Category Archives: Detective

Inferno

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Inferno By Dan Brown (2013)

This is my first time reading Dan Brown’s book, although a few years I did watch the movie Da Vinci Code. His plot is much more complicated, with lots of twist, science and its not yet easy to guess the plot even coming three quarter of the book.

A billionaire geneticist named Bertrand Zobrist created a vector virus to alter about 1/3 of the earth’s population DNA to render them sterile. The virus attacked human fertility so as to control the world’s overpopulation issue and limited resources.

Robert Langdon, an American university professor was tasked to help to find the virus before it goes out of hand. However all was too late. In the end, it seem that several individuals agree that it may not be a bad thing after all.

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. This means “In dangerous times, there is no sin greater than inaction.”

 

 

 

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The Man in the Brown Suit

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maninbrownsuitIt has been sometime I read the book, then I write this blog post. Anne has some suspicion on Sir Eustace, when she wondered “where did he get all his money from? He’s so rich?”

Sometimes, there are tell-tale signs like extreme wealth etc, you can link the person to some shady dealings .

 

 

Three Act Tragedy

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Three Act Tragedy

threeactBy Agatha Christie

Its the start of the new year 2013, and I have the aim to read at least 5 books per month in the new year.

Three Act Tragedy is a rather interesting plot. Actually I should have guess the murderer from the start – Sir Charles Cartwright. Usually the flamboyant and most drama person is the killer, being an actor it is hard for Sir Charles Cartwright to hide.

However, it will be good if there are some laws that state if one’s spouse is serving a life sentence in some prison or confined in a lunatic asylum, then after a period of time, the person can choose to divorce the spouse to get married again.

I like some points about this book :

1) At age 55, it is the age that a man loses his head badly about a girl – even if he hasn’t done so before.

2) Hero worship is a real and terrible danger to the young.

3) Cherchez la femme. This is a French phrase for “look for the woman”. The implication is that a man behaves out of character or in an otherwise inexplicable manner because he is trying to cover up an affair with a woman, or trying to impress or gain favor with a woman.

From this phrase, Hercule Poirot the detective found the motive for the murder. He had seen Sir Charles Cartwright loved Mademoiselle Lytton Gore  – loved her with that terrible absorbing passion that comes to a middle-aged man and which is usually inspired by an innocent young girl.

You pretended to your friend, Mr Satterthwaitz, that you were the dense lover who cannot recognize his mistress’s answering passion. You pretended to think that Miss Lytton Gore was in love with Oliver Manders. But I say, Sir Charles, that you are a man of the world. You are a man with a great experience of women. You cannot have been deceived. You knew perfectly well that Miss Lytton Gore cared for you. Why, then, did you not marry her? You wanted to do so.

It must be that there was some obstacle. What could that obstacle be? It could only be the fact that you already had a wife. But nobody ever spoke of you as a married man. You passed always as a bachelor. The marriage, then had taken place when you were very young – before you became known as a rising young actor.

 

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Evil under the sun

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Evil under the sun

evilunderthesunBy Agatha Christie (1941)

I am surprised at the turn of the story by Agatha Christie. The story starts with Arlena Stuart who is very attractive with men and seduces them. One such man is Patrick Redfern, thus upsetting the wife Christine Redfern. Hence everyone else in the story points that such a woman is wicked being a gold-digger and man eater.

Later Arlena Stuart is found dead. The suspicion was on the husband,whom everyone will assume that jealousy caused him to murder her.

In the end, it was found that such a woman due to her behaviour, is a fool as she can be easily blackmailed, tricked and get cheated by others for her money. All these later result in her death. Hercule Poirot is being engaged to solve the mystery.

Poirot said gravely : “Will you allow me to tell you something, Madame? Something that is as true as the stars above us? The Arlena Stuarts – or Arlena Marshalls – of this world – do not count. ”

Christine Redfern said : “Nonsense”

“I assure you, it is true. Their Empire is of the moment and for the moment. To count – really and truly to count – a woman must have goodness or brains.” Christine said scornfully :” Do you think men care for goodness or brains?”

Poirot said gravely : “Fundamentally, yes.”

Poirot then advises Christine to be patient.

 

Poirot Investigates

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Poirot Investigates

By Agatha Christie (1924)

Agatha Christie writes this book many many years ago, but it is still so interesting and relevant as of today. This book tells of many short mysteries that the detective Poirot solves.

The Million Dollar Bond Robbery

Poirot is asked by the fiancée of Philip Ridgeway to prove his innocence. Ridgeway is the nephew of Mr Vavasour, the joint general manager of the London and Scottish Bank and a million dollars of bonds have gone missing whilst in his care. Poirot meets Ridgeway who gives him the facts of the case: He was entrusted by his uncle and the other general manager, Mr Shaw, of taking a million dollars of Liberty Bonds to New York to extend the bank’s credit line there. The packet disappeared just a few hours before the liner on which Ridgeway was travelling, the Olympia, docked in New York.

In many instances like this, the packet or documents have already been stolen before Ridgeway was on his way to bring the bonds to New York. And if you look at the characters involved and their finances, usually you can traced it back to the person who has some debts or gambling problems. Small details also reveal the person.

Poirot caught Mr Shaw by asking if he can smoke a cigar (a request which Mr. Shaw should have declined as he couldn’t stand smoke with his bronchitis problem). Hence he is the person who masterminded the entire theft act.

 

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The Lost Mine

Poirot and Hastings are discussing investments, that Hastings said that in the newspaper it is advertised that they can get 100% dividends next year from Porcupine oil fields. Poirot informs Hastings that he has no thing of that kind except for 14000 shares in Burma Mines Ltd which were given to him as a gift for the servies rendered.

A Chinese named Wu Ling travelled to England to sell information to a firm about the location of a potentiallly valuable old mine. Wu Ling was supposed to be met by one of the syndicate company directors, Mr Pearson but his train there was delayed with the result that Wu Ling made his own way to London where he booked into the Hotel Russell Square and telephoned the company to say that he would see them the next day. He failed to appear at the meeting and the hotel was contacted. They said Wu Ling had gone out earlier with a friend. He still failed to appear at the offices throughout the day. The police were contacted and the next evening the Chinaman’s body was found floating in the Thames.

Poirot quickly found the papers – Pearson had them. He had indeed met Wu Ling in Southampton (everyone had his word only that he had failed to meet the visitor) and taken him direct to Limehouse where Wu Ling was killed.

However, one of the opium dealers had already been put into the Hotel Russell Square to impersonate the man and, hearing of Lester’s invitation to visit the hotel from Wu Ling himself, Pearson set the young man up to take the blame for the murder. Lester did indeed enter the opium den and was drugged. Having only a hazy recollection and losing his nerve, he at first denied entering the den. Pearson’s insistence in taking Poirot to Limehouse was an elaborate charade to divert the detective’s suspicions but it had the opposite effect. Pearson was arrested.

Hence Poirot advised Hastings, strictly to the conservative. The things you read in the paper, they may not be true. The directors of the Porcupine – they may be so many Mr Pearsons!

 

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Sleeping Murder

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Sleeping Murder

By Agatha Christie (1976)

Despite her best efforts to modernise her new home, Gwenda soon finds herself caught up in the past. When odd things begin to happen, she develops an irrational sense of terror, leaving her unable to even climb the stairs without feeling petrified. Distraught, Gwenda turns to Jane Marple to exorcise her ghosts. Can they solve a ‘perfect’ crime committed many years ago?

This story talks about a brother’s mad love for his half sister. He adored his half sister, and that affection became possessive and unwholesome. Ms Maple said that this kind of thing happens oftener than you’d think. Fathers who don’t want their daughters to marry – or even to meet young men.

Ms Maple also said that it is dangerous to believe people.

This is not one of my favourite novel, its quite ordinary and not that engaging as compared to other Agatha Christie’s books.

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Crooked House

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Crooked House

By Agatha Christie (1949)

I never really quite understand why some writers’ and their books can remain in circulation after so many years of their death. After reading the book, I think it confirms the reason why Agatha Christie is one of the most remembered and well known mystery writer for many years. Her book is just so CLASSIC and there is so much style and depth. Crooked House also happens to be one of Agatha Christie’s favorite novel.

 

Three generations of the Leonides family live together in a large, if somewhat crooked looking, house. Then the wealthy patriarch, Aristide, is murdered.  Suspicion falls on the whole household, including Aristide’s two sons, his widow – fifty years his junior – and even his three grandchildren.

Charles asked his father “What are murderers like?”

His father said some murderers are nice people, these ordinary chaps have been overtaken, as it  were by murder, almost accidentally. They have been in a tight place, or they’ve wanted something very badly, money or a woman – and they’ve killed to get it. The brake that operates with most of us doesn’t operate with them. A child, you know, translates desire into action without compunction. A child is angry with its kitten, says “I’ll kill you,” and hits it on the head with a hammer and then breaks its heart because the kitten doesn’t come out alive. They get-very early to a stage when they know that it is wrong – that is the action will be punished. Later, they get to feel that it is wrong. But some people, remain morally immature. They continue to be aware that murder is wrong, but they do not feel it. I don’t think in my experience, that any murderer has really felt remorse. Murderers are set apart, they are “different” -murder is wrong – but not for them – for them it is necessary = the victim has “asked for it”, it was “the only way.”

 

Charles’s father give him some tips on how to pick out a murderer from a household of apparently normal and pleasant people.  The common denominator is vanity. It is a murderer’s vanity that leads to their undoing, nine times out of ten. They may be frightened of being caught, but they can’t help strutting and boasting and usually they’re sure they’ve been far too clever to be caught. And a murderer wants to talk. Having committed a murder puts one in a position of great loneliness. You’d like to tell somebody all about it – and you never can. And that makes you want to all the more. And so – if you can’t talk about how you did it, you can at least talk about the murder itself – discuss it, advance theories – go over it.

When I read to the ending and found out about the murderer, I was so touched by the aunt Edith de Haviland’s love for the family. It’s very touching how an old aunt loves all the family members and is willing to take things into her own hands.

 

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