Crooked House

Rating: *****
Agatha Christie was fond of nursery rhymes. Read the list of her novels and you will see many featuring as the title of her mysteries. The title Crooked House was taken from the nursery rhyme "There Was a Crooked Man".

Charles Hayward is in love with Sophia Leonides. After coming back from the war, he hopes to ask her to marry him. But fate has some trials in store before the young man can win the girl he loves. Sophia's grandfather, Aristide Leonides, has been murdered; she tells Charles that she can never marry him, unless the "right person killed him."

Who is the right person? The whole family lives together in the crooked house and Sophia is afraid - all of them are afraid. They hope to pin the murder on Brenda, Aristide's much younger wife. As long as no one in the family is implicated, they feel safe. But Charles realizes that they themselves suspect one of their own. Is it one of the family? What if they never find out? Can Charles live with the suspicion that Sophia could be the murderer? Sophia, a realist, realizes that the truth must be found at all costs - but when it is found, the reality is more horrible than anyone could have imagined.

Some thoughts
I absolutely LOVED this novel. The inner psychology of the murderer and the portrayal of the family's characteristics was fascinating. The Leonides and the Havilands both have their odd traits, but did their ruthlessness and unscrupulousness combine in a horrible mixture in one of their descendants? Sophia fears the worst. Again, in Crooked House, Agatha Christie confronts the issue of heredity and the resulting "kinks" in people. More than anything, Sophia fears what her family is capable of, and whether Charles can accept her if someone from her family is responsible.

The drama was similar to that in Ordeal By Innocence in which the inmates of one house fall under suspicion for the murder. In Crooked House, the Leonides desperately hope that the guilt falls on an outsider, but know deep down that it's one of them.

I intended to include this book in my feature Why Haven't They Made the Movie?! until I read on Wikipedia that American filmmaker Neil La Bute has decided to make a film based on this book. I can't wait!!

1 comment:

all you can eat said...

I agree with you! This book is one of my top five favorite Agatha Christie books. I didn't know there was going to be a movie but I don't know if it will be successful.