The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I have heard of The Manchurian Candidate before, although I had never read the book or seen either movie. It is just one of those things that becomes a part of our language, “Manchurian Candidate” being another term for someone unwittingly being brainwashed.

I really wanted to see the Frank Sinatra version, but felt I should read the book first.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book begins with Sergeant Raymond Shaw receiving a the Medal of Honor for saving his whole platoon after they were captured during the Korean War.

Yay!

However, we go through a flashback and it is revealed that when the platoon was captured, they were actually taken to Manchuria, and brainwashed by the Communists to believe that Sgt. Shaw saved them. In reality, he becomes a sleeper agent for them, controlled by the Queen of Diamonds. When he sees the card he is activated, given his mission, and obeys orders of which he soon forgets.

He is controlled by his mother, Eleanor, who is prepared to use him to set up a puppet government through his stepfather, Senator John Yerkes Iselin.

Meanwhile, a member of said platoon, Major Bennett Marco has been suffering from some horrible nightmares. He keeps having the reoccurring vision of Shaw killing their comrades, while being observed by Chinese and Soviet Union intelligence officers.

He doesn’t think anything of it, until one of his other platoon mates tells him he has been having the same dream.

Major Marco is now facing a mystery and sets out to discover the truth of what really happened.

Will he discover the plot in time and stop it? Or will he be too late for the Manchurian Candidate?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I just did not like this book.

Try as I might I could not get into these characters. I just couldn’t stand them.

And it had such a cool setup with the espionage and the mystery. That makes it even worse for me as it just did not deliver.

For more espionage, go to The Princess Plot

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Yellow Room

For more mystery reviews, go to How to Wash a Cat

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The Missing Housewife

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The Missing Housewife (Steven Wade Mystery #2) by Iris Wynne

When a women long believed dead is spotted in China by an old friend on holiday, it opens a real can of worms. If she is indeed the woman believed murdered, than her drug dealer has been falsely imprisoned and there is a dead body who’s identity still needs to be discovered.

With the sister of the accused pushing for involvement to free her brother, and the family of the “deceased” wanting the dead to remain dead, it turns out to be a real muddle.

With such uncertainty there is only one thing to do, hire someone who can look into the matter: a private investigator Steve Wade.

On the case!

Since Wade solved the case of “the missing mah jongg player”, he has become a hot commodity and is asked to check out the case. But is the deceased, Patricia, really alive, or is it just a look-a-like in China? And if she isn’t dead, who died in her place? Did the drug dealer murder this Jane Doe, or was it someone else?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, The Missing Mah Jongg Player, which gave me high expectations for the sequel. Wynne didn’t disappoint with a cleverly crafted mystery that takes murder into mistaken identity and even further into assassins and a cover up.

We also have a return of the characters we enjoyed from the first novel; such as the intelligent, imaginative, analytical, and methodical Steve Wade; Candy the stripper turned private investigator, who is still coming to terms with her insecurities and the shadow of the past; and sweet Sarah, Steve’s secretary, who finally gains confidence and the ability to assert herself.

The only problem I had with this novel was that the secondary characters were not as well done as in the first book. In The Missing Mah Jongg Player, the other mah jongg players created a more personal connection to our missing person causing the viewer to see her as a person rather than a “victim”. Their different personalities also balanced well with Wade’s logical approach.

All of you

In this book our new cast of characters were interesting and developed, but not as fun or colorful as in the first.

On a whole I enjoyed this novel and give it a four out of five stars.

For more Steven Wade Mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jongg Player

For more novels centering around a disappearance, go to The Sign of the Four

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to C is for Corpse

For more mystery reviews, go to Triple Six

A Loud Thud-Followed by the Unmistakeable Crash of an Enormous Ceramic Vase

Today is the second anniversary of my blog Mysterious Eats. We’ve been through a lot and reviewed all types of mystery books and recipes. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

Read it from the beginning!

As this is my two year anniversary, the traditional gift is cotton while the new one is china. I thought about what to give myself and decided to go with a China vase.

But as these are mysteries the vase isn’t for looking but for using.

Happy Anniversary and a very special thanks to all my readers!

For more on anniversaries, go to This Business of the Clocks was Curious

For more on Lillian Jackson Braun and The Cat Who…Mystery Series, go to The Cat Who Could Read Backwards