Tuesday, November 29, 2016

An Ear to the Ground by James Hadley Chase

Rating: 3/5
Read between 13th,November,2016 to 16th, November,2016

Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 168
Publisher: Master Mind Books
ISBN: 9788184680928

First Sentence:
I had this story from Al Barney, a beer sodden beachcomber who haunts the waterfront of Paradise City, always on the look out for a sucker to buy him a beer.

He was in Paradise City to enjoy the success of his first novel. It was cold in New york and the writer had enough money to spend a month at the beach.The writer is advised by Jean Dulac, the manager of his hotel, to meet Al Barney a beach comber and drunk who used to have the most interesting stories to tell in Paradise city. He finds the idea interesting and meets Al Barney.

And Al Barney decides to tell him the story of the Esmaldi necklace which had happened two years before the writer met Al Barney. This particular necklace was worth $350,000. It was made of 100 matched diamonds the size of garden peas, set in platinum. In other words it was something for which people could kill for. And they did.

So, Al Barney, who he keeps his ears on the ground and hence knows stuff that others don't know, tells the writer a story about Esmaldi necklace, a group of jewel thieves, a rich heiress,jealous lovers and a murder.

What's the story, you ask? Well, read the book to find out.

I have always enjoyed reading James Hadley Chase. His thrillers are always a treat to read. An ear to the ground is a fast paced read that has all the ingredients of a good thriller. There are thieves who plan to steal jewelries worth 1 million, cheating husband, jealous lovers, private investigators, in short every thing that make this book an unputdownable read.

Now, if you have read James Hadley Chase then you'd know that the guy is known for his brevity. And this one is no different. The story line is taut and he just gets to the point. The characters are well drawn according to the story. I liked that it had a female, Martha, as the mastermind of the crew who does the thefts. Also, the conflict between the two hot heads in the crew that is Johnny and Martha was entertaining to read.

But there were few things that i didn't like in the book. The story is fast paced, there is no doubt about it, but it's written in such a way that i knew what was going to happen. The suspense as to who did the murder was also something that i knew about. The ending too was something that i didn't like. It's like that Chase wanted to give a message that guilty would be punished.

Also in the starting of the book the narrator says:

'I want you to understand mister', Al Barney said to me as the barman brought his fifth refill of beer,"that i'm inclined to add a little colour to my stories. If i could spell, i'd  write books myself... if i could write."

Now as the story is narrated to the reader by the writer to whom the story was narrated by a guy who has said the above statement then it makes you think how much of this yarn would have been what actually happened even in the story or it could be possible that Al Barney was just telling some tall tales. I don't know i couldn't keep this thing out of my mind while reading the story and that's why i think i couldn't enjoy it as much as i enjoy other works of Mr Chase.

Now, i don't want to give you an idea that this is a bad book. In fact it's just that the above mentioned things irked me a little and it was unexpected. I never had such problem with Mr Chase's work so they stood out a little bit more here.


Apart from these little points i enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to you guys.

If you have read the book then do tell me what were your thoughts about it? If you haven't then you can get the book from the following links:


Kindle
Paperback

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