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

A Duty to the Dead

So this year marks something very special. It is the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I.

In fact today is the very day it started for us Yankees. In honor of that, I decided to post a World War I mystery (even though it takes place in England and occurs before we jumped on board.

Oh well…

Before we start, I would just like to thank all those who served (whether alive or dead), thank you for serving your country and protecting it.

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A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mystery #1)

Bess is a nurse in WWI. She has encountered many wounded men, but no loss has affected her like one of her most recent patients. She actually fell in love with him and before he passed, and was given a message to deliver:

“Tell my brother Jonathan that I lied…I did it for Mother’s sake. But it has to be set right.”

After surviving a mined ship, Bess is given some time to recover from the incident and her injured arm. She decides this is the best time to travel and release the words given to her as the young soldier lay dying.

When Bess does deliver the news, none of the family seem to understand. Not Jonathan, his brother, mother, etc. Bess finds this odd, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It turns out there is another brother, Peregine, one who has been placed in a psychiatric hospital for his insanity and for the murder he committed of a young girl years before.

But when he is sent to the family homestead to be cared for as he has become ill; Bess finds him to be not what she expected. In fact the opposite of the insane, stupid, beast that has been painted for her.

But then Peregine escapes from the asylum and follows Bess home. He holds her hostage in order to prove his innocence of the crime that occurred years ago.

Is he telling the truth?

Is Peregine telling the truth and is a wronged man? Or is Bess forced to follow the whim of a murderer.

I wonder…

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Thoughts After Reading:

Amazing! I couldn’t stop reading as I had to find out what happened next. Which brother did it? Is Peregine innocent or mad?

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Paper Roses

For more retrograde mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more mysteries, go to Murder at Oklahoma