Sunday, October 29, 2006

Moonlight Becomes You

After The Kite Runner, which was one of the very few books that made a significant impact on me (more on The Kite Runner in my subsequent post), I hadn’t read in a while until Mary Higgins Clark came along. I haven’t read any books of hers before this one and being an ardent reader of whodunits, I wanted to give this book a try. It’s called Moonlight Becomes You. At first, looking at the title and all, I thought it had a lot to do with romance (the sleazy M&B kind of romance, if you know what I mean), but no, this one was a full-length crime novel that unveils itself by unraveling the mystery of continuous deaths.

However interesting Stephen King can get, I’ve never really cared to read any of his nauseating, disgusting, gross ….. (call it what you may) books. But with this particular work by Ms. Clark, I had to perpetually tell myself “Don’t forget to breathe!” What amazed me most about this book is the plot around which the storyline is woven. The author starts her tale by giving an account of a very peculiar age-old tradition which was followed by the rich in the Victorian age. Legend has it that Victorians were so afraid of being buried alive, that they used to tie a string around the finger of the dead before they were interred and the string would stretch right through the casket above the ground where they were buried. The string would then be tied to a bell. The grave would be patrolled by a guard for seven days to see if the bell rang, which would signify that the person is actually alive.

Only in this story, the young lady who has been buried alive by someone with a macabre sense of humor, in much the same manner as was done in the Victorian ages, knows for sure that there is no guard on her grave to listen to her even if she screamed out loud. The most chilling part of the narrative is when you discover that the clapper on the bell above her grave is missing, which means that however much hard she tries to tug at the string, the bell would not ring!!

I should mention that notwithstanding how repellent the above account may sound, the book sure was un-put-down-able. It grabs you from page one and never lets go of the suspense until the last chapter. I read it while on my way to Calcutta and completed it within the 30 hour train journey which included a lot of fooling around and playing cards.

My next book of Mary Higgins Clark is called “I’ll Be Seeing You” which I’m not going to be seeing or reading anytime soon. No more night-reading and no more nightmares of me getting stuck inside a chilling casket; not for another couple of months!!


supernova said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

Miss Iyer said...

yep, but scary too :|