Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Book Review: Death Under The Deodars by Ruskin Bond.

Book: Death Under The Deodars

Author: Ruskin Bond

Pages: 208

Read On: Hardback

Publisher: Penguin Random House India 

How Long it Took Me to Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: It was death at first sight . . .

Miss Ripley-Bean was sitting on a bench beneath the deodars, having a quiet moment to herself, when suddenly two shadows, larger than life, appeared on the outside wall; they were struggling with each other. Only afterwards, when a dead body was discovered, did Miss Ripley-Bean realize she had witnessed a murder – and that the murderer had seen her . . .

In this marvellous collection of brand-new stories set in the Mussoorie of a bygone era, Ruskin Bond recounts the deliciously sinister cases of a murdered priest, an adulterous couple, a man who is born evil and the body in the box bed; not to forget the strange happenings involving the arsenic in the post, the strychnine in the cognac, a mysterious black dog and the Daryaganj strangler.

As the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean, her Tibetan terrier Fluff, her good friend Mr Lobo, the hotel pianist and Nandu, the owner of the Royal, mull over the curious murders, the reader will be enthralled and delighted – until the murderer is finally revealed.

General Thoughts: New stories from one of my favourite writers! Yes please!
I couldn't wait to read these stories! I've read so many short story collections from Ruskin Bond that I've re-read (not that I mind much) several of his stories in different books, having 8 new stories to feast on was a pleasure!

Things I Liked: 

1. It's a no brainer really but I loved the writing. It is by no means Bond's best work, no. But it is still lovely.

2. The setting of this book is perfect, to me at least! Mussoorie, an old hotel from the times of the Raj and murder and mystery and eeriness in the air. What's not to love?!

3. Miss Ripley-Bean is a gem of a character. She is elderly but sharp and insightful and notices everything that goes on around her. Yet she is no Miss Marple, she doesn't go out of her way to solve crimes or investigate sticky situations. She just is. And she is wonderful. I really hope there are more stories about her in the future.

4. The stories in this book are fairly varied. Some are outright murder mysteries while others are some slight observations about people and situations.

5. There is also a ghost story in the mix which I loved so much.

6. I honestly liked all of the stories in this collection. Really good!

7. This was such a comforting and soothing read, this is something I expect from all of Ruskin Bond's books and this one was not lacking in this department at all.

8. Certain characters are recurring in the stories, Miss Bean herself but also Mr. Lobo- the pianist at the hotel and the owner of the hotel- Nandu. All of these characters are well crafted and fleshed out superbly. They are also immensely likeable.

Rating: 5/5

I am a little biased when it comes to Ruskin Bond's book but that notwithstanding, this is still a wonderful book to spend a cozy weekend with. It makes me want to run to the hills, find a comfortable armchair and read more stories like this.

So good!

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