Just when I had abandoned my quest to findAgatha Christie books, I stumbled upon three Agatha Christie once claimed thatCrooked House was her favorite story and it didn t take long to find out why A young Englishman meets a charming young woman from a wealthy family abroad, they reconnect in England on the heels of her grandfather s death who she claims was murdered Soon Charles is caught up in a a web of family secrets where there are no shortage of people who had much to gain Fast paced and compelling, this is a mystery that warms even the chilliest New Year s Eve. I never can figure out the murderer in an Agatha Christie mystery and this case is no different The Crooked House is a closed door mystery and also takes place with only family members as the suspects which makes it doubly interesting A big, close knit English family whose Greek patriarch has been poisoned is the conundrum Christie is very particular in her character sketches and knows people well which makes her Miss Marple mysteries so satisfying This is a stand alone book, with no particular detective, except for the English police, and is one of her best Character is the prime suspect for when a ruthlessness that s pervasive in one family combines with the unscrupulous individuals in another the results are deadly. In The Sprawling, Half Timbered Mansion In The Affluent Suburb Of Swinly Dean, Aristide Leonides Lies Dead From Barbiturate Poisoning An Accident Not Likely In Fact, Suspicion Has Already Fallen On His Luscious Widow, A Cunning Beauty Fifty Years His Junior, Set To Inherit A Sizeable Fortune, And Rud To Be Carrying On With A Strapping Young Tutor Comfortably Ensconced In The Family Estate But Criminologist Charles Hayward Is Casting His Own Doubts On The Innocence Of The Entire Leonides Brood He Knows Them Intimately And He S Certain That In A Crooked House Such As Three Gables, No One S On The Level Crooked House, Agata CristieCrooked House is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in March 1949 and in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 23 May of the same year The action takes place in and near London in the autumn of 1947 Christie said this and Ordeal by Innocence were her favorites amongst her own works 2009 1372 356 1375 20 1373 257 1378 257 9646555195 1387 266 1392 9789643635237 . 3.5 starsBecause this is just what a nightmare is Walking about among people you know, looking in their faces and suddenly the faces change and it s not someone you know any longer it s a stranger a cruel strangerIf you like to read mystery s where all the members of a family are a suspect for a murder committed within the family , then this is your kind of book.The book starts off with Charlie and Sophie, Sophie s grandfather is murdered and Charlie s dad is the Chief of police Frankly, I think the main reason for this relation was for Charlie to be involved in the investigation, their relation for me lacked depth But this is not a romantic drama , it is a mystery and it delivers satisfactorily on the mystery end.There is a peculiar set of characters, who all seem to have a reason for the victim to be dead but as soon as you think you have spotted the culprit they give you a reason to think they are innocent.Coming to the end, the reveal would have been shocking if I hadn t read a similar novel with a very similar ending and I am sure Christie s novel is the original and that book was definitely inspired by this story Due to this I wasn t as surprised and it kind off spoiled the reading experience.Also, the ending felt a bit rushed and could have been a bitdetailed But this is still a good cozy mystery for a rainy day. Published in 1949 this is a stand alone Agatha Christie novel which was, apparently, one of her personal favourites Our narrator, Charles Hayward, fell in love with Sophia Leonides during the war and intends to marry her if he returns safely to England However, his plans are thwarted when Sophia s grandfather, Aristide Leonides, is poisoned and the family come under suspicion with Sophia stating she will not marry him until the crime is solved Sophia and her family would prefer the murderer to be her grandfather s young widow, Brenda, or the tutor of Sophia s young brother Eustace, and sister Josephine a young man named Laurence who was a conscientious objector and who the family suspect of being in love with Brenda Of course, things are rarely that easy and there are a whole cast of possible suspects, living in the little crooked house, of the Leonides family, including Sophia s parents, including her volatile, actress mother, her aunt and uncle and her elderly great aunt Christie places Charles Hayward in the perfect place to investigate making him the son of the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard and allowing him to tag along with Chief Inspector Taverner, who is dealing with the case Hayward senior is the perfect Assistant Commissioner, gruffly welcoming his son back from the war, accepting his declaration of love for a possible murder suspect and working out who did it, but keeping that information close to his chest until the end of the book Much of the enjoyment of this mystery comes from the cast of characters and you feel that Christie really did have a lot of fun creating them This novel shows that Golden Age mysteries, and Christie in particular, did not shy away from difficult topics and this is, in no way, the cosy crime novel that readers not familiar with her writing might expect. Wealthy businessman Aristide Leonides has been murdered after someone swapped out his insulin for poison Leonides children are quick to blame their elderly dad s young bride who looks to inherit his fortune but did the gold digger and her secret lover dunit or is the killer someone else in the household Disappointing Crooked House is the first Agatha Christie novel I haven t enjoyed at all It s a bland, dull mystery without anything much interesting happening Did you ever play point and click PC games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword Crooked House is like reading a non interactive version of those games as the narrator wanders from one boring character to another all of whom conveniently open up to him about their backstories, alibis, etc it feels very contrived The cast are unmemorable nobodies, the crime itself is mundane and practically nothing of consequence happens until the reveal at the end which makes getting through this overlong 300 page novel a tedious chore That said, I was interested enough to keep going and see whodunit and it s as well written as any of Christie s best but generally it was a case of waiting for the pointless filler to get out of the way of the investigation s resolution I d say this was a hopelessly generic country house murder mystery except Dame Aggie is largely responsible for defining the genre to begin with so I ll just say Crooked House is one of her least entertaining inspired efforts. Choose Your Own Adventure You are a precocious child in a complicated world filled with scheming relatives heirs to fortune smitten suitors gold digging wives husky tutors cast out sons amateur sleuths Your life is centered within a vast country manor dominated by your dread grandfather, who sits like a senescent spider in the center of his enormous web, a web whose tangles he created but no longer bothers to repair Then murder strikes and grandfather is noWhat is a young girl to do How long will your little flame burn in such a bleak and venomous environment Never fear, tiny dancer, you are wise beyond your years but what path shall you choose If you decide that adulthood is overrated and you need to start hanging around with people your own age in the swingin 60s choose you decide to grow up quickly but nervously in the swingin 60s find a roommate, and just learn to relax, choose One of my very favorite things about Agatha Christie is that when she said anyone could be a murderer under the right circumstances, she meant it One would think that when you read a mystery, you should suspect everyone, but for most authors it just isn t true if you read a cozy author, you can bet it won t be one of the charming young lovers, or the trusty narrator, or dear old Granny, or the kindly priest With Christie, it could be any of those, or everybody, or nobody oh yes It could be the person with the perfect alibi or the one with no apparent motive but there really is a motive This is why I think of Christie as absolutely ruthless in her fiction, however genteel she was in lifeand Crooked House is Exhibit A She was particularly proud of this novel, and rightly so.Oddly enough, I know from her notebooks that Christie didn t have a specific murderer in mind when she began this novel She had the premise of the extended family in their mansion, whose patriarch has died, but she debated among several suspects I must say, if she d chosen anyone else I would be giving this fewer stars I felt it almost as a physical blow when she revealed the truth, then immediately thought that no other ending would have done half so well.I love Christie s use of the multi valenced term crooked here It is a reference to one of the nursery rhymes that she employs to such creepy effect in many of her novels and they all lived together in a little crooked house The victim was a bit crooked in the legal sense, but had a good heart Someone in his family is mentally off kilter in a farsinister sense Even the house is lopsided due to its whimsical design The running motif is well done and make the novel worth re reading even once the shocking twist is known It s one of my favorites. What an excellent story I loved the characters, the family was amazingly twisted Any of them could have committed the murder I did not guess the actual murderer, didn t figure it out I loved the writing, the dialogue Christie was a master storyteller Crooked House is the first Agatha Christie novel that I have read It won t be the last.
Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name
- 276 pages
- Crooked House
- Agatha Christie
- 14 August 2017 Agatha Christie