First published in 1923, The Murder on the Links is Agatha Christie’s third novel and the second to feature her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. I remember it mostly as “the one where Hastings meets his future wife”.
I initially read this engaging and erudite book about the world’s predominant faiths many years ago, but I felt like a refresher, and, just like the first time around, I found myself humbled by the realisation of how much I didn’t know. In truth, it would probably take me a few more readings to fully absorb the dense layers of information presented here, but you’re still left with a decent understanding of the world’s main religions even if you can’t hold on to all the points.
Some books seem to possess a long-lasting hold over your imagination, and I just keep coming back to this deeply strange, macabre and lyrical novel. This must be the fourth or fifth time I re-visited it over the years, and somehow it managed to leave me with a different impression every time.
I made a mistake in my review of The Murder at the Vicarage: while it was Miss Marple’s full-length novel debut, it wasn’t her first appearance, rather it was in a 1927 short story called The Tuesday Night Club. Later, it became the first chapter in this entertaining collection of thirteen short stories, which together form a sort of episodic novel. Midway through the book, I realised that I have actually read it before, but the details of each story completely evaporated from my memory so it was like reading them anew.
I really enjoyed the film adaptation of this best-selling memoir with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role from five years back. Now I finally found the time for the original book, the entertaining, emotional and at times harrowing account of a young woman who hiked 1,100 miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA.
This short science fiction novel takes a simple concept – what if your dreams could affect and alter reality – and spins it into a riveting and imaginative blend of psychological thriller and philosophical musings.
This offering from the screen legend Michael Caine is not a straightforward autobiography, but rather a mix of memoir, practical advice for the aspiring actors and general life lessons, drawn from Caine’s 60-something years in the acting business. It’s an entertaining and breezy read, with Caine emerging as an unpretentious, charming and likeable person.
“Good title that, by the way. Lord Edgware Dies. Look well on a bookstall.” This Poirot novel may not be one of my absolute favourites, but you can tell that Christie had a lot of fun with it, including some self-referential winking. Though I’m not sure if Lord Edgware Dies is necessarily superior to the book’s alternative title, Thirteen at Dinner.
An eclectic and often engrossing collection of essays from David Byrne, best known as the principal songwriter and lead singer of the iconic American band Talking Heads. In this book, Byrne offers his perspective on the subject he’s been involved with for his entire life, music, blending social and technological history, autobiography, business strategies, technical knowledge and personal philosophy.
I’ll always have a special soft spot for this book since it was the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve ever read back in my early teens. While I probably wouldn’t recommend it to someone else as a first taste of Christie, it’s a fun adventure romp that holds up surprisingly well on a re-read and is one of Christie’s better thrillers. Also, the current coronavirus situation and its restrictions have a way of colouring things I watch and read; reading about someone embarking on an adventure in a far-off country (on a cruise ship, no less!) left me with a wistful pang that otherwise wouldn’t be there.