Contest 3: Who is Your Favourite Detective?

Note: This contest is CLOSED. The winner will be announced on Friday, 5th September. If you missed out on entering this, don’t worry! The next one will be here pretty shortly.

 

Contest-Cup

How do you enter the contest?

It doesn’t get simpler. You leave a comment to this post. If you leave two comments, they will count as two separate entries. The maximum number of entries you can submit is three. If you leave more than three comments, I won’t tell you off (I’m too nice for that) but I will only pick the first three.

What is the topic?

This fortnight’s topic is brought to us by author Rasleen Syal, who has just released her debut novel, a murder mystery called Happily Murdered.

happily-murdered

Since the contest is themed around a mystery novel, we thought why not make it about our favourite detectives.

Tell us about your favourite detective from fiction. He could be taken out of literature, television, movies, or plays. Or from real life. The one condition we have is that you should also tell us about your detective’s favourite adventure.

So your piece should revolve around these two central themes:

  1. Your favourite detective (e.g. Sherlock Holmes)
  2. Your favourite adventure featuring that detective (e.g. The Hound of the Baskervilles)

Here are some ideas

Mickey-Detective

1. You could write a personal ode to your favourite detective. Tell us why he was fabulous in this particular adventure. Tell us how reading/viewing this story kept you awake. Give us your personal reasons and reactions. Let us know how much this book/movie/play means to you. And why.

2. Write a narrative scene of meeting with your favourite detective on the night before he begins your favourite adventure.

3. Write a narrative scene of meeting with your favourite detective at a crucial plot point in the adventure. How about meeting Holmes on the Grimpen Mire as he lays in wait for the hound?

4. Write a scene or an essay from the point of view of the sidekick in the adventure.

5. Or anything else that comes to your mind. As long as the two central themes are in place – your favourite detective, and his favourite adventure – you can write just about anything. The only limit is your creativity.

How is the winner selected?

Just like last time, each comment will be rated on three things:

1. Clarity: I should understand what you’re trying to say. Good grammar and punctuation will help. So will a reasonable structure to your entry. Beginning, middle and end.

2. Personal Touch: I’m interested in knowing your personal feelings for your favourite detective and his adventure. What does he mean to you and why? So go for depth, specificity and honesty. In narrative pieces, the deeper you take me with you into the scene, the better it is.

3. Beauty of the writing: Make your words sing. Give rich sensory detail. Describe well. Transport us to to your world. Be cogent, crisp and clear.

The above three criteria are ranked in the order of importance. So clarity is more important than personal touch. And personal touch is more important than evocative writing.

Form

This is up to you. Do you feel you can put your point across the best way through a poem? Are you more comfortable with an essay? Or do you prefer to write a short story or a narrative piece?

Anything and everything will work, as long as you stay under 300 words and on topic.

Videos and images are not valid entries.

What’s the prize?

A Flipkart e-gift voucher worth 500 Indian rupees. It looks like this.

Flipkart-Voucher

No, you can’t touch it, but you can buy things – especially books! – with it. If you live outside of India, your choices are limited to e-books because Flipkart doesn’t deliver internationally (yet).

Bonus Prize

This time, there is a bonus prize. Every valid entry will go into a lucky dip and one lucky winner will get an author-signed copy of Happily Murdered by Rasleen Syal.

Just enter the contest with a valid entry and you’re in to win. Not a bad deal, eh?

And of course, Rasleen would like feedback on her novel. Wouldn’t you, Rasleen?

Rules/Guidelines/Suggestions

1. The closing date for comments/entries is Wednesday, 3rd of September, 2014. The winner will be announced on Friday, 5th of September, 2014.

2. When you enter comments on this blog, you will find a separate text box asking for your email. I recommend that you enter your email into this, so that I will have a way of contacting you in case you win. Rest assured that I will not use your contact information for any other purpose, shady or otherwise.

3. Sexually explicit or offensive material will be deleted at my discretion.

4. Avoid plagiarism. I will check for it, and remove entries that I think are lifted from elsewhere.

And finally…

Have fun! If you think this is the sort of thing your friends would enjoy, share this post with them and invite them to participate. The more the merrier!

See you in the comments.

Comments

  1. This is awesome! 😀 Looking forward to this one!

    Like

  2. Soumini Mukherjee says:

    My favourite detective is Prodosh chandra Mitter aka feluda, one of the best creations of Satyajit Ray in our bengali literary sphere, although english translations of his works are widely available now.
    What most appeals to me about feluda, is his friendliness and personality which coaxes out confessions from even the most stubborn or jittery witnesses unlike the police forces involved in sorting out the crime. His witty bantering of Lalmohan Ganguly aka jatayu, his friend and his tensed ‘chat sessions’ with Topshe,his cousin and assistant, about the most dense and baffling aspects of a case make him lively and endearing, as if he is a flesh-and-bone persona we meet everyday!
    Out of the many adventures that feluda embarks on, the one which i return to time and again is Gosaipur Shorgorom (Hullabaloo in Gosaipur). Gosaipur is a typical bengali village where the presence of the modern age is evident only in the electricity available in the houses. Feluda is summoned there by his wealthy client a Mr. Shyamlal Mallick to investigate about who might have been responsible for the nightly assaults against him. Reaching the place he learns that his client because of a terrible accident resulting from an electric shock several years ago, has severed himself from everything ‘modern’. He now lives in a dilapidated colossal mansion with only candle lights, a palanquin, and other traditional but obsolete paraphernalia.
    The thing which appeals to me most about this adventure is its setting. A typical backwater village, trying to cope up with urban civilization and yet surviving peacefully within its serene folds is a picture that always entices me. Added to this is the ‘haunted house’ feeling provided by ‘Mallick bari’ where the faint light of candles and lamps seems to augment the darkness of the village fields and not reduce it.
    The greatest twist in the story, which qualifies it as a breathtaking mystery in my list of favorite books, comes, of course, towards the end. Jibanlal mallick, son of Shyamlal mallick, was found to be murdered in the middle of the story. This along with the theft of Shyamlal’s possesions complicates the case that feluda was called to investigate. But in the end it is revealed that Jibanlal mallik is very much alive. It was a strategy devised by feluda in collaboration with the police so that he can unmask the deception of the famous astrologer in the village-Atmaram Babu. Atmaram Babu claims himself to be ‘Trikalogyo’ i.e. a possessor of knowledge spanning the Past, Present and Future of mankind. His name suggests his vocation which is to summon ‘atmas’ on this earth who may talk to and guide their living relations. He is revealed to be a cheat and a fraud when feluda reveals his false attempts to communicate with the ‘atma’ of supposedly-dead Jibanlal mallick, who in reality is very much alive, healthy,wealthy and sound! It is revealed that it was Atmarambabu only who conducted the theft after winning Shyamlal mallick’s trust in himself and the fact that his modern urban-living son is his main enemy. Jibanlal was thus convicted guilty in his father’s eyes until his feigned death which complicated the overall matter but cleared the path for feluda.
    This strategy of feluda was something very new and refreshing atleast to me,when I first read the book. From the very beginning he found Atmarambabu and his business to be questionable. Being a modern educated person he realized the possibility of a hoax in this entire matter. When his routine investigations time and again led him to suspect Atmarambabu, he realized he has no other option than to devise this strategy in order to pull down this fraud from the worshipful pedestal that the ill-educated, superstitious villagers have placed him on.
    It remains one of my many favorites in the genre of detective fiction. The readers’ habitual tendency of looking for the killer, his motives, his identity etc in a mystery book, was astonishingly disrupted in this novel where the murdered person was not murdered at all but was only used as a tool to unmask greater deceptions more convincingly!

    Like

    • Hi Soumini,

      Thanks for sharing this. I’ve not read many Feluda mysteries, but from your description of him, he sounds very much like Father Brown, G.K.Chesterton’s kind and friendly detective. He’s almost apologetic when he solves the crime. If you haven’t read them yet, I recommend that you pick up a collection of Father Brown stories and read them. I think you will like them.

      Here’s the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Brown

      Your narration of the story also reminds me of two similar stories in the Sherlock Holmes Canon – The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, and The Valley Of Fear, both of which involve a ‘false death’, that is the person is supposed to have died at the beginning is shown to be alive at the end. In neither case is it the detective’s deliberate plan, though.

      I have to start reading some Feluda 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks Sharath. Yes I do know about Father Brown and have also read a few of his cases. But since I’m a bengali, sleuths like Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi have been my eternal favorites. So whenever i see the words ‘your favourite detective’, these names crop up in my mind, the first thing! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. theguyraghav says:

    My favorite is Sherlock and I love all of his adventures. I will go with The Hound of the Baskervilles as one of my favorite works. Will post something longer soon.

    Like

  4. JJ,
    It has been a week since the newspapers reported different stories about what happened at Chinatown last Monday. The only information that has been consistent throughout is that Evelyn is dead, shot while she was trying to escape. I don’t know why the cops shot her, but I guess that’s Chinatown for you. Who did it? You told me she was a bit of a screwball, but you wouldn’t have shot her. Taken her to the cops maybe, but not killed.
    I guess it’s pretty obvious why police made zero arrests. The other day I was talking to that slimy Escobar and he was still trying to frame Evelyn for her husband’s murder and you for keeping quiet about it. I told him exactly what he could do with his plans, but now I wonder, him being there at the scene of crime…maybe he allowed his dorks to fire to shut her and you up.
    I don’t know why you’ve been awfully quiet, haven’t picked your phone as well; most times you can’t stop yapping about your cases. I don’t want you going in the same morbid mode again as you did last time you were posted in Chinatown. That life is over, JJ, you are now one of the best detectives in LA, and no one can take that away from you.
    I hope you call me soon. Oh, and I met that old fart Noah Cross in San Francisco two days back, Evelyn’s father, right? He introduced me to his granddaughter. I’m guessing she is out of wedlock, although the resemblance between her and Evelyn is uncanny. Surprisingly, she seemed to be mourning her death; not Cross though. God, families can be really twisted sometimes.
    Call me and tell me what happened with the case.
    NS

    For reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown_(1974_film)

    Like

    • This is nice, Nishtha. As a child and teen I often wrote letters to the likes of Holmes, Poirot and Mason asking them for the inside goss on some of their cases. Some of these worlds become so real to us (especially as teenagers, I think) that we wish we were part of them. I remember reading the last passages of ‘The Final Problem’ and ‘Curtain’ in tears, wishing it were not the end.

      I’ve not seen Chinatown yet, and I’ve not read the Wikipedia entry that you posted because I don’t want spoilers. But I see that the movie has affected you deeply. I will let you know what I think of it when I do watch it. Also, that reminds me, I saw your movies list the other day, and I am suddenly gripped by a desire to re-watch ‘Watchmen’.

      Maybe I will do it this weekend. Thanks for sharing this.

      Like

      • Hahaha, I remember you telling me after you watched The Dark Knight that you didn’t understand the whole hype about Heath Ledger playing Joker. Watchmen, both book and graphic novel, can keep me happy for days.

        And do let me know what you think about Chinatown once you watch it. Remember, the 1974 Jack Nicholson one, not Akshay Kumar’s Chandni Chowk to China 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Exact 300 words!! Thanks for the contest, Sharat 🙂

    My favourite detective, I have to choose,
    To do so, I let my mind go loose!
    Of the many sleuths out there,
    Who is that one, I most care?

    I pondered, wondered!
    The many choices I numbered!
    Of them I selected a few,
    Then zeroed in on Nancy Drew!

    She is shrewd, she is smart,
    All the criminals she will thwart!
    She is bold, she is bright,
    Its real hard to give her a fright!

    My hero she was, from when I was ten,
    She solves mysteries, every now and then!
    Never does she give up and accept defeat,
    She always does accomplish every feat!

    The Mystery of the Hidden Staircase,
    Is my all time favourites!
    She puts her life in the brink of danger,
    Page by page, the plot just gets stranger!

    To help old Miss Flora, Nancy does strain,
    Coz to see the old lady in distress is really a pain.
    The ghost appears and disappears with not one clue,
    Nancy has to struggle indeed, phew!

    The necklace gets stolen,
    So is food from the kitchen,
    Is the ghost the thief as well?
    Is the dingy Comber involved in this spell?

    Nancy’s dad is then kidnapped,
    Coz Comber wants the railroad project to be scrapped.
    Are these part of very same plan?
    To find this, investigation Nancy began.

    Her determination, I very much admire,
    Her willingness to take risks, I do aspire!
    Her timely thinking I do adore,
    Reading her adventures is never a bore!

    I wish I was at Twin Elms, snooping around,
    To help Nancy, and witness the ghost being found!
    To find the secret outlets, and the secret stairs,
    To rescue her dad, and bring smile on Miss Flora’s face!

    Many detectives sure do rock
    But the one I most fancy,
    Will forever be Nancy!

    For reference:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hidden_Staircase

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Aparna,

      This was fun! Thank you for writing in. I love it how you weaved the whole plot of the Hidden Staircase into a poem, and of course, special brownie points for making it EXACTLY 300 words. I especially like the lines where you wish you were at Twin Elms snooping around with Nancy. I myself for some reason never read much of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, or even Famous Five and Secret Seven. I went straight from Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle to Sherlock Holmes. I totally missed the Enid Blyton phase.

      Oh well. Too late now to correct.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is a poem which I enjoyed reading – for its modulation, rhythm and word jugglery. Carolyn Keene would have loved this. You write well, Aparna.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Soumini Mukherjee says:

    Dear Diary,

    St.Mary Mead really seems to be a lively version of the many nineteenth century landscape paintings featuring a peaceful sleepy village nestled in between mountains and cliffs. I am so glad that aunt Jane thought of me when wanting to kill her solitary hours. I have always wanted to visit her and her village since childhood..but apart from the short visit which my family paid when i was two (and of which i remember nothing) circumstances have never favored me to fulfill my weary wish!
    Today was Sunday,the last hours ticking by. I am sitting by the window in my room which looks down upon the narrow road in front and the sprawling green meadows girding it, now shimmering under the dazzle of the lonely Moon up there. I feel that the solitude of the moon is unparalleled in this universe, although aunt Jane chooses to disagree. She says that the moon has only to look for a partner to find one:  a dejected lover, a mournful poet, a hapless patient in some quiet corner of a hospital, a stranded traveler…..all of whom silently rely on the moon as their one mute but understanding companion.
    My aunt Jane is undoubtedly such a companion whose advice,suggestions,company is sought by all and sundry in this village. But she still feels alone. Hence the invitation to me, her dear niece, who, coming from the bustling city of London would perhaps relieve her from this burden. For it IS a burden for her. A burden of guilt.
    The gruesome incident of the Blacklocks which took place during aunt Jane’s visit to Chipping Cleghorn, a twin self of St.mary mead only, has left a profound mark upon her. A chance incident had taken her there where she resided with a Miss Amy Murgatroyd and her friend Miss Hinchcliff. Aunt Jane has always been known to be a friendly person but during this trip she became particularly fond of Amy, who she says was almost my age or a bit more. The fateful day when it was announced on the papers that “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, at 6:30 p.m.” little did the people know that it would be something more than just a prank. The lights were turned off; the door was swung open suddenly and there stood a burglar who reportedly fired a blind shot that hit miss Blacklock, the hostess behind the ear, and then killed himself. Aunt Jane had reached the village just after this incident and was filled with all these information from the garrulous and giggly Amy.
    It has always struck me from aunt Jane’s letters that she is something more than just the little elderly lady with her own nuances; more than the aunt-agony that she has always been to people. And she proved me right when she ingenuously revealed the heinous crimes of Miss Blacklock herself. But she was too late in doing so.It cost her and the police two more unfortunate deaths, those of a Miss Dora Bunner, Letitia’s friend, who was punished for her extreme habit of speaking without censor and Amy for she was proved to be a possible witness to whatever happened that night from her advantageous position in the room. The burglar was also proved to have been murdered by her only. Miss Letitia was a hypocrite, deceiving first her twin and then all others,only to gain the immeasurable fortune bequeathed to her sister whom she had gagged long back!
    It is the unscrupulousness of the crime and its brutal consequences,specially the death of innocent Amy that had completely crushed aunt Jane.She thinks herself to be guilty for not knowing earlier, not protecting Amy. She has always been the kind of a woman who sits comfortably in one corner of a room, without wishing to disturb anybody but silently drawing people towards her by some unknown hypnotic attraction. She is a good listener; has always been one. And she also has this remarkable quality of saying just the right words to the right person, without a trace of pretension. She is impeccably pure by heart, clean in her mind and this is what endears her to all whom she meets and this is what makes her to feel attached to such people as Amy.
    Nevertheless I was overjoyed when i first learnt from another witness to the incident that much before the police, it was Miss Marple(as she is called by others) who first came to know the truth. I just knew that those small, slightly tearful eyes were capable of more than skillful, flawless knitting by the fireside. An observer of human nature, as she humbly claims herself to be, she has this magical gift of tying up loose ends and discovering things that people dare not expose in the open. Miss Jeremy, who lives just two houses ahead has indeed told me how their miss Marple has been instrumental in solving many of the complex problems plaguing their simple life in St.mary mead like the murder in the vicarage some years ago! Who could have guessed that this sleepy village where each word is borne to the next person by wind could harbour such secrets as a murder!
    The case of the Blacklocks involved many other intricacies…. so much so that I have heard that Agatha Christie, you know the famous mystery and crime writer? She has agreed to write a mystery novel based on this affair, as it happened! She has planned to name it as A Murder is Announced! God! I cant wait for it to get pubished! I am so happy that Aunt Jane’s hidden talents are finally going to be brought out in the open…although she is quite uncomfortable about it.

    My God! It is past midnight and yet the telephone (which is no more younger than the one that Graham Bell himself used perhaps) has suddenly started shrieking. There’s no extension line in my room else……okay there’s aunt Jane tottering her way forward towards the machine. I hope its not some bad news.

    Speaking of bad news, it reminds me that the other day when we were having tea at Miss Jeremy’s, she was telling us about the suspicious disappearance of some Mr.Robinson who had recently come to St.mary mead and was staying with Miss Jenkins, who owns the last house in this colony. He is known to be her nephew and Miss Jenkins is thus quite distraught. Well, I just hope everything turns out well for this poor old lady, although personally I could do well with some real mystery and getting to see Miss Marple in action!

    Aunt Jane is done with the phone call. I better check on her before going to bed…..Wait…. Is that a police van i see coming up the road?

    Like

    • Ha, this is very nice, Soumini. I loved the little references you sprinkled all throughout your piece. And the whole Agatha Christie writing a novel based on the announced murder is just perfect. I heard somewhere that Christie loved Marple much more than she loved Poirot, but because Poirot was the public favourite, she had to keep writing about him whereas Marple mysteries had to be kept to a minimum. I also prefer Marple over Poirot, must admit.

      Don’t you think Geraldine Mckeown makes the best Marple ever? I just can’t get enough of her in the TV series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie's_Marple

      Thanks for sharing this, Soumini. Enjoyed reading it 🙂

      Like

      • Thank you Sharath. 🙂
        Yes I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with you. Nobody I think can match Ms. Geraldine in playing Miss Marple with such perfection..as if Christie had written all the marple novels keeping her in mind! Yes Poirot has his own idiosyncrasies and is memorable too.. but I personally have always wanted an aunt like Ms. Jane Marple. Its great to know Christie was of the same view. thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sharath: “Who is you favourite detective?”
    Me: (thinking, thinking and thinking….)
    Sharath: “Bikash…who is you favourite detective?”
    Sharath: (after a while, again) DETECTIVE, an actor who investigates crime. Investigator. FAVOURITE!
    Me: (still clueless)
    Me: (After a while, in excitement) Sherlock…Sherlock Holmes!!!
    Sharath: Great! (smiles)
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    The above scene happened when I saw this week’s contest topic. It was difficult for me, because It was quite hard to accept the reality that I haven’t had read any good detective story to remember my HERO. But, after thinking for a while, I could recollect watching Robert John Downey, Jr. aka Sherlock Holmes in the 2009 film-Sherlock Holmes and got a feeling that it was the beginning of my like for ‘detective movies/ stories’. Of course Mr Robert became one of my favourite Hollywood actors (detective actor). And, it’s sad to see that he’s the only detective actor I can remember.

    I think I should start reading/watching more detective novels/ movies. 😛

    Like

    • No problem, Bikash. I think many people who read this contest were put off by the topic. While it is popular enough, maybe it isn’t that easy to write pieces based on detectives. We’re back to more generic topics from the next contest onwards, so don’t worry! Hope to see you participate more wholeheartedly next time 🙂

      Like

  8. The spray of fine mist from the Reichenbach falls below mixed with the flowing stream of sweat from his forehead made it tough for Alfie to focus. He wiped his eyebrows with the sleeves of his muddy shirt and tried to locate the mortifying scream that rose up from the bowels of the crashing waterfall.

    Alfie lied down on the squishy, wet ground and stretched himself over the edge of the cliff. Through the cloud of mist, he could make out a tall, thin figure climbing up the almost perpendicular, wet wall of mountain rock.

    “Bloody hell!” Alfie growled as he realised what had happened. He quickly rose, picked up a boulder and swung it down blindly at the lean figure scaling the mountain.

    Holmes, who had recently sustained debilitating injuries to his knuckles fighting one of the assassins deployed by Moriarty, found it immensely challenging to find a perfect grip on the wet rock shelf.
    As a heavy boulder whizzed past him, Holmes looked up at the cliff. He noticed a heavy-set man picking up another boulder. Getting a better foothold and remembering not to panic at the obvious disadvantage he was at, Holmes observed the big man’s movements. Although Holmes despised patronising Opium dens, he could immediately recognise a frequent Opium user. Here was a textbook Opium addict right in front of his eyes. Knowing that abusive usage of Opiates would result in weakness and deteriorating vision, Holmes immediately placed the man as the “brick” assassin who almost did him in a few days ago. “Opium and marksmanship never go together,” Holmes thought with a self-assured grin. He just had to wait.

    Alfie, with the heavy boulder in his hands, blinded by the sweaty moisture over his eyes, lost his foothold, tripped and went plummeting down the Reichenbach falls.

    His deafening scream reached Holmes even over the thunderous rumble of the Reichenbach, just like how his employer’s did.

    Like

    • Great entry again, Prithvi. The scene where Dr Watson returns to the top of the Riechenbach falls and reads Holmes’s letter is probably the first scene of fiction that made me cry. So I’m glad to have read a narrative piece about it. For a moment there I thought you were referring to Colonel Moran (because he’s the one in the canon that tries to crush Holmes under rocks), but then when he tipped over and died I discovered I was wrong.

      So who is Alfie? Is it a reference to some other character? The only Alfie I know is the Jude Law character in the 2004 movie of the same name. But you can’t be referring to him. Can you?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfie_(2004_film)

      Like

      • Alfie is just one of those numerous petty criminals from London – the great “cesspool” as Holmes would put it- employed by the Professor. Just wanted a name for the character and Alfie seemed as good as any. :p

        Like

      • Ah, okay. So I was looking for meaning where non existed. I thought the references to Opium were pointing to someone specific. Fair enough 🙂

        Like

  9. i just loved monk and sean (shawn) in psych. I love how they could just relate the smallest things and it would all add up in the end.
    And shawn had these crazy ways of expressing his discoveries! He’s one atheist who would have really rocked in India! He would have really coned his way and solved any crime!

    Like

    • Not that I think less of Indians but we tend to be religious and it’s kinda easy for people like shawn to con religious people! again no offence! I’m just trying to say criminals are stupid weather indian or not! ok please don’t misunderstand I cant find the politically right words to fix this!

      Like

    • Ok again i have nothing against criminals either! Or Indians! I’m an Indian and I love India and I’m proud to be an Indian! ok that’s way too much! I mean I’m an Indian and that’s ok with me and people I love are all Indians so I’ve nothing against Indians or criminals or religion or anything! I’m just a just fan of shows like mentalist, psych, monk, CSI (miami,NY,LA,LV etc NCIs) criminal minds, Dexter, castle, white collar etc etc

      Like

      • Hi Kanupriya,

        I get it. You have nothing against anybody. Don’t worry. We don’t think you do. As for Monk, for a certain period of my life – probably lasting a few months – he was my favourite detective on television. My dad and I had this ritual of watching every Monk show on Wednesday nights, and while some of his deductions were probably way over the top, his character is so endearing and charming in a naive, childlike way.

        Thanks for sharing.

        Like

    • ummmm… thanks… but my name is not kanupriya? ha ha ha ha lol it’s Kanchan. But when I entered my email Id it automatically filled all my details. Kanny is my nick name something my family and friends call me!

      Like

      • Ha, sorry! I must have gotten you confused with someone else. I could have sworn there was a Kanupriya as well in the comments section here. All right. Kanchan. I will remember that 🙂

        Like

  10. After the first book that I read of Agatha Christie- “Evil under the Sun” – I concluded that it was perhaps the best book I had ever read. I kept revising my opinion when I read “Death on the Nile”, followed by a string of murder mysteries – The ten little Indians, Death of Roger Ackroyd, Murder in Mesopotamia, Elephants can remember, Mysterious affairs at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express and Curtains – but could never decide which was my most favorite. I was fascinated with the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and his “little grey cells” working overtime to solve crime after crime, which appeared so perplexing with seemingly no clues left behind by the perpetrator.

    I liked the passion with which Hercule Poirot pursued his cases. He relied more on researching the psychology of the crime, rather than merely piecing together the physical clues. Poirot’s methods in approaching the cases would dwarf even the most ardent practitioner of “Six Sigma” techniques. The style of Agatha Christie invariably got me so involved in the plot that I imagined myself as an ally of Hercule Poirot, trying to decipher the many clues thrown in between the pages, as if the author meant to challenge the reader to identify the real killer. When the revelation came in the denouement, in a most dramatic fashion, interestingly in the presence of all the suspects, with Poirot’s tearing through popular perceptions and beliefs with unconventional wisdom and cold logic, it was always a big surprise. Getting inside the criminal’s mind, anticipating his next move and identifying the right clues in the intricate maze of red herrings were the hallmark of Hercule Poirot’s character. Until Poirot himself unraveled the mystery, solving the crime from a reader’s angle appeared more difficult to me than solving Maxwell’s thermodynamic equations. My verdict is Hercule Poirot.

    Like

    • I remember that after reading ‘Evil Under the Sun’, I paced around my house for at least half an hour, telling myself again and again that I would never, ever be able to write a mystery novel as good as that. Even Murder in Mesopotamia was good, but the final denouement was a little too far-fetched for me. Saying anything more would mean including spoilers.

      What I truly, truly enjoyed was ‘Curtain’. It’s just a logical conclusion of all the psychological aspects of committing a murder. And it comes together so beautifully. An interesting bit of trivia is that Christie wrote ‘Curtain’ immediately after ‘Mysterious Affair at Styles’ and locked it up in a safe for thirty-six years. She allowed publication of it after she was sure that she would not write any more Poirot mysteries.

      I think she did the same with Marple too. Wrote he book very early on and locked it up for thirty-odd years before publishing it.

      Thanks, Jayant, for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  11. Eh bien, mon ami, it is I, Hercule Poirot, who is everybody’s favourite detective! Is it not so, mon ami? Use your little grey cells. Which other detective has discovered no less than twelve conspirators in a murder attacking the hapless victim? How many sleuths could recognize, at a glance, suicide dressed to look like murder? Precisement! It is only I, mon ami, who has probed the psychology of the individual.
    There I was in King’s Abbott cultivating my vegetable marrows in peace, when Mrs. Ackroyd she phoned me in an agitated state. No-one could correctly guess what happened to Roger Ackroyd. When he was murdered it was left to me to unravel the mystery and reveal the truth. And what a denouement it was, mon ami!
    My able friend Hastings, he guides me, by coining the observations that come so naturally to persons of average intelligence. But by using order and method, I arrive always, at the right conclusion.

    I can supply references, but if you haven’t read the mysteries in question, it might take away from your enjoyment if you plan to read them.

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment, Gargi. Now I know all your favourite Poirot novels, but in the interest of being spoiler-free, I won’t name them. Though I couldn’t remember which one is the ‘suicide dressed to look like murder’. I know in the Sherlock Holmes stories there is a mystery of the Thor Bridge where this happens, but which one of Poirot’s stories has that?

      Wait! Don’t tell me! Forget that I asked! 😛

      Like

  12. Sasikanth Gudla says:

    Sherlock Holmes, Of Course.

    “When you eliminate all the impossibilities, what remains, however improbable, is the truth”

    Sherlock Holmes was the first and last detective I have ever read. His style and arrogance is more superb than even Rajinikanth. His style statement that I just quoted makes me think that he would have been a great scientist if he didn’t want to become a detective.

    A detective story reader need not become a detective, but if one tries and emulates Sherlock Holmes, one can certainly become a keen observer and thereby a better professional – whatever that might be.

    Like

    • Hi Sasikanth,

      Thanks for weighing in with your choice. An interesting aside to the Sherlock Holmes story is that Arthur Conan Doyle knew a lecturer in medical school called Joseph Bell, who had this uncanny knack of making absurd deductions about people that eventually turned out to be right. So when Doyle tried his hand at writing detective fiction, he modeled his detective on Bell.

      Here’s a little more about him. I think you will find it an interesting read.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bell

      Like

  13. Zainab Abrar says:

    This is a poem that I wrote for my favourite Miss Marple mystery by Agatha Christie,The Body in the Library.The title of the poem is Murder Most Foul.The poem is from the point of view of the murderer:

    If you dress up in a star spangled satiny dress
    With chunks of jewellery weighing you down
    Then your make up as heady as cocaine
    Will make me heavy eyed and murder you

    I will kill you with the bandanna on your head
    Put it round your dainty little neck
    And just stretch and stretch
    Till your blottled up body mottles your star spangled dress
    Soil it and make it mud

    Your swollen face will sport chunk as funeral offerings
    The eyeliner will define your bulging eyes
    And your lipstick will be a bloody gash on your lips that lied

    Alas!Bearing down on me
    will come Miss Jane Marple
    Prim,proper with bird like movements
    Exercising at will the neat little grey cells in her dainty head

    Confess I would, dumbfounded at her ingenuity
    The gash at last would be against me.

    Like

    • Hi Zainab,

      Welcome to the blog. I like this poem a lot. There is a nice tightness to the writing all throughout, and some of the images are sharp and specific. I especially loved the first stanza. The lines: ‘Then your make up as heady as cocaine will make me heavy-eyed and murder you’ are shocking and beautiful at the same time.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  14. This is a story. Sorry for being late and being ridiculously large. I started the plot but could not contain the size
    —————————————————————————————————————————————-

    The House of Sheldon was agitated. Servant were running around the house in search of Helena, age 12. Lady Florence had a grim face, with tears peeking near the eyes. She kept it brushing away. She was trying to remember the possible places Helena would have gone but all she could see was Helena jumping up the stairs, with her ponytail swinging left to right, in her pink dress with black polka dots shouting “Good night” before going to bed. Lord Melbourne, was furious. He was giving orders to all his man servants to go around the house in search of Helena. Helena being his youngest daughter, was showered all the love, care and protection. Even Though she was a naughty child, she had never before wandered off alone. Receiving threats on his life during the past few weeks from his business rivals , he was concerned about her safety. Trenton being the first born, and the elder brother cared a lot for Helena but was not sure what to do. Once during an evening stroll in the East garden, she had asked him for a doll she had seen in the market place. He dismissed the request, ridiculing her for still playing with dolls. He felt sorry for that.

    On instructions from the Lord, the housekeeper had informed the police and they were on their way.

    Lord Melbourne did not want to let things to chance. He called up his friends, for help. Many referred to a detective in the town Conan of Doyle. Instructing the chauffeur, Lord Melbourne left for the town and in the next hour was knocking at 221B, Baker Street. The Land Lady, Mrs Hudson, asked him to take the stairs. Entering the smoke filled room, he was greeted by a man who shook his hand and introduced himself as Watson. The other one must be Sherlock holmes.

    Meanwhile, Lady Florence feeling desperate, called in the housekeeper to send a telegram to Christie of Agatha. Hardly, five feet four, carrying himself with utmost dignity, with his head in the shape of a egg, pink nose and the signature curved moustache, Poirot was about to leave the house when the telegram reached him. He called up Hastings immediately and left for the House of Sheldon.

    In Blyton high school, Enid, Mrs Regina read out the news to her class. There was a buzz around the class about one of their classmates gone missing. Julian, Dick, George, Anne stood up and requested permission to visit Helena’s. Along with their dog Timmy, the Five were Famous for their adventures. But the Seven friends of Helena, Peter, Janet, Jack, Pam, Barbara, Colin, George dropped of Secretly during the recess, with their dog Scamper to find out what really happened to Helena.

    All arrived at the house around noon. They all assembled around the huge dining table and were served a light lunch. Lord Melbourne was at the head of the table with Lady Florence and Trenton to his right and left. Poirot and Hastings were seated next to Lady Florence while Sherlock and Watson next to Trenton. The rest of the ten children sat around the table while Scamper and Timmy were served food in the stable. During the course of the lunch, Lord Melbourne narrated the events.

    “Thank you all for making it here, that too in such a short notice. I value your concern for Helena. Helena did not come down for breakfast today morning. When asked about it to her Nanny, she said she tried to wake her by knocking but in vain. She had assumed it was one of her games for avoiding school and had returned to her quarters. Then I climbed up the stairs to her room and knocked, with no response. Tried force opening the door but it was shut from inside. Her door was usually not locked. She was under severe stress lately and we did not want to risk reaching her. So with raising suspicion, we started banging the door and asked one of the man servants to drop in to the window from the Terrace. Being summer, we keep our windows open at night. Only when he dropped in did we realise that Helena was missing.”

    Holding the hands of Lady florence, “It’s a pity that we have to meet in this situation. My sympathies” consoled Hercule Poirot. Then he noticed that, the dessert spoon and soup spoon have been swapped. He swapped them back and once sure they were in their right place, addressed Lord Melbourne “Would it be possible to tell when was the last Helena was seen?” “I saw Helena in the library before dinner. Since I was immersed in my book, I did not join everybody else for the dinner and had it served at my room. However, Florence wished her good night when she hopped on to the stairs to her bedroom. Nobody went to her bedroom, other than her Nanny, who in the morning went up to wake her”

    Sherlock Holmes who was silent for so long asked “Was there any note or letter in the room” “None as far as I know” Watson woke up from his deep thought and said, “This looks like a straightforward case of kidnap. The culprit should have dropped himself from the terrace through the open window. Must have drugged Helena. Probably with another accomplice waiting below the window, dropped her down and ran away from there” Holmes smiled at Watson, turned towards Melbourne, “I understand the front part of the building is protected by the Guards at giant gate and surrounding wall. Except for the car path to the porch, the grounds looked pretty clear. How about the other areas around the house?”

    “To the east we have the house garden which ends with our Neighbors estate. On the West we have plains leading to the banks of the river buckwater, mostly filled with bushes and grass, while the back side in the south is bordered by oak tree farms ending in the woods. The front gate being the north.” Poirot raising from the table “Let’s look at the room” Holmes accompanied Poirot to the stairs. The kids were still puzzled of how their friend vanished out of thin air. They huddled together and decided that its better they form groups and look around the estate rather than inside the house.

    Julian and Peter being the eldest of their own groups, decided that its better they for three groups to search the East, West and South side of the house. The guards from the gates assured that there was no activity in the North side. Julian, Dick and Anne along with the Timmy took the south, while the girls Janet, Barbara and Pam took the gardens in the east, Georgina being a sport joined the girls, while Peter, Jack along with Scamper started their sniffing trail of the bushes leading to the river. Colin and George being the only one left thought would talk to the Guards to gather more info and have a cursory glance around the porch area.

    Meanwhile, Holmes puffing his pipe, hands tied behind his back, inspected the room. The bed seemed to be close to the window and is bang opposite to the door. There was a small table near the bed and a big cupboard next to it. Holmes knelt beneath the bed and the table to check for clues. Other than few pencil shavings there was nothing more. The cupboard seem to have Helena’s clothes. Books had been scattered around on the table. it had a couple of sharpened pencils, a sharpener and a open pencil box. the curious thing was they all had polka dots on them. The table also had a small pink alarm clock. It seem to have been set to 6:30 am. “Has anything been moved in the room?” enquired Holmes. “No” replied Lady Florence. Poirot put his head out of the window examining the house garden. the gardens were filled with variety of colored roses – red, blue, white interspersed with animal shaped Topiaries. There were footpaths cris crossing between them. Ideal place for a evening stroll. “How frequently are the gardens watered?” “The gardner finishes his job around evening and waters the plants last before he leaves for the day at around 7pm” “You have a beautiful garden Mademoiselle” complemented Poirot to Lady Florence. “Shall we question the household now Lady Florence” asked Holmes “Sure” replied Lady Florence. “We can do it in the library” suggested Poirot.

    Walking down the stairs, Poirot asked Hastings his opinion, “I have to go with what Watson suggested. It looks like a clear case of kidnapping. But what puzzles me is the lack of the note or any demand of ransom whatsoever.” They reached the library.

    Holmes and Poirot called in each member of the household, asked them where they were at all times from last night to today morning. The head butler, who had a restless sleep, went out around 1:00am to smoke, keeping the back door open. He said he was in the stables near the horses. The maids complained of hearing the horses neigh during the night. The nanny had knocked Helena’s door around 6:45am which the housekeeper confirmed, having met her in her quarters just after that. The chauffeur had left at the evening and was back at the house only around the office time of Lord Melbourne.

    The sun started to set and the gardens were filled with long shadows and the house with long faces. The detectives and family members assembled in the garden for Tea. The kids started to return after their search. Pam and Barbara were all very excited and had been exchanging hushed appreciation to each other. Janet was holding what looked like a cloth in her hand. Trenton grabbed it from Janet and exclaimed “This is the dress Helena was wearing yesterday night” . Unlike the girls the boys Julian, Dick and Anne did not find anything except that the oak trees are being cut and piled up in large pits near the forest. Scampers sniffing trail did not yield any results. Colin and George came running from the front porch with a large paper in their hand. “We found it in the porch, after we talked to the front gate guards. Somebody must have thrown it there wrapped in a stone. It looks like a Ransom demand.” The letter demanded Lord Melbourne to pay a ransom for his daughters life before 10 am tomorrow at dilapidated boat house near the river.

    “There it is” exclaimed Hasting reaching for the Ransom letter. It had letters clipped from a newspaper and did not have any name “Who are your rivals Lord Melbourne? Do you suspect anyone?” enquired Watson. “Probably we should list all the suspects” joined in Hastings. “On after thought, why did the kidnapper bolt the door before he left. It does not make sense.” questioned Watson. “Probably a precaution, if he woke up the household by mistake” replied Hastings. Holmes hearing this conversation interrupted with a query “You mentioned Helena was under stress recently. Does she sleep properly at night?” “She usually has a good …” started Lord Melbourne. But Lady Florence interrupted “I had observed her getting out of bed during nights. I assumed she was hungry and usually give her some cookies and put her back to bed.”

    Holmes and Poirot exchanged glances. Things seem to have fallen into place. Holmes immediately rushed into the house. Poirot summoned all the household staff to the garden. He questioned the nanny about what she said to the housekeeper. Hearing this the housekeeper started to run towards the forest. On instruction from Holmes, Inspector Clouseau had brought down his men and had them placed, two near the front gate and two near the back yard of the forrest. The housekeeper was nabbed. After a while, Holmes was jogging from the backyard carrying Helena on his shoulders. She was hurt badly and was immediately driven to the hospital.

    After thing got settled, Watson and Hasting looked at the detectives for an explanation.

    Poirot: “The curious thing about this case is, at the start every thing looked normal.”
    Holmes: “The room had not been disturbed. There had been no sign of struggle, since the bed was clean. The floors did not have any new foot prints or boot marks. The windows did not have any fingerprints.”
    Poirot: “The kidnapper must have been a clever one being so meticulous, not even to leave a footprint in the wet mud below the window.”
    Holmes: “Helena was seen last by her mother after dinner. The alarm clock did not wake her up at 6:30am which limits the time from night 8pm to morning 6:30am.”
    Poirot: “However, the butler had gone out to smoke and did not have a proper sleep till 1:00am, which narrows the time further down since the butler room is next to Helena’s.”
    Holmes: “Also, the kidnapper waited till the evening to drop a ransom note making things even more complicated. If his intention is to request for ransom why not do it when he kidnapped Helena”
    Poirot: “So either it is a pretty complicated case”
    Holmes: “Or two simple different events”
    Poirot: “Helena was under stress for the last few weeks and was not sleeping properly at nights causing her to sleepwalk.The stairs from her room lead directly in front of the back door, which the head butler had kept open for his smoke.”
    Holmes: “I rushed into the house to trace her steps. Julian mentioned that large pits have been dug for storing the cut oak trees. Suspecting that she must have fallen into one of them, I searched it and found her there”
    Poirot: “The housekeeper hearing from the nanny that Helena was not awake, must have checked the room. Found that Helena was missing, would have tried to take advantage of the situation.”
    Holmes: “He must have bolted the door from inside from outside using a the good old trick, to raise suspicion”
    Poirot: “However, he wanted to make sure it was not a actual kidnap and so waited till the evening to deliver the message”

    “But what about the Pink Polka dot dress we found in the Garden” enquired Janet.
    Holmes: “To create more suspicion, he must have taken another similar dress from her cupboard and dropped it in the garden. Helena seem to have a liking for polka dots and pink color” smiled Holmes

    Poirot to Hastings “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.”

    ‘How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?’ said Holmes to Watson

    Like

    • Hi Nitthilan,

      Thanks for this. This is probably one of the few occasions when there are more detectives than suspects at a crime scene! By my count, there are sixteen detectives investigating one crime. Surely that’s a first 🙂

      I like the idea behind getting two or three detectives together – much like the justice league of superheroes. I wonder why Christie did not write a novel or two featuring BOTH Poirot and Marple. Surely it would have been a perfect marketing trick, and also the story would have been something.

      It’s a little long, yes, and it could do with an edit, but I liked a few parts to this story. Thanks again for sharing.

      Like

  15. Thanks for hosting the contest on your wonderful blog, Sharath.

    I had a great time going through the entries. Thank you everyone for participating.

    Like

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