16 May 2012

Review: CROOKED HOUSE, Agatha Christie

  • Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 345 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 031298166X
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Masterpiece ed edition (October 14, 2010). Originally published 1949
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046A9MS6
  • Source: I bought it
Synopsis (Amazon)

A wealthy Greek businessman is found dead at his London home…
The Leonides were one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That was until the head of the household, Aristide, was murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.
Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiance of the late millioniare’s granddaughter…

My Take

In an author's foreword Agatha Christie says this was a plot she had thought through for many years.

The action takes place just after the second world war near London. Charles Hayward and Sophia Leonides had met two years earlier in Egypt and were determined to meet again after the war was over.

They are back in London and have arranged to meet when Charles learns that Sophia's grandfather has been murdered. Charles' father, a member of Scotland Yard, suggests that Charles try to get an "inside" view of the family, talk to family members, to see if one is a murderer. We see events from Charles' point of view, and it is he who finally assembles the evidence, although in a sense a family member beat him to it.

This is a book that keeps the reader guessing, although I have to admit that about a quarter of the way from the end I was pretty sure I knew who the murderer was. That's when, true to form, Agatha Christie threw a final red herring on the path.

There's some interesting discussion of what makes a murderer. Charles' father who is a Scotland Yard Commander, believes that most murders are committed by family members because it is oily situations that the depth of hatred and frustration that precedes murder will occur. When the identity of the murderer is revealed he says he had known it for some time.

My rating: 4.4


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Every third book I read is an Agatha Christie though I haven't come to the CROOKED HOUSE yet. I can never guess who the murderer is but I know people who correctly guess the identity of the killer within the first 50-odd pages, sometimes sooner. I wonder who's the detective!

Nan said...

I just wrote about this! We might have been reading it at the same time. That pleases me. Great book. And you're right. The twist makes the reader doubt. The woman was a genius!


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