The Hollow by Agatha Christie – Book Review

This is an absolutely superb book. Agatha does it again.

A country house weekend where the highlight was going to be Sunday lunch with Hercule Poirot who was staying nearby. The Angkatells own The Hollow and invite assorted guests and family members for the weekend. In the hands of Agatha Christie, you know someone isn’t going to make it to Monday morning.

For me, there were two mysteries.

The first was – who was going to be murdered? The death doesn’t occur until Page 101 (in my version) and so there was a debate going on in my mind as to who was going to be the victim. I thought I knew and I was right, because this was the character most featured in the introduction.

Then there’s the murder scene when Poirot arrives. He thinks it’s been staged for his benefit and he’s half right, but then he realises he’s not been considered and that it’s a coincidence that the highly staged murdered scene is in front of him as he arrives.

As to who did it – well I couldn’t decide between three of the characters and it turned out not to be any of those three, so I was wrong about that.

The characters are without exception interesting, have quirky characteristics, and also ‘know’ more than they let on. There are family secrets aplenty. This book is recommended.

The Hollow by Agatha Christie – Book Review

This is an absolutely superb book. Agatha does it again.

A country house weekend where the highlight was going to be Sunday lunch with Hercule Poirot who was staying nearby. The Angkatells own The Hollow and invite assorted guests and family members for the weekend. In the hands of Agatha Christie, you know someone isn’t going to make it to Monday morning.

For me, there were two mysteries.

The first was – who was going to be murdered? The death doesn’t occur until Page 101 (in my version) and so there was a debate going on in my mind as to who was going to be the victim. I thought I knew and I was right, because this was the character most featured in the introduction.

Then there’s the murder scene when Poirot arrives. He thinks it’s been staged for his benefit and he’s half right, but then he realises he’s not been considered and that it’s a coincidence that the highly staged murdered scene is in front of him as he arrives.

As to who did it – well I couldn’t decide between three of the characters and it turned out not to be any of those three, so I was wrong about that.

The characters are without exception interesting, have quirky characteristics, and also ‘know’ more than they let on. There are family secrets aplenty. This book is recommended.

Book Review – Mr Stone and the Knights Companion

This is a thin book by VS Naipaul that is slightly difficult to read as it contains a lot of self-contemplation by Mr Stone on how he’s reacting to the presence of other characters. Rather than showing us, the author tells us, often in turgid details so it’s like wading through a small bog, you can get through it but it’s an effort. This seems to be a feature of certain writers such as Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, and now VS Naipaul.

At the age of 62 Mr Stone is a confirmed bachelor and enjoying life. Then he meets a recent widow and decides he wants to wed her. They call each other ‘Doggie’ as a term of affection, a way of accessing each other’s loving feelings if they’ve had a falling out. This marriage seems to change Mr Stone and he conceives an idea ‘the Knights Companion’ for his company and puts the plan into action with the help of a man called Whymper who ends up trying to take the credit and getting the daughter of Mr Stone’s sister in the family way.

I’m glad I read the book, but I’m not sure I’ll read any other books by VS Naipaul, even though he did win the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Book Review – Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Basically, this is a good story for all ages written by Salman Rushdie.

Rashid, the Shah of Blah, is a storyteller who has a 12-year old son called Haroun. The Shah of Blah loses his wife to a neighbour and his gift to tell stories. Haroun decides to restore his father’s gift of the gab and this book is the tale of what Rashid and Haroun do to bring this about. Someone is polluting the Sea of Stories and this has to be stopped.

Do you think this will happen, dear reader?

Along the way, Haroun and Rashid meet memorable characters, similar to those seen in a good pantomime, all of whom have amusing verbal tics. Step forward Butt the Hoopoe, Mali a floating gardener, and Iff the Water Genie. There are the bad guys too, the Chupwalas and their leader Khattam-Shud.

This is an amusing, clever, and smartly imaginative book, perhaps with a touch of smugness which means it doesn’t get 5 stars from me. This book is still recommended though.

Book Review – Mr Stone and the Knights Companion

This is a thin book by VS Naipaul that is slightly difficult to read as it contains a lot of self-contemplation by Mr Stone on how he’s reacting to the presence of other characters. Rather than showing us, the author tells us, often in turgid details so it’s like wading through a small bog, you can get through it but it’s an effort. This seems to be a feature of certain writers such as Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, and now VS Naipaul.

At the age of 62 Mr Stone is a confirmed bachelor and enjoying life. Then he meets a recent widow and decides he wants to wed her. They call each other ‘Doggie’ as a term of affection, a way of accessing each other’s loving feelings if they’ve had a falling out. This marriage seems to change Mr Stone and he conceives an idea ‘the Knights Companion’ for his company and puts the plan into action with the help of a man called Whymper who ends up trying to take the credit and getting the daughter of Mr Stone’s sister in the family way.

I’m glad I read the book, but I’m not sure I’ll read any other books by VS Naipaul, even though he did win the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Book Review – Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Basically, this is a good story for all ages written by Salman Rushdie.

Rashid, the Shah of Blah, is a storyteller who has a 12-year old son called Haroun. The Shah of Blah loses his wife to a neighbour and his gift to tell stories. Haroun decides to restore his father’s gift of the gab and this book is the tale of what Rashid and Haroun do to bring this about. Someone is polluting the Sea of Stories and this has to be stopped.

Do you think this will happen, dear reader?

Along the way, Haroun and Rashid meet memorable characters, similar to those seen in a good pantomime, all of whom have amusing verbal tics. Step forward Butt the Hoopoe, Mali a floating gardener, and Iff the Water Genie. There are the bad guys too, the Chupwalas and their leader Khattam-Shud.

This is an amusing, clever, and smartly imaginative book, perhaps with a touch of smugness which means it doesn’t get 5 stars from me. This book is still recommended though.

Book Review – Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

The City Watch books are all brilliant and this one is probably the best of the three I’ve read so far. It’s genuinely funny and all the wonderful characters are ones to treasure. Lord Vetinari (The Patrician – the top person in Ankh-Morpork) and Sir Samuel Vimes (Head of the City Watch) don’t get along but tolerate each other. Vetinari knows Vimes loves walking around the city feeling the stones beneath his feet, but gives him a Sedan Chair as a present – it’s that kind of relationship.

Two of the officers of the City Watch, Carrot and Angua, complement each other wonderfully. Angua is always conscious of who she really is or what she really is and can’t believe how honest and sincere Carrot is, and that he seems to know everything about everybody and treats them all the same. Carrot admires Angua even though he knows what she is really like in her nature.

Without giving anything away, this book contains golems galore, a vampire Dragon King of Arms ah-ha, and a superb character called Wee Mad Arthur who deserves a book of his own. Wee Mad Arthur is a rat catcher who helps members of the watch at just the right time. There’s also Corporal Cheery / Cheri Littlebottom who gradually discovers her feminine side as the book progresses.

Two people are murdered at the beginning of the book and Lord Vetinari is poisoned though not fatally. These two whodunit themes intertwine throughout the book, making it a murder / mystery story as well as an imaginatively humourous book and a voyage of discovery for some of the characters and for the reader. Highly recommended. Reading ‘Guards! Guards!’ and ‘Men At Arms’ first would be a great introduction to this book.

This book is as good as Truckers which for me says it all – it was a shame it had to end.