Terror in Wall Street, 1920
The Death Instinct, Jed Rubenfeld, Hachette India, Pp 454 (PB), Rs 295.00
DATE: September 16, 1920, City: New York, Location: Wall Street, Time: 12 noon. A bomb goes off, killing several. Investigations begin into the blast, led by three people, two men, a war veteran and an officer from the NYPD and a beautiful woman, a radiochemist from France. Their probe takes them from Paris to Prague, Vienna to Washington. Jed Rubenfeld’s novel, The Death Instinct, has a very contemporary plot and the story has been told in easy narrative. In real, there was a blast around this time in New York. It is as yet an unsolved case. At the time of bombing enormous amount of gold, belonging to the US treasury was being shifted. Was gold the motive and the blast a diversionary tactic. The three gusto sleuths probe and unravel. The author’s note at the end explains as to where the plot takes off from the real. His previous novel, The Interpretation of Murder, was also a best seller.
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A Sanskrit speaking Holmes
Holmes of the Raj, Vithal Rajan, Random House, Pp 277(PB), Rs 295.00
HOLMES in Madras to exonerate the Shankaracharya accused of murdering the accountant in the Mutt. Well, fiction takes a flight, an entertaining one. Vithal Rajan in his Holmes of the Raj has revived the master detective. The time is of course the British rule. The Englishmen take it upon themselves to prove the innocence of the Acharya and invite Holmes. Watson is surprised when Holmes converses in fluent Sanskrit with the Acharya. This is the first of the six investigations by Holmes in India.
The book brings back alive the Holmes legacy. Narrated in chirpy style, the plot is fast moving. More significantly, the style is very much in keeping with the original Holmes series. No wonder the book received the applause from the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. It said, "The most stimulating Holmesian fiction I’ve read in several years."
From Madras the snooping duo moves to Hyderabad, the forests of the central province, Nainital and Calcutta. Some of the personae who make an appearance in the plots are: Lord Ripon, Madam Blavatsky, Rudyard Kipling, Kim, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Ramanujan, Jinnah and Tagore. The book is a thriller complete with the humour and wit of Holmes. The book has been dedicated to the author’s grandfather, V C Srinivasa Acharya, the first manager of the Oxford University Press, Madras.
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