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Mitglied seit 07.03.2010
51.098 Eselohren, 4.319 Bücher, 21 auf dem Wunschzettel, 129 Rezensionen, 76.218 Tags, 2.709 Bewertungen (Ø 3,29), 11 Gruppen, 17 Freunde
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Rezension vom 29.11.2016
A frantic mother comes to SHERLOCK HOLMES, begging him to find her son, a navy officer who has not returned from the war in South Africa. He has been labelled a deserter, yet she is sure he would never abandon his men. Holmes and Watson begin their own inquiries, but encounter resistance from the establishment, and an attempt is made on Holmes’s life. So begins a tale of intrigue and empire, as Holmes and Watson uncover a conspiracy that goes far beyond one missing sailor...
I believe I could live 500 years or even 1000 without ever running out of new Sherlock Holmes stories to read. But how to choose which one to read next? Well, in my case randomly. This one had received positive reviews and seemed like it was written by proper writers and not some chimpanzees who had just escaped from the zoo and found a typewriter in a trash bin. Believe me, there are some horrendous misfires out there which should have never seen the light of day.
The story takes place around the beginning of Dr. Watson’s association with the great detective in the 1880’s. This confused me a bit, since there is a connection to the Boer War. How could this be? Well, I learned something new from this book. Like most people I assumed that the Boer War took place in 1899-1902, but then I looked up the specifics of this conflict, and it turned out that that was actually what they call the Second Boer War. The first one took place almost two decades earlier and ended with a catastrophic defeat for the British.
This is the conflict in which a certain young navy officer has perished. His mother does not believe the official version that her son is a deserter and hopes that he might be alive somewhere and innocent. Enter Sherlock Holmes who is always willing to help the desperate. The British admiralty shows little cooperation even hiring some goons to threaten Holmes, while another party sends a mysterious Indian assassin.
Why so much fuzz over one missing soldier? There must be something larger going on.
Holmes speculates that there is a connection to Benjamin Disraeli’s death, meaning that the former Prime Minister has been poisoned to prevent him from uncovering a political conspiracy. Watson manages to get hold of the politician’s medical records and believes that he was killed by castor bean extract. By following the trail of the poison (apparently back then castor beans were mostly produced in India) Holmes and Watson manage to find out the names of the conspirators.
This is an action-packed tale full of assassination attempts, chases and fights. One particularly exciting chapter sees Holmes and Watson evading a poison gas attack on a train.
One unusual aspect of the book is that Holmes and Watson are facing money trouble. With no lucrative cases lately the great detective is running out of funds. Apparently even literary icons have to struggle with mundane issues of this kind.
As a mystery it is actually a bit weak and I never cared much about the cases where Sherlock got involved in political issues, but it’s a good, solid book nonetheless. 3,5 stars, but since I’m a stingy bastard, I only give three. I know, I know, Christmas is approaching and I should really become a bit more generous with my star ratings, I promise I’m going to change before I end up like some curmudgeonly Scrooge-like figure.
Rezension vom 27.11.2016
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It's just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway...But Conway's latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder. From Sunday Times bestseller Anthony Horowitz comes Magpie Murders, his deliciously dark take on the cosy crime novel, brought bang- up-to-date with a fiendish modern twist.
The Magpie Murders is the title of crime writer Alan Conway’s latest novel. The last in a series featuring his popular private detective Atticus Pünd, a half Greek, half German immigrant who has survived the concentration camps and has settled in England after the war. The book is an English village mystery set in the 1950’s. The death of a cleaning lady leads a young woman to Pünd to ask for his help in the murder of her fiancé’s mother. Assuming it was murder, since the police files the case under fatal accident. The woman was found with a broken neck in the home of her wealthy employer. However her son was heard ushering death threats towards her which sets in motion some ugly village gossip, sowing doubt about the integrity of the young man. Pünd has to refuse, there is only so much a private detective can do when few signs point to crime. However soon there is another much more horrifying death and Pünd along with trusted sidekick James Fraser travels to the village of Saxby-On-Avon to investigate. Suspects are met and interrogated, enmities and motives for murder unearthed. Everybody has something to hide: The shady antique dealers, the village doctor and her husband an unsuccessful painter, the wealthy family occupying the manor house and even the vicar and his wife have a few skeletons in their closet.
With every chapter Atticus Pünd is getting closer to the truth. Eventually he holds all clues in hand to unravel this devilish mystery.
But wait, what kind of a detective novel is this? Frustratingly the last chapter is missing from the manuscript. A whodunit without a solution, could this be an unpleasant joke? But there are other shocks in store for Susan Ryeland: Author Alan Conway has died, he fell off the roof of his home. It seems a tragic accident, perhaps suicide, but soon Susan suspects that it was actually murder. Not only does she need to find the missing chapter, she is also looking for Conway’s killer.
So what we have here is two mysteries for the prize of one. One is a classic whodunit, the other a modern thriller. However both provide a commentary on traditional detective stories and the mystery genre in general.
Horowitz missed out on authoring the new Hercule Poirot mysteries (that task went to Sophie Hannah, who amusingly is mentioned in the book), but now he has written his own Agatha Christie novel. There is even a cameo appearance from Christie’s grandson Matthew Pritchard.
So, what’s not to like? - you might ask. True, it is all very cleverly put together, but it didn’t engage my heart. This sort of metafictional literature is difficult to pull off, without becoming too self-awarely clever and mechanical. I might have been entertained, but the characters, including Poirot-surrogate Atticus Pünd, left me entirely cold. But maybe this is the sort of novel which requires repeated readings to be able to gasp every facet of its elaborate construction.
For fans of classic mysteries this is still a must-read. Any Christie-fan will have fun spotting all the references to the Queen Of Crime’s work.
Rezension vom 24.11.2016
Martin Booth ist der Autor eines meiner Lieblingsbücher: A Very Private Gentleman, verfilmt unter dem Titel The American.
Noch am Anfang seiner Karriere veröffentlichte er diesen Thriller, in dem es um einen Rockstar geht, der von einem Psychopathen verfolgt wird.
Für Bohny Oppen könnte es kaum besser laufen: Er ist einer der bedeutendsten Stars im Musikgewerbe. Er hat eine hübsche Freundin und jede Menge Geld. Gerade bereitet er sich mit seiner Band auf eine neue Tournee vor. Aber dann erhält Bohnys Manager verstörende Drohbriefe. Zunächst will der Musikstar das Ganze nicht ernst nehmen, aber dann macht der Psychopath ernst und verübt einen Mordanschlag auf die Band.
Bohny ist kein Bad Boy. Drogen nimmt er nur in Maßen, er behandelt Frauen mit Respekt und ist anständig zu seinen Angestellten. Außerdem ist er gebildet, investiert sein Geld in vernünftige Dinge (er sammelt Kunst).
Etwa in der Mitte des Buches lernen wir den Antagonisten kennen, eine gestörte Person, deren Frust und Verbitterung sich auf den erfolgreichen Prominenten entlädt. Sonderlich komplex ist die Figur allerdings nicht gezeichnet und die Rollen von Gut und Böse sind von Anfang an klar verteilt, weshalb die Sympathien des Lesers eindeutig beim Musiker liegen.
Der Böse ist natürlich sadistisch veranlagt und schreckt auch vor Tierquälerei nicht zurück. Ich hätte gut auf die Szene verzichten können, wo der Bösewicht seine Laserwaffe (kein Witz!) an einer ahnungslosen Hauskatze ausprobiert.
Der Autor behandelt das Ganze vollkommen ernsthaft, ohne dabei sonderlich in die Tiefe zu gehen. Die Polizei kommt dem Verbrecher schließlich eher durch Zufall auf die Schliche, so wirkt das Ende willkürlich und nicht besonders gut durchdacht.
Es wird hier einiges an Potenzial verschenkt. Deshalb werde ich den Verdacht nicht los, dass Booth das Werk als eine Art Auftragsarbeit geschrieben hat.
Immerhin war der Autor nah am Puls der Zeit. Das Buch erschien 1980, im selben Jahr als John Lennon Opfer des geistig gestörten Attentäters Mark David Chapman wurde.
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- 19. jahrhundert
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- 21. jahrhundert
- 21. jh
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