Archive for April, 2018

Murder in Paharganj

April 29, 2018

Book : Murder in Paharganj

Author: Kulpreet Yadav

Rating: 3 / 5


On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi. Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel’s receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It’s the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals. Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival. If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.


I won this book in a Twitter giveaway, thanks to the author for the review copy. 

A white woman is murdered in a hotel in Paharganj. Vicks Menon, an investigative journalist gets informed of this by his friend Raju who works at the hotel. Vicks who was fired from his job as he is an alcoholic delivers the scoop to his ex boss in hopes of getting his job back. His girlfriend, Tonya is a clinical psychologist also left him because he was getting lost in alcohol after he lost his job. Tonya also does criminal profiling for the Delhi police. The only lead Vicks has of the murder is a one way ticket from Udaipur to Delhi which he found at the crime scene. Vicks seeks Tonya’s help to catch the killer. Meanwhile the police are after Vicks, as they came to know he was at the crime scene. 

Who is the white woman?
Why was she killed?

Will this story get Vicks his job back?

Read to find out

It is a fast paced novel. I am a big fan of suspense thrillers since I love playing detective. I don’t like the ones much where we know who the killer is, hence the 3 stars. In this story we are aware of the killer, and the thrill is to connect the dots. We get to see things from the killer’s perspective too. I found the name Vicks Menon, hilarious, reminded me of Vicks of course. The starting was very promising, felt that the ending was too rushed.
Recommended for people who love fast paced reads 

Murder at the Vicarage

April 28, 2018

Book : Murder at the Vicarage

Author: Agatha Christie

Rating: 4 /5


The murder of Colonel Protheroe — shot through the head — is a shock to everyone in St Mary Mead, though hardly an unpleasant one. Now even the vicar, who had declared that killing the detested Protheroe would be ‘doing the world at large a favour,’ is a suspect — the Colonel has been dispatched in the clergyman’s study, no less. But the picturesque English village of St Mary Mead is overpopulated with suspects. There is of course the faithless Mrs Protheroe; and there is of course her young lover — an artist, to boot.

Perhaps more surprising than the revelation of the murderer is the detective who will crack the case: ‘a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner.’ Miss Jane Marple has arrived on the scene, and crime literature’s private men’s club of great detectives will never be the same.


The story is narrated by the Vicar, Mr Clement of  the village of St Mary Mead. This is the first Miss Marple mystery , and the second one which i’m reading. Colonel Protheroe, who is disliked by all,gets murdered at the Vicarage while he is waiting to discuss something with the Vicar. Miss Marple lives right next to the vicarage. The artist Lawrence Redding and Mrs Protheroe are in love. Though the suspicion first falls on Lawrence Redding and Mrs Prothereo as that is the obvious motive, some facts don’t match up. We are on the journey to find the murderer along with the Vicar and Miss Marple. 

Who killed the Colonel? 

Why was he killed? 

Read to find out. 

The story starts off slow, there were times i wanted to abandon it. But after the murder it becomes interesting. As i already said before i admire Miss Marple skills of observation and deduction . The parallels she draws between people are interesting. Marple declares that she has seven suspects and that she knows whodunit, this statement leaves us wondering. The need to find the killer she found out so easily does make the book interesting 

Background on the Agatha Christie Readathon

I have read very few of Agatha Christie’s books even though i’m an avid mystery lover, so when i saw that James was conducting an Agatha Christie Readathon i jumped at the chance. As part of the readathon , we will be reading 4 books , 1 book each week and review will put up on Saturdays . I missed the first one , this is the list

  • The Secret Adversary ( Read by 4/6 Review by 4/7 ) Week 1
  • Peril at End House ( Read by 4/13 Review by 4/14 ) Week 2
  • The Body in the Library ( Read by 4/20 Review by 4/21 ) Week 3
  • Murder at the Vicarage ( Read by 4/27 Review by 4/28 ) Week 4

The Brahmin

April 27, 2018

Book : The Brahmin

Author: Ravi Shankar Etteth

Rating: 4.5 / 5


The empire is ruled with an iron hand, masterminded by Emperor Ashok. But his kingdom is under siege and even his able spymaster, the enigmatically named Brahmin, is baffled by the murders that have shocked the concubines’ quarters. Who is behind the gruesome deaths and what is their purpose?

Lush with historical detail and unforgettable characters, The Brahmin is an intelligently plotted novel that seeks to recreate a near mythical period in India’s past.


Thanks to Writersmelon and Westland Books for the review copy

The year is 267 bc, Ashoka  is the ruler of the Mauryan Empire.The Brahmin who was a pupil of Chanakya,is Ashoka’s Spymaster. When one of the king’s concubines are found murdered, the king gives the Brahmin a week to find the murderer. A kovidara or blood flower is found  inside a cestus (gloves used by Greeks)at the scene. Queen Asandhimitra, Ashoka’s favourite queen wears cestus, the Brahmin suspects that she may know something about the murder. Also the kovidara is the calling card of the most famous assassin , The Blood Flower. We are in the time in history where Ashoka is about to go to war to Kalinga.  The Brahmin suspects that the Kalingans have sent the Blood flower to kill Ashoka.When murders follow the brahmin has to untangle the mystery and bring justice to the dead.

Why was the concubine killed?

What does the Queen know ?

Are the Kalingans responsible for this?

Read to find out.

I didn’t have much expectations about this book, but once i started reading, fell in love with it .A fast paced, thrilling read. It is a mix of historical fiction and suspense thriller. The story has lots of twists, though i was able to guess few of them, some surprised me. I have only read about Ashoka in my history books, though history does suggest that the Ashoka pre Kalinga war was a warmonger and cruel, I guess I never pictured him like that. We get to see a side of Ashoka which is not much talked about. A man who would go to any lengths to conquer the whole world. I like strong independent queens, and Queen Asandhimitra was that much more. I loved how the court is described, the pictures came alive in my mind. The author has described about the impact Greek culture has on the people of Magadha, i found that fascinating. I would love to read more of Ravi Shankar Etteth.

Recommended for historical fiction and suspense thriller readers

About the author

Ravi Shankar Etteth, professionally known by his full name, or as Ravi Shankar is an Indian author and cartoonist.

He was born in PalakkadKerala and is a nephew of the cartoonist and author O. V. Vijayan.

His first cartoon appeared in Link. He worked for Indian Express on a contract basis, and as the staff cartoonist. In 1990, he became the Creative Directir of the Observer Group of Publications. He later became the deputy editor of India Today. He was also art director of the magazine. He edited the afternoon tabloid Today and is the founder editor of India Today Spice. He has worked In television as the Editor in Chief and CEO of Voice of India. He was also the Editorial Director of Media Transasia.

In 1996, Etteth published his first book of short stories The Scream of the Dragonflies. By 2002, Etteth claimed he had retired from political cartooning for all practical purposes, and chose to describe himself as a writer and art director.[1] He is the author of four novels The Tiger by the Rivet, The Village of the Widows, The Gold of Their Regrets and The Book of Shiva. He has also written two books on Kerala; one with the artist Paresh Maity.

He is a columnist and editor with The New Indian Express, based in New Delhi.


Beneath an Indian Sky

April 23, 2018

Book : Beneath an Indian Sky

Author: Renita D’Silva

Rating: 4/ 5



An unforgettable and heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and family secrets. In colonial India a young woman finds herself faced with an impossible choice, the consequences of which will echo through the generations…

1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…

2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…

A breathtaking journey through India from British rule to Independence and beyond; a world of green hills, cardamom-scented air, and gold thread glinting in the sun, brought to life by Renita D’Silva’s exquisite writing. If you love Kathryn Hughes, Dinah Jefferies or Kristin Hannah, this is the novel for you.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Bookouture) for providing me an eARC

It is the story of two friends Sita and Mary. Sita who wants to learn, make a difference to the world, but is shackled by the norms set by the Indian society. Mary, the daughter of the Deputy Commissioner, who  has all the freedom in the world, but loves to abide by rules. Sita parents want to marry her off,  whereas Mary wants to get married and live happily. They feel trapped in their lives. A tragedy tears them apart and Mary is sent to England . Sita catches the attention of the crown prince and gets married . Mary comes back 10 years later to relive her memories of India. Interspersed with these narratives there is Priya who has betrayed by her husband. When fate brings all 3 three women together, a family secret is revealed .

What was the tragedy that made Mary go back to England ?

Did Mary meet Sita 10 years later ?

What is the family secret ?

Read to find out .

I loved the characters, they seemed real as they had flaws. The story is fast paced and keeps you engrossed. I felt so bad for Mary,for all the tragedies that happened in her life.  I can’t decide whether i love Sita or not, i did feel bad for her sometimes , but there were times when i was angry with her too. The helplessness of Indian women is  described pretty well. It is a story which talks about love,betrayal,abuse of power,grief and loss. The story was predictable at times, but still i enjoyed it . I would like to read more of Renita D’Silva

Favourite Quotes

“No human can converse as wisely and eloquently as a book”

About the author

Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’, ‘The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’.

The Body in the Library

April 21, 2018

Book : The Body in the Library

Author: Agatha Christie

Rating: 4/5

bodyin lib


Colonel Bantry has found the strangled body of an exotic blonde bombshell lying on his library hearth – and the neighbors are beginning to talk! When Miss Marple takes an interest, though, things begin to move along nicely, and its all far more convoluted – and sordid – than the genteel Bantrys could have imagined.

A curmudgeonly financier, his self-absorbed adult children, a couple of pragmatic and clever hotel workers, tons of money and influence, a wild local lad, some smitten girls, the film business, mix into a classic Christie plot filled with twists, turns, and double-backs galore. Plus the glorious settings of A Great House, a fancy Hotel, and an excessively genteel little village, and let’s not forget Miss Marple…


When a body is found in Colonel Bantry’s house,his wife calls Miss Marple for help . Initially no one knows who the identity of the girl whose body has been found, everyone suspects that she is one of Basil Blake , the filmmaker’s blondes. Later  by a missing person’s report  we understand that the girl was a dancer, Ruby Keene from Gossington Hall. Miss Marple and Mrs Bantry go there  to find the culprit .

Who killed the girl ?

Why was she put in Bantry’s library ?

Read to find out

This is my first Miss Marple, so far i had only read  Hercule Poirot and stand alone ones . I don’t know why but i always that Miss Marple was young , maybe because of the tag “Miss”, so i was surprised to meet a elderly woman. The mystery which starts off with an unknown dead body leads us to inheritances. Even with the motive , it was difficult to pinpoint on the killer. Miss Marple ‘s observation and deduction skills are noteworthy. Though I did suspect the murderer, couldn’t join all the dots. Overall an enjoyable read.

Background on the Agatha Christie Readathon

I have read very few of Agatha Christie’s books even though i’m an avid mystery lover, so when i saw that James was conducting an Agatha Christie Readathon i jumped at the chance. As part of the readathon , we will be reading 4 books , 1 book each week and review will put up on Saturdays . I missed the first one , this is the list

  • The Secret Adversary ( Read by 4/6 Review by 4/7 ) Week 1
  • Peril at End House ( Read by 4/13 Review by 4/14 ) Week 2
  • The Body in the Library ( Read by 4/20 Review by 4/21 ) Week 3
  • Murder at the Vicarage ( Read by 4/27 Review by 4/28 ) Week 4


From Quetta to Delhi

April 17, 2018

Book : From Quetta to Delhi

Author: Reena Nanda

Rating: 4/5


The lilting rhythms of Punjabi folk songs, the Siapewalli, and Naani wailing about her bad kismet caused by the chudail and dain. Partition changed the old traditions of Punjabiyat but in the pages of this book they come alive…

The invisible cost of the Partition of the Punjab in 1947 —besides the violence, loss of life and property—was that it destroyed the psychic equilibrium of the displaced population. This is the story of one such woman, Shakunt, who rebuilt her life but could never get over the trauma of losing her homes in Quetta and Jhang—not just the loss of a physical space but of the language, culture and ethos that it had embodied: A syncretic culture of multilingualism—Urdu, Persian and Punjabi—and of multiple identities of caste, mohalla and religion.

But then there was the disaster of the Quetta Earthquake of l935, and of Partition, which tore the family apart because her father chose to remain in Quetta as a member of the Pakistan Civil Service.

Shakunt coped with her mental distress by escaping into the past, reliving the memories of her life in Quetta and Jhang. Hers was a feminine recall of the perhaps insignificant yet poignant details of daily lives which hinged on the drama of the trivial—on food, rituals and neighbourhood bonding. Of an agnostic father, a mother who was a devotee of Guru Nanak, of pilgrimages to Sufi shrines. This is Shakunt’s story as recorded by her daughter.


Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy

The story starts off  in 1947 ,with the Partition of India and Pakistan, when Quetta becomes part of Pakistan,and the Hindus are forced to migrate to India .The author takes us through the life of her mother, Shakunt and her ancestors. The narrative takes us through the partition and later to Shakunt’s life in Quetta.

Lala Ramlal Sehgal and his family move from Jhang to Quetta in 1897. At the wedding of his first daughter Lalaji meets Sawan Mal Malik , who looking to move out of Jhang.Eventually Sawan Mal Malik marries his second daughter , Ramditi and moves to Quetta. In 1919, their first child,the author’s mother,Shakunt is born. Shakunt’s childhood is vividly described and it read like a memoir.

I love how Shakunt life is described. Being an Indian it was easy to relate to the “buri nazar” and the rules which girls are supposed to follow. I loved Sawan for being the non-religious and modern father. The story brings about the impact partition had on the lives of people,who were forced to migrate to India as they were Hindus ,how the people living in harmony turned into blood thirsty. The writing brings alive the traditions and the superstitions

I haven’t read any books on  India-Pakistan partition , though i have seen movies of the same. The story doesn’t focus more on the violence that happened at that time , but rather at the harmony in which people of different religions and cultures lived together in Quetta. It leaves you sad and wanting for more .It is a short beautiful book, one i would love to reread. In between the pages there are couplets from Punjabi songs , which had translation below them, they were beautiful.




Peril at End House

April 14, 2018

Book : Peril at End House

Author: Agatha Christie

Rating: 4/5


Hercule Poirot is vacationing on the Cornish coast when he meets Nick Buckly. Nick is the young and reckless mistress of End House, an imposing structure perched on the rocky cliffs of St. Loo.

Poirot has taken a particular interest in the young woman who has recently narrowly escaped a series of life-threatening accidents. Something tells the Belgian sleuth that these so-called accidents are more than just mere coincidences or a spate of bad luck. It seems all too clear to him that someone is trying to do away with poor Nick, but who? And, what is the motive? In his quest for answers, Poirot must delve into the dark history of End House. The deeper he gets into his investigation, the more certain he is that the killer will soon strike again. And, this time, Nick may not escape with her life.


The book starts with Hercule Poirot on vacation with Captain Hastings .  This is the eight book in the Poirot series.They meet a young woman Nick Buckley who lives at the End House .  End House is an old mansion in need of repair ,Nick lives there with the house keeper Ellen and her family .Poirot learns that Nick has narrowly escaped from death 3-4 times , he is sure that they are not mere accidents. Poirot invests himself in finding the miscreant .As the usual motives jealousy and money doesn’t apply in the current case Poirot is stumped.

Why is someone trying to kill Nick ?

Will Poirot find the person responsible?

Read to find out

When you have read too many murder mysteries , you know the murderer is the person who is least suspected . But i still didnt find the killer , i did suspect that the murder was intended. Eventhough Hercule Poirot was “too modest” , i loved the fact that he made list of suspects,but that probably is the reason we would overlook the actual killer.It did remind of the other Agatha Christie novel , and i feel bad for not having discovered the killer sooner.

Background on the Agatha Christie Readathon

I have read very few of Agatha Christie’s books even though i’m an avid mystery lover, so when i saw that James was conducting an Agatha Christie Readathon i jumped at the chance. As part of the readathon , we will be reading 4 books , 1 book each week and review will put up on Saturdays . I missed the first one , this is the list

  • The Secret Adversary ( Read by 4/6 Review by 4/7 ) Week 1
  • Peril at End House ( Read by 4/13 Review by 4/14 ) Week 2
  • The Body in the Library ( Read by 4/20 Review by 4/21 ) Week 3
  • Murder at the Vicarage ( Read by 4/27 Review by 4/28 ) Week 4



Earth to Centauri : The First Journey

April 11, 2018


Book : Earth to Centauri : The First Journey

Author: Kumar L

Rating: 3 / 5


An alien signal has been received on Earth but what does it mean? Why and who has used an archaic code to send the message? Spaceship Antariksh lead by Captain Anara is on the way to the origin of the signal. She is prepared for a mission of exploration in the first journey from Earth into interstellar space, to make contact with beings from another planet.

But when her ship is outgunned in an attack she and her crew must find ways to counter the threat even when she discovers that someone on her crew has been keeping secrets from her. When they finally approach their destination 4.2 lightyears away, it turns out there are even more mysteries to be uncovered … the truth is stranger than anything they ever imagined!

Will a thrilling chase across interstellar chase reveal the secrets or will the crew of Antariksh face death and destruction in face of unsurmountable odds?


Thanks to The Book Planet PR team for providing me a eARC

The year is 2117, India has sent Antariksh into space. Antariksh was sent into space as we had received a signal from outer space. The search to know if there are more people like us, has always been mankind’s mission. We always eager to know if there are aliens out there .So when a SOS signal is received from the outer space, the ship Antariksh is sent out.  Captain Anara is chosen for this mission , she along with her team attempt to travel 4.2 Light years to reach Proxima B, from where the signal is supposedly from. The narrative weaves between past and present,so we get to know about the events that took place which led to the mission . During the journey Anara realises that there is some issue with the ship’s AI ,Narada.On the way to Proxima B they are attacked by aliens,Anara is confused why they would sent an SOS signal and try to attack the people who came to help

Who sent the SOS signal?

What is wrong with the AI?

Do the Aliens want help ?

Read to find out

This is my first sci-fi novel it reminded me of Hollywood movies. I felt it was little too technical, maybe that is expected of science fiction novels. The starting reminded me of Illuminae, because of the AI malfunction. It is fast paced and I enjoyed it. I loved the names of the protagonists mainly Anara,Antariksh and Narada. Favourite character Anara , it was good to see a string female character.Looking forward to read the next book in the series .

Recommended for Sci fi lovers

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Men and Dreams in Dhauladhar

April 8, 2018

Book : Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

Author: Kochery Shbhu

Rating: 3.5/5


A Hydel project in the remote Himalayas- three people brought together by fate.

Nanda an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site, hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love for his dear ones, and the kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a youth displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot that threatens to blow up the dam, working as a labourer at the site.
Rekha, a kathak dancer at heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.

All throng the campsite like moths to a flame, some escape untouched,successful;some miss a step and perish. each has a story to tell and a dream to realise. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is about the aspirations of these people, with their cares and worries woven to the site life. The fury of nature and hardships of project life have no mercy for the weak and no time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their lives and limb in the quest to fulfil their dreams.


The story talks of three people who come to Dhauladhar to fulfill their dreams. I guess this is a popular concept, three people from different walks of life meet at a event. Nanda, the engineer who has joined the AM Hydro Project, he is  from Kerala, and is hiding from the police. Khusru, a Kashmiri youth, who was abandoned by his parents. Rekha a doctor and a kathak dancer. All of them meet at the ranges of Dhauladhar. The story takes us through the life of the laborers at the dam construction site and also of the stories of the protoganists. It presents an in depth technical view of the dam construction. In the meanwhile there is a terrorist plan to blow up the dam.
Why is Nanda hiding from the police?

Will the Dam construction complete successfully?

Will the terrorists manage to blow up the dam?

Read to find out

Whenever a character is introduced, the author describes their history and their ancestry , I found that interesting. The portrayal of characters is done well. The plot starts pretty late in the story, and I felt that the end was little too rushed. I loved Nanda ‘s backstory, as i’m from Kerala it was easy to connect with it. I’m still surprised at how Rekha falls in love with her kidnapper, that too overnight. Most of the chapters end with someone talking to Dhauladhar ranges, I didn’t understand the significance of that part.  The book needed a glossary at the end as some of the Hindi words didn’t have translations. Eventhough the book had loads of descriptions I enjoyed it, except for the technical descriptions about the dam construction.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle 

April 3, 2018

Book : The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Truton

Rating: 4.5/5


How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher( Sourcebook Landmark) for the review copy

A man wakes up with no memories just a name on his lips “Anna”. He is lost in a forest and watches a murder happen. The murderer hands him a compass which leads him to Blackheath. He  realizes that his name is Sebastian Bell and that he has come to attend a party thrown by the Hardcastle family to welcome back their daughter, Evelyn Hardcastle. Then someone informs him that he is stuck in Blackheath until he solves Evelyn ‘s murder which is about to happen , he has  8 chances to solve it, each day he wakes up as a different person. If by the 8th day he  is not able to solve the murder, he is stripped of his memories and the loop starts off all over again. In time he understands that his name is Aiden.
Can Aiden solve the murder of Evelyn?

How did  he reach Blackheath?

Who is Anna?

Read to find out
It was a thrilling read. The title and the blurb had me hooked from the beginning. But the first chapter was pretty confusing so I didn’t continue reading. I’m glad I gave it a second try.  Once you know your way around,the book is unputdownable. There were times when I was confused as hell, but at the end all the puzzle pieces fit together.Hats off to the author’s imagination and the way how he connects all the dots. Even though the climax has some great twists, I felt something was missing.  It is recommended to read the book in one sitting so that you don’t forget all the clues left by the author. Even though the law of crime thrillers say that the person whom you least expect will be the killer, the twists surprised me.It reminded me of Agatha Christie novels.
Recommended for suspense thriller readers