Agatha Christie – A lesson in life

Strip away the impressions, the opinions, the color, the language barriers and you will be left with the pure beating heart of cold facts.

If it’s one thing I’ve learnt from Agatha Christie, from Hercule Poirot, from any good detective story; this is the way to live life. Get as many versions of the same story as you can, and the truth will always reveal itself. You will, of course, have to do the main job of “cleaning the data” so to speak. Sifting through the bullshit people aim at you, in the hopes of convincing you of their version. DON’T FALL FOR IT!

Collect all versions of the truth and then glean what you will from it. That is what I have learnt. I am currently in a research class and one of our instructors spent an hour and a half trying to drill the same fact into my head, and I told him, “Hey! Don’t preach to the converted!”. I don’t know how or when I learnt this lesson. Maybe it was from all my reading of Agatha Christie. I think it is also one reason I don’t take anything people tell me at face value. I know there is always going to be a catch. Another side to the story that I am not being told. Or even a different side to the same coin. People’s opinions are colored by who they are and what they think of themselves. “Self concept” so to speak. I am realizing this about myself too.

Get as many opinions and impressions and versions and editions and stories. It’ll make it easy to strip away the prejudices, the biases and be left with only the truth.

It scares me sometimes; not knowing who I am. The way people see me, perceive me. I live in a bubble in my head. My boyfriend tells me I think too much. This is probably true but is it such a bad thing? I know I have tunnel-vision when it comes to a lot of things. I assume too much most of the time too. I am trying to change that about myself. Or at least trying to control it. I wish I could see myself from the perspective of those who really do care about me. At least for their sake, I would want to become a better person.

And diff ’ring judgements serve but to declare, That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where. -William Cowper, Hope

Anyways, I digress. This book really did remind me of this theme I have been rattling about for so long. The book is beautiful. The cover, more so. I think it is one of my favorites from Christie. The story illustrates that people’s version of events might be incredibly skewed because of their own perceptions and opinions. However, if you really want to, you can find the truth of something if you try really hard. The hard part is sifting through the non-sense and coming out with the nugget of gold that you will polish into the truth; fitting the puzzle pieces so that they make sense and form a whole picture, instead of badly told stories.

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Oh, how I love this book! Just look at the cover!

Now that the movie is about to come out, I AM PSYCHED! And the cast is stellar too! I could gush about it for another two hours, however, this post is supposed to be about the book.

I’ve read this book about 4 times over the years. Now, the thing with the sheer number of Agatha Christie’s book, I read a lot of her books and promptly forget about them. I think this is a great thing. This means that I can return to these books and enjoy them again and again.

There’s something about Agatha Christie books that are synonymous with coziness. They just make you want to curl up on an armchair with a blanket, some hot chocolate and some dusty Cheetos puffs, stuffing you face with crumbs all over but who cares!? YOU’RE READING AGATHA CHRISTIE! They’re an easy read, and they’re so interesting, and you know no one you really care about it going to die. It’s awesome!

This is true for the Murder on the Orient Express as well. This book is not like the usual run-of-the-mill Agatha Christie, however. It’s not what you would expect. You cannot solve this by being smart and looking through the diversion techniques. It is spectacular. I won’t talk about it much, since the movie is going to come out. You should watch it or read it yourself!

Jack Glass – Adam Roberts

It was a good book. Even better than a good book. Most books divided that are into different parts have two plots. One is the more immediate plot with regards to what is happening in that part of the story. The other one is more expansive. It is the plot of the entire story that connects all the different parts of the book and ties them together.

I would give this book 4 stars because there was something, I felt, that was wrong with it. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it. However, having thought about it for a while, I think I have it figured out. It was a tad slow and the conclusions of each part were kinda soporific. Otherwise, it was great. It was sci-fi, set in the future sometime, somewhere when the Galaxy is ruled by a bunch of dictators.

Here’s what I loved about it:

The most powerful form of human life seems to be female, which I thought was so refreshing. And it kept this theme going throughout the book. It was really nice how women being the dominant gender was shown to be something that was taken for granted by the people in this book as opposed to how in our society masculinity is assumed to be the more powerful gender.

There are two whodunnits and one story told in a somewhat straightforward manner. Agatha Christie style. And we already know who the murderer is. Well, not exactly but still. What I didn’t like about it was that the three individual stories didn’t have a solid earth-shattering conclusion. By the time each separate story ended, I was like “Meh!”. For a book like this, the last star would have been earned if the conclusions had been a lot more powerful than they were. But the overall plot of the book was really, really good. There was no unnecessary B.S. in the book and even though the author chose to add something I am usually vehemently against, he did it in such a by-the-way fashion that I actually ended up wanting some more of it. Very well done.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves Agatha Christie. And, honestly, who doesn’t love Agatha Christie? So I’d recommend it to anyone really. Anyone looking for something different to read.

I think this could be a beginning to a new genre. Agatha Christie/ science fiction mashup. I believe it is unique.

Oh, and did I mention that the cover is absolutely fantabulous!? I have recently grown to love stained glass and this cover just mesmerizes me. I want a copy of this book, just so I can look at it.

Black Seconds by Karin Fossum

 
image

So this book was pretty good too. It is written by a Norwegian author and then translated into English. I picked it up, again, because I thought the cover was beautiful and the blurb piqued my interest. It is sixth in the list of novels featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer and his sidekick Skarre. I didn’t know that when I bought it of course.

I started reading it and it drew me in so fast, I didn’t know what was happening. It was addictive and my emotions were in an upheaval. The story starts with the supposed kidnapping of a child which then turns into a murder. Enter Inspector Sejer. A man as persistent as a bulldog.

I loved how this book featured this mentally challenged character. A simpleton who couldn’t even function in society without aid. I cant say much about this book without spoiling the joy of reading it and I wouldn’t want to do that. So anyone who hasn’t read the book, stop here. Read no further. Suffice is to say that Karin Fossum does a brilliant job. I suggest this book to anyone who loves a good thriller with a twist ending. Brilliant.

Spoiler!

It was the sort of book a person couldn’t classify until they were done. At one point it seems like a psychological thriller where the mentally disturbed character would be revealed to be the killer. By the end though it is most definitely a suspense thriller and no more. The best thing I loved about this book was the ending. It was brilliant. The way the author slowly and steadily chipped through the story like a sculptor sculpts a marble, all the way to the conclusion where the story leaves you astounded because the conclusion the entire story was leading up to was a false one! It was not only heartwarming book but a bloody good suspense thriller. It was as thrilling as any Agatha Christie novel, if not better.