for nearly 70% of cases in courts.

According to RBI data, total debit cards in India went up from 623.67 million (about 62 crore) in November 2015 to 867.35 million (about 87 crore) in September 2016 (a 39% jump, even if many people have multiple cards). Similarly, payments through pre-paid instruments like m-wallet or PPI cards went up from 62.66 million (more than 6 crore) in November 2015 to 97.07 million (that is more than 9 crores) in September 2016 (a jump of 54.9%).

There are 250-300 million or say 25-30 crore Indians with a smart phone.

The stark fact is that in a country of 1.2 billion people, we currently have only 2.50 lakh ATM machines.

I am told there is a magnificent archaeological site in western Africa—the vast ruins of Djenne in Mali. Apparently, this was a city of over 1,00,000 people one thousand years ago—a world class metropolis in the first millennium. A visitor to the site observed: “Its art was stunning. Its architecture reflected a complex society … what struck me the most, however, was the fact that it had been completely ignored by western archaeologists for decades, because they found no evidence of military constructions! The Djenne civilisation did not find its strength through military conquest or intimidation of its people, but through cooperation. It was a great city built not on fear, but friendship.

Stubble burning: Labour has become expensive, therefore mechanical harvesting is done for big fields. But the machine for harvesting leaves 25% of the stem during the harvest. This again, has to be cut, by another machine. So, burning the crop residue is easier and that is called stubble burning. There is an imposition of a maximum fine of Rs 15,000 for stubble burning for farmers.

India occupies 2.4% of the world’s land area and supports over 17.5% of the world’s population. India has more arable land area than any other country except for the United States, and more water area than any other country except Canada and the United States. Indian life therefore revolves mostly around agriculture and allied activities in small villages, where the overwhelming majority of the population live.

As per the 2001 census, 72.2% of the Indian population lives in about 638,000 villages and the remaining 27.8% lives in more than 5,100 towns and over 380 urban agglomerations.

In 1901 the world population was 1.6 billion. By 1960, it became 3 billion, and by 1987, 5 billion and in 1999, 6 billion. Currently, one billion people are added every 12 – 13 years.

When we see the population growth in India we find the population of the country was 27.13 crore in the year 1900, from where it decreased to 26.31 crore in 1925 which sounds impossible and then from there it increased to 35.04 crore in 1950 and 36.23 crore in 1951. From here onwards the population growth took exponential proportions of growth to 43.88 crore in 1961, 54.79 crore in 1971, 68.52 crore in 1981, 84.39 crore in 1991, and 102.70 crore in 2001.

With over 1 billion people, India is currently the World’s second largest populated Country. India crossed one billion mark in the year 2000 that is one year after the World’s population crossed the six billion threshold. It is expected that India’s population will surpass the population of China by 2030 when it would have more than 153 crore of population while China would be number two with a population of 146 crore.

Since 1947, the population of India has more than tripled which has resulted in increasingly impoverished and sub-standard conditions in the growing segments of the Indian population.  In 2007, India ranked 126th on the United Nation’s Human Development Index, which takes into account social, health, and educational conditions in a country.

Britian is already the largest investor in India among the G20 countries and India invests more in the UK than in any other country.

Gotra—is the male bloodline that links Hindus with a range of ancient sages.

The value of rupee has changed from Rs 17.50 per dollar in 1990 to Rs 74 per dollar today.

Interesting quotes and lines:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do”—Steve Jobs.

Alexander the great might just be right. “I’m not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I’m afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask”—Victor Hugo.

“To error is human; to forgive divine”—Alexander Pope, English poet.

  “The first   requisite of civilisation is that of justice”—Sigmund Freud.

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”—Greek philosopher, Epictetus.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER VIDEO: The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: THE MOUSE TRAP by Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

MOUSETRAP 

By Agatha Christie

    The play began as a short radio broadcast on 30th May 1947 called the ‘The Three Blind Mice’ in honour of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.

    Further it was premiered in London on 25th November, 1952. Over the last sixty six years four hundred and fifty actors including some famous ones such as Sir Richard Attenborough, Stephanie Cole and Ray Cooney and some two hundred and sixty understudies have appeared in more than twenty seven thousand performances of this London production of whodunit. The play has also received three entries in the Guinness Book of World Records and has been presented in over 50 countries.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

  • Maureen Lyon—Person murdered
  • Mollie and Giles Ralston—The owners of the guest house
  • Christopher Wren, Mrs Boyle, Major Metcalf, Miss Casewell are the four guests. In fact they are the first lot of guests coming to stay in the guest house (name—Monkswell Manor) after its inauguration.
  • Paravicini—the unexpected guest
  • Hogbeen—Superintendent of the Berkshire Police station
  • Trotter–Sergeant

SYNOPSIS

    Mollie and Giles Ralston are inaugurating their guesthouse—Monkswell Manor. Where their first guests have arrived. They are new in the business, and so, struggle with the intricacies. To make things worse there is an unusually heavy snowstorm. They hear on the radio that one Mrs. Maureen Lyon has been murdered in London. The suspect is wearing a dark overcoat, light scarf, and soft felt hat. Giles is wearing a similar outerwear, as are many of the guests.

    After all the guests have settled in, Mollie receives a phone call from the police station. She is informed that one Sergeant Trotter will be coming to the Manor and everyone must fully cooperate with him with regard to the murder investigation. The Sergeant arrives on skis. He informs everyone that a notebook was found at the London crime scene, listing the address at which the murder occurred and also that of Monkswell Manor, implying that the guesthouse could be the site of a second murder.

    Soon after his arrival, the phone lines go dead. Now all are stranded at the guesthouse in the snowstorm. Sergeant Trotter informs the group that the rhyme “Three Blind Mice” was written below the addresses, and a picture of three little mice and a bar of music were found on the dead woman’s body.

    Further, the murdered woman was the wife of a farmer named Stanning. They resided in Longridge Farm, which is not far from the Monkswell Manor. The Stannings, allegedly neglected and abused the children who were in their care. Because of which one child even died; luckily his two siblings survived. The Stannings were sentenced to prison.

    Mr. Stanning died in prison. But Mrs. Stanning served her time, and was released later. She subsequently changed her name to Maureen Lyon—the person who was murdered and was found dead in London. Sergeant Trotter theorizes that the killer is one of the children, most probably the boy since he later served in the army and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic.

    The Sergeant informs the group that any of them could be the next victim. He interrogates them to see if they have any connection with the Stannings or the abused children. But all deny any connections. Mollie later points out, that Mrs. Doyle was the magistrate responsible for sending the three children to Longridge Farm. Later that night while the residents are settled throughout the manor, Mrs. Doyle is found strangled.

    For the remaining period of the play, the residents of the Manor, including Mollie and Giles, suspect each other. Accusatory clues draw attention to characters acting suspiciously. Sergeant Trotter asks the residents to reconstruct Mrs. Boyle’s murder, acting out the actions of each guest while switching roles so as to test the accuracy of their memories. The Sergeant plays Mrs. Boyle.

    When everyone is in position. He calls for Mollie to come into the parlor. It is then Trotter reveals that he is Georgie. The surviving boy who was abused by the Stannings. Further, he claims that Mollie was his teacher and that he had sent her a note asking for help which she ignored. Mollie confesses that she was his teacher, but was sick when the note was sent and did not receive it until after the children had left the Stanning’s care. She has lived with the guilt ever since.

    Georgie attempts to strangle Mollie, but is thwarted by Miss Casewell and Major Metcalf. Miss Casewell confesses that she is Katherine, Georgie’s grown sister. She calmly coaxes Georgie upstairs and gives him a sedative to calm him until the police arrive.

    Major Metcalf reveals that he is an undercover policeman who has played the role of a guest. He had suspected Trotter all along, but needed proof. The play ends with Mollie and Giles exchanging anniversary presents as the work of their guesthouse continues.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: THE UNEXPECTED GUEST … by Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE UNEXPECTED GUEST

by Agatha Christie

Novelisation by Charles Osborne

    ‘The Unexpected Guest’ is a novelisation by Charles Osborne of the 1958 play by the same name written by the queen of crime fiction, Agatha Christie. This novelisation was first published in the UK by Harper Collins on 6th September 1999, and in US by St. Martin’s Press on 1st October 1999.

    Just like the play. The novelisation is a straightforward transfer of the stage lines and directions of Christie’s script into a smooth written narrative. Charles Osborne chose not to add characters, lines or even scenes which would alter in any substantial way what had been presented on the stage some forty-one years ago. Although minor amendments were made to produce suitable chapter endings or beginning of chapters.

    Hindi film ‘Dhund’ of 1973, produced and directed by B R Chopra with a powerful caste of Navin Nischol, Sanjay Khan, Zeenat Aman, Danny Denzongpa, Devan Verma, Madan Puri was based on this play of Agatha Christie.

    Now let us come to storyline. South Wales, close to Bristol Channel forms the backdrop of this novel. And before I take you through the plot let me give you an overview of the main characters.

  1. Richard Warwick—Is the deceased who was shot. The murder mystery moves around this character. He is crippled post an accident.
  2. Laura Warwick—wife of deceased Richard Warwick. Confesses to the murder of her husband Richard in the beginning.
  3. Michael Starkweddar—Is the stranger whose car lands in a ditch and stalls in the foggy night around the hilly track.
  4. Julian Farrar—A local politician and Richard Warwick’s friend, suspected of having an affair with Laura.
  5. Miss Bennet in short Benny—A combined housekeeper and a secretary.
  6. Angell—The male nurse attendant of Richard Warwick.
  7. Jan Warwick—Richard Warwick’s young half brother.
  8. Warburton—A nurse.
  9. Macgregor—Father of the child who was run over by Richard Warwick some years ago.
  10. Sergeant Cadwallader—From the police department but extremely poetic in nature. Looks for poetry in everything.
  11. Inspector Thomas—Cop who investigates the case.
  12. Mrs Warwick—Mother of Richard Warwick

   

    On a foggy night, while driving around the hills a man by the name of Michael Starkweddar drives his car into a ditch near an isolated house. Choiceless, he enters a house which is close by and finds the body of a dead man slumped in a chair. A woman stands over the corpse, with gun in hand, and confesses to the murder. She gives her name as Laura Warwick, the wife of the dead man. She goes on to explain that he was always drunk, abusive and mad after shooting.

    Michael decides not to turn her to the police. The two decide to come up with a cover-up story to protect Laura. In the end they settle on an enemy from the past by the name of Macgregor whose son was run-over by Richard Warwick several years ago. And who is now the man murdered.

    They slip a paper into Richard’s pocket with the date of the accident saying, ‘paid in full.’ Then they stage a murder, so that it appears to have been recent, alerting the residents of the building.

    The police are soon alerted. They begin investigation. When it is revealed that Macgregor is dead and then suspicions start running wild.

    Meanwhile Michael discovers that Laura is having an affair with another man by the name of Julian Farrar who happens to be an adjacent neighbour, and, also, a local politician. There is a conversation in the book that stretches a couple of pages where Laura questions Julian if he had killed Richard and where Julian insinuates at Laura that even if you have killed Richard he will take the blame. So, both in a way blame each other. Michael however believes Laura to be guilty.

    Finally, it is revealed that Michael only is Macgregor and that he come to avenge his son.

    He shouts this to Laura along with the fact that he cares for her and jumps through the window, running away.

    The book is less than two hundred pages. The language is plain English so you don’t require a dictionary every now and then.

    I would give the book eight out of ten.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

   

A SHORT POINT ABOUT AGATHA CHRISTIE

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A SHORT POINT ABOUT AGATHA CHRISTIE

    Agatha Christie is known throughout the world as the queen of crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in hundred foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all times and in many languages. She is outsold only by Bible and William Shakespeare. But do you know why?

    Because she wrote about crime which is a popular topic and concerns everyone. I can’t think of a place or a country where crime is not committed. I can’t think of an era when crime was not committed. A crime free world will only remain a dream.

    I’m not trying to take away her writing genius. All I’m trying to say is that even the topic she chose–‘crime’ accentuated her success. We all can take a lesson from the all time great Agatha Christie and that is to write about things that touches the chord of the masses and try an excel in that.

    She is the author of eighty crime novels and short story collections, nineteen plays, six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott.

    Agatha Christie’s first novel—‘The mysterious affair at styles’ was written towards the end of the first world war. And in this novel she created ‘Hercule Poirot.’ The little Belgian detective who was destined to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes.

***

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: And Then There Were None–Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read Initiative—

Title: ‘And then there were none’

(Also published as—‘Ten Little Indians’)

Agatha Christie

St Martin’s paperback

A 275 page novel abridged to around eighteen hundred words (ten minutes) for your quick assimilation

Hindi movie ‘Gumnam’ was only an adaptation of this book. So, were the movies made in Hollywood on the theme of this novel.

    I’m sure many of you must have read this amazing novel sometime in the past. Well, I read it for the third time only recently. What an amazing book it is. A master suspense and a masterpiece, and the most difficult of her books to write confessed the lady author. It was first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song that serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until 1939. Its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled as ‘And Then There Were None.’

    The narration is so precise and intricate that you tend to forget after a while. And when you read it again you get a feel as if you’ve not read it earlier. It is Christie’s best-selling novel with more than 100 million copies sold. It is also the world’s best-selling mystery and one of the best-selling books of all times. Publications international lists the novel as the seventh best-selling title. So, if you’ve not had the chance or time to read this book earlier  at least go through the synopsis below.   

CENTRAL IDEA

    The novel starts with a bunch of people being lured into coming to an island under various pretexts such as offers of employment, to enjoy a late summer holiday, or even to meet old friends. And mind you. All have been complicit in the deaths of some other human beings. But have either escaped justice or committed an act that was not legal. The guests and the two servants who are present there are ‘charged’ with their respective ‘crimes’ by a gramophone recording after dinner on the first night and informed that they have been brought to the island to pay for their sins.

    They are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather. Gradually all the ten are killed, one after the other. Each, in a manner, that seems to match, the nursery rhyme. Nobody else seems to be left alive on the island by the time of the last apparent death. A confession in the form of a postscript to the novel, unveils how the killings took place and who was responsible.

PLOT

    On a hot day in early August, sometime in the late 1930s, eight people arrive on a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England. Each appears to have an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances. Such as, an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday invitation. Where, they are received by Thomas and Ethel Rogers. The butler and the cook-cum-housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs Una Nancy Owen, whom they have not yet met in person have not arrived. But have left instructions, which strikes, as odd to all the guests.

    A framed copy of a nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Niggers (called ‘Ten Little Indians’ or Ten Little Soldiers in later editions), hangs in every guest’s room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table. After supper, a gramophone record is played. It contains a recording that describes each visitor in turn. And accuses each of having committed a murder but escaping justice, and then asks if any of the ‘accused’ wishes to offer a defence. All but Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard deny the charges, and Miss Brent even refuses to discuss the matter.

    They discover that none of them actually know Owens and conclude that the name ‘U.N. Owen’ is shorthand for ‘Unknown’. In the aftermath of the recording, Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies of from cyanide poisoning. The remaining guests notice that one of the ten figurines is now broken, and the nursery rhyme appears to reflect the manner of death (‘One choked his little self and then there were nine.’)

    The next morning, Mrs Rogers’ corpse is found in her bed. She had died in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is also found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Two more figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme. Miss Brent, who had refused to speak with the men present, relates the account of the gramophone charge against her to Vera Claythorne, who later tells the others.

     A search for ‘Mr Owen’ shows that nobody else is on the island except the remaining seven. The island is a ‘bare rock’ with no hiding places (see how Christie had planned the story) and no one could have arrived or left. Thus they uncomfortably conclude that any one of the seven remaining person is indeed the killer. Justice Wargrave leads the group in determining that as of yet, none of them can definitively be ruled out as the murderer. The next morning, Rogers is found dead while chopping wood, and after breakfast, Miss Brent is found dead in the kitchen, where she had been left alone after complaining of feeling unwell. She had been injected with potassium cyanide with a hypodermic needle.

    Wargrave then suggests searching of all the rooms, and locking up of any potentially dangerous items. Suddenly, Lombard’s gun goes missing from his room. When Vera goes upstairs to take a bath, she is shocked by the smell of seaweed left hanging from the ceiling of her room and screams. The remaining guests rush upstairs to her room. Wargrave, however, is still downstairs. The others find him seated, immobile and crudely dressed up in the attire of a judge. Wargrave is examined briefly by Dr Armstrong and pronounced dead from a gunshot to the forehead.

    That night, Lombard appears surprised when he finds his gun returned to his room. Blore catches a glimpse of someone leaving the house but loses the trail. He then discovers Armstrong is absent from his room, and the remaining three guests conclude that Armstrong must be the killer. Vera, Blore and Lombard decide to stay together at all times. In the morning, they unsuccessfully attempt to signal SOS to the mainland from outside by using a mirror and sunlight. Blore then decides to return to the house for food by himself—the others are not hungry—and is killed by a heavy bear-shaped clock statue that is pushed from Vera’s window sill, crushing his skull.

    Vera and Lombard are now confident that Armstrong is the killer. However, shortly afterwards, the duo come upon Armstrong’s body washed up on the beach, which they do not immediately recognise due to decomposition. They realise that Armstrong could not have killed Blore. Panicked, each concludes the other must be the killer, overlooking that neither had the opportunity as they were together on the beach and when they found Blore’s body. Quickly regaining her composure, Vera suggests moving the doctor’s body past the shore, but this is a pretext. She manages to lift Lombard’s gun. When Lombard lunges at her to get it back, she shoots him dead.

    She returns to the house in a shaken dreamlike state, relieved to be alive. She finds a noose and chair arranged in her room, and a strong smell of the sea. With visions of her former lover, Hugo, urging her on, in a post-traumatic state, she adjusts the noose and kicks the chair out from under her.

    Two Scotland Yard officials are puzzled by the identity of U. N. Owen. Although they can ostensibly reconstruct the deaths from Marston to Wargrave with the help of the victims’ diaries and a coroner’s careful report, they are forced to conclude that ‘U. N. Owen’ was one of the victims, but are unable to determine which one. They note that the chair on which Vera stood to hang herself had been set back upright, indicating that someone—presumably the killer—was still alive on the island after her suicide.

POSTSCRIPT FROM THE KILLER

    In a postscript, a fishing ship picks up a bottle inside its trawling nets. The bottle contains a written confession of the killings, which is then sent to Scotland Yard. It is not clear how long after the killings the bottle was discovered.

    In the confession, Justice Wargrave writes that he has long wished to set an unsolvable puzzle of murder, but is morally limited to victims who are themselves guilty and deserving of such an end. He explains how he tricked the gullible Dr. Armstrong into helping him fake his own death under the pretext that it would supposedly give him the freedom to help the group identify the killer, and also explains that after Vera died, he replaced the chair in her room neatly against the wall. Finally, he reveals how he used the gun and some elastic to ensure his own death matched the account in the guests’ diaries. Although he wished to create an unsolvable mystery, he acknowledges in the missive a “pitiful human” need for recognition, hence the confession.

He also describes how his first chronological victim was actually Isaac Morris, the sleazy lawyer and drugs trafficker who anonymously purchased the island and arranged the invitations on his behalf. Morris was poisoned before Wargrave departed for the island. Wargrave’s intention is that when the police arrive they will find ten bodies, with evidence that someone had been alive after each death, but nobody else on the island, and no way to trace the killer through his invitations or preparations. He states that, although there are three clues that could guide the police to the correct killer, he is confident they will be unable to do so and that the mystery will remain unsolved until the confession is retrieved.

Current published version of the rhyme

Ten Little Indians

Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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