My third read of 2021 promised to be a thrilling, goosebumps-ride all the way. I got a good dose of the anticipated thrill, and then some. Compiled by none other than one of the best storytellers of all time, Ruskin Bond has picked the very best of murder stories, to take us on a journey reminiscent of Agatha Christie's genius.
Eight stories by some of the best thriller authors take readers on a breathless ride. Stacy Aumonier's A Perfect Murder is woven in brilliance. I'd already read the second story multiple times: The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but didn't hesitate to relive the lines again.
However, not surprisingly, I loved the one penned by Ruskin Bond himself, He Said it with Arsenic most of all. Typical of the author, the autobiographical element leaves us breathless by the climax.
Spolier alert: I do not know if the story is mere fiction, (I hope it is!) but being an ardent fan of the master story-teller, I thanked my stars for the author's sharp instincts and astute capacity to steer clear of a horrible death, especially so early on in his writing career.
The other stories are good as well, but the one that is sure to leave large goosebumps on one's skin is The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes. Each moment of mounting danger and revelation, renders the suspense unbearable.
The last one by none other than the master of horror, Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado leaves us snapping the book shut with a long-drawn breath to recoup, as is typical of all his writes.
Overall, a must-read for all thriller lovers. I rate it 4.8/5. After all, this is a compilation by the best of the best.
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Happy reading, readers.