Mary Morstan has been receiving large pearls in the mail from an unknown source since her father's death. She contacts Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson aMary Morstan has been receiving large pearls in the mail from an unknown source since her father's death. She contacts Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson after she receives a letter to meet with an anonymous person to right an injustice done to her. An unusual man, Thaddeus Sholto, tells the trio that Mary is one of the heirs to a treasure. As they go to meet with a Sholto family member, they come upon a murder victim in a locked room.
The plot is complex with elements of the crook's confession going all the way back to the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Like much literature of the 19th Century when Great Britain was a colonial power, the book does come across as racist toward the native people. However, Indian art objects and clothing are depicted as beautiful and exotic.
Holmes is brilliant and an observer of the smallest details as he solves the murder. Watson is warm and caring as he falls in love with Mary Morstan, and acts as Holmes faithful assistant. Holmes has no use for love and says, "Love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true, cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment."
The mystery was entertaining with the wonderful partnership of Holmes and Watson, as well as other interesting characters. The London detective work was great, but the plot got overly convoluted when it worked back to India in the criminal's confession. 3 1/2 stars....more
Gabriel García Márquez is usually associated with his novels containing elements of magical realism, but he was a reporter in his younger days. In "NeGabriel García Márquez is usually associated with his novels containing elements of magical realism, but he was a reporter in his younger days. In "News of a Kidnapping" he returns to nonfiction to tell the story of ten hostages who were kidnapped by the wealthy Medellin drug cartel in Colombia. Pablo Escobar used the hostages to bargain with the Colombian government when he feared he would be extradited to the United States in 1990 for drug crimes. The city of Medellin, where the drug cartel was based, was full of violence with hundreds of policemen and members of the drug cartel killed each month.
In addition to the harrowing accounts of the captives, the book shows how the families, government officials, and an elderly saintly priest worked out a solution with Escobar. It was especially moving to read how a husband acted as one of the chief intermediaries between Escobar and the government, hoping for the release of his kidnapped wife and putting his own life at risk. After the first captive was killed, I was on edge wondering what the fate of the others would be. This well written book shows how Escobar kept the country of Colombia emotionally and politically hostage in his efforts to avoid extradition....more
After seeing the movie "Out of Africa" for the second time recently, I wondered if I would enjoy the book as well. Not to worry, the book is even bettAfter seeing the movie "Out of Africa" for the second time recently, I wondered if I would enjoy the book as well. Not to worry, the book is even better since the author was a keen observer and an accomplished storyteller.
Isak Dinesen is the pen name for the Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke who came from Denmark to British East Africa (Kenya) with her husband in 1914. Although they soon separated, Dinesen stayed to run a large coffee plantation near Nairobi. She tells stories about the customs of the native workers on the farm, the beauty of the Ngong Hills, and her British neighbors. The most important person in her life was the charismatic big game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton who tragically died in a plane crash in 1931. Unfortunately, the coffee plantation failed in the same year, and Dinesen had to leave her farm and return to Denmark. She brought back a wealth of stories with her, and published "Out of Africa" in 1937.
This book has to be read as a book written in the 1920s since it's not always politically correct by today's standards. I did cringe when Dinesen wrote about trophy hunting, although I could understand when they shot wild animals killing their lifestock. The author came across as an energetic, kind person who helped the natives with their medical problems and tried to learn about their culture. Earlier, the colonial powers had taken over land that once belonged to the native people. Dinesen made a real effort to find land for her employees to settle on after her farm was sold. This was an especially interesting memoir written by a warm, talented woman. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars....more